Preview Weekend

SEPTEMBER 14-16, 2017

Application opens – May 1, 2017

Priority application deadline – June 30, 2017 at 11:59 pm EST

Application closes – July 14, 2017 at 11:59 pm EST

Apply Now | Schedule of Events

What is the BBSP Preview Weekend?
The preview weekend is a unique opportunity for competitive applicants from groups traditionally underrepresented in the sciences to learn more about BBSP and the 14 affiliated biomedical PhD programs at UNC.  Participants will receive individual guidance on crafting competitive graduate school applications.  Additionally, participants will meet faculty and current PhD students to learn more about the research opportunities and diverse community at UNC.  We hope attendance at the preview weekend will help applicants learn about what BBSP and UNC IMSD have to offer and solidify the decision to apply for admission.  If you are wondering whether UNC is a good fit for you, we encourage you to consider our preview weekend.

Why UNC and BBSP?
UNC offers a highly collaborative research environment and our students receive outstanding doctoral and career preparative training.  UNC ranks 8th among private and public universities for NIH research funding in FY15 and 3rd in the US for number of PhDs awarded in the life sciences (NSF, 2014).  UNC is 1 of only 17 institutions awarded an NIH training grant (BEST award) to provide students exposure to various career options.  Diverse Issues in Higher Education recently (December 2016) ranked UNC Chapel Hill 2nd nationally for PhD completion by African-American scholars in the biological and biomedical sciences and 5th nationally for total minority PhD completion in the biological and biomedical sciences (  Additionally, the BBSP provides students access to nearly 400 faculty affiliated with 14 PhD programs in the Schools of Medicine, Pharmacy, Public Health, Dentistry, and the College of Arts and Sciences.  Our vibrant and diverse research community is an outstanding place to launch your research career, and Chapel Hill and the surrounding areas are a great place to live.

Who Should Apply?
This program is open to undergraduate seniors, postbaccs, and others who plan to apply to BBSP in November 2017.  Participants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents. Members of groups historically underrepresented in the biomedical sciences at the graduate level (as defined by the National Science Foundation) are strongly encouraged to apply.  These groups include individuals with disabilities, African Americans, Hispanic/Latino Americans, American Indians/Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders.

Cost of Attendance
All visit expenses including travel, lodging, and meals will be covered by UNC.

Application Process
Interested students must complete an online application and submit the required materials (outlined below).  Space is limited, so applications must be completed by the deadline.  As we are unable to accept any late materials, please make sure that all of your application materials (including reference letters) are submitted prior to the deadline.

Application review will begin by June 15, 2017, and notifications of acceptance and travel arrangements will be made by August 1, 2017.  We are able to accept 20-25 applicants for the weekend, and each participant will receive BBSP application fee assistance.

How to Apply (Please note that all documents MUST be submitted in the form of a PDF or they cannot be accepted)

  1. Complete the online application form (click here to access the application form)
  2. Request a reference letter from two individuals who can describe your potential for success in graduate school. Letters from research supervisors are STRONGLY preferred.  Letters should be emailed as a PDF attachment by the author to with a descriptive subject line that contains your name. Reminders for missing letters will not be sent.  Please share the information below with those who are submitting letters of recommendation on your behalf:
    • The most effective references come from faculty with whom you have conducted independent/original research. Letters jointly written by faculty with senior lab members (e.g. postdoctoral scientists, staff, senior graduate students) are welcome if they provide greater insight into your accomplishments and potential as a scientist.  Letters from only senior lab members without faculty endorsement have much less impact.
    • Admissions committees greatly value letters that specifically describe qualities such as motivation, work ethic, resilience, persistence, initiative, intellectual contribution, and collegiality in research and academic settings.
  3. Send an email to with a descriptive subject line that includes your name and attach the following documents.
    1. Copy of your unofficial transcript(s) (as a PDF)
    2. An essay that includes the following:  (i) statement of your career goals and why you wish to attain a PhD, (ii) short synopsis of each of your research experiences (3-4 sentences for each synopsis), and (iii) explanation of how BBSP is a good fit for you and why you want to attend the preview weekend.  The essay must be saved as a PDF and should be no longer than one page.

If you have questions please contact us at: or by phone at 919-843-6960

BBSP Preview Weekend Schedule of Events

Preview Weekend attendees are expected to participate in all scheduled events.

Thursday Friday Saturday
  • Afternoon/evening arrival
  • Welcome dinner
  • Grad School Interview
  • Breakfast
  • Application review circuit
    (CV, SOP, transcripts)
  • Lunch with faculty
  • Mock interviews with faculty
  • Lab tours
  • Overview of UNC/BBSP support programs
  • Dinner with grad students
  • Breakfast
  • Explore the area and lunch with grad students
  • Afternoon departure