Biomedical Research Education Programs

1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131

Physical Location:
UNM Health Sciences Center (North Campus) Reginald Heber Fitz Hall (Building 211)
Room B61

Phone: (505) 272-1887
Fax: 505-272-8738

Frequently Asked Questions

We understand that making a commitment to a summer program is not something to be decided lightly.  We provide this FAQ page in the hopes that your questions will be answered.  However, if your particular question is not found here, please feel free to contact us at or (505) 272-1887.  We are happy to answer any of your questions.


Click on each question to view the answer.


I have an F-1 Visa or DACA status, am I eligible for the UPN program?

No, unfortunately, due to our funding sources, eligibility for the UPN program requires that a student is a US Citizen or a Permanent Resident (green card holder).

I do not have any laboratory research experience. Am I eligible for the program?

The UPN program seeks to provide research experience for students in order to help them determine whether a career in scientific research is what they desire.  Laboratory experience is not required, however, some entry level courses are important.  If you do not have research experience, be sure that your personal statement clearly states why you want to experience scientific research.

How much weight does GPA have on the admissions decision?

All elements of the application package are important.  GPA is one of those elements but the review committee takes into consideration all elements. The UPN program is an intense 10 week program and, in our experience, a student who has a GPA much lower than the stated 3.0 will likely find the program extremely challenging.

My university operates on a quarter system.  Am I eligible to apply?

Since UPN is a short 10-week summer program, we are unable to accept students who cannot commit to being present for the whole 10 weeks of the program.  If it is possible for you to commit to being present for the whole program, you are eligible to apply.

How will I be matched with a mentor for my summer project?

If you are offered a position in the UPN program and you accept, the UPN program director will recruit a mentor for you based upon the research interest you indicated on your application.

I am a senior, am I still eligible to apply?

If you are a senior who will not graduate until the Fall following the program or beyond, you are eligible for the UPN summer program.


Application Package Requirements

Is there a word or page limit for the personal statement?

The online application allows for 5000 characters, or approximately two pages of text. While the application allows for 2 pages of text, your personal statement does not need to be two pages long.  Please make sure that you use the space wisely to articulate why you want to do summer research.

What is an academic resume or CV (curriculum vitae)?


  • Educational background
  • Internship experience
  • Employment history
  • Honors received
  • Research work published
  • Hobbies

How do I get my letter of recommendation to you?

Once your online application is complete, your recommender will be contacted and given instructions on how to submit your letter of recommendation.

Even though the UPN program only requires one letter of recommendation, may I submit more than one?

Yes, you may submit up to 3 letters of recommendation.  However, we want to caution you.  Your letter of recommendation should be a strong letter from someone who can speak to your success or potential success in the research environment.

I have asked my recommender to submit a letter for my application package. How will I know whether it has been submitted?

You should tell your recommender that they will be contacted by the UPN program and given instructions on how to submit your letter.  If the deadline is approaching and the letter has not been submitted, the UPN program will contact the recommender with a reminder.  Once your application package is complete, you will receive an email notifying you of your application status.

What is the process for review and final selection of applicants?

All applicants are reviewed by a panel of faculty who understand the goals of the UPN program.  The review committee uses a scoring rubric that evaluates all elements of the application package.

When will I know whether I am selected?

We work to have offer letters out to applicants by the beginning of April at the latest.

Can my parents contact you to find out information about the program?

Unfortunately, due to federal FERPA regulations, the UPN program cannot give any information to outside parties, not even your parents or your husband/wife.  This includes confirming that you have applied to the program, confirming that you have been offered a position in the program, etc. 

What to Expect

I am from out of state. If accepted, where will I stay during the program?

The UPN program makes arrangements with the on-campus dorms to reserve a block of rooms for our out-of-state UPN scholars.  The dorms are apartment-style and between 4-6 students share an apartment with private bedrooms, living room and a kitchen.  The dorm apartments are not co-ed.  We try to ensure that UPN scholars are assigned to rooms in the same apartment. The cost of housing is the responsibility of the student.

Can I bring a friend or family member?

No.  Only students are allowed to live in the dorms.

Can I bring my car?

Yes, you can bring your car.  There is no free parking on campus.  Therefore, each car must have a summer parking pass.  The cost of this pass is the responsibility of the student.

What is the time commitment for participation in the UPN program?

The UPN program is a full-time commitment for the summer.  Our scholars are expected to work 37-40 hours per week in the lab, attend the mandatory seminar and cohort-building activities.  Timesheets are required to be submitted to document the student’s hours.

Can I take summer school courses during the program?

The UPN program requires full focus from our scholars. If a student wants to take summer school courses or work or travel with family or on vacation, they should not apply for the UPN program.

Will I be paid for participating in the summer program?

The UPN program provides a $5000 stipend.

If selected, are there any additional requirements I must meet before the start of the program?

In order to ensure our scholars are ready to immediately start on their summer research projects, there are a few pre-program requirements:

  • Apply to UNM as a non-degree seeking undergraduate student for the summer.  The application is very simple and does not require transcripts. Once you complete this task, you will become a UNM student with a UNM student id number that will enable us to enroll you in the mandatory 1-unit seminar course and pay your stipend.
  • Complete online trainings that are required by UNM and any additional trainings that your mentor will require which are specific to the work you will be doing in the laboratory.  The program will notify you of the online courses that will be required and send you the information on how to access the courses. Trainings cannot be accessed until the scholar has completed the UNM application and received a UNM student id number.
  • Ideally, we will have a mentor match for our scholars about a month before the the program starts.  We notify the scholar of the mentor match and require that the scholar send an introductory email to the mentor so a relationship can be started between the mentor and scholar before the start of the program.
  • A 1-2 page informal paper on the mentor's general area of research is required to be submitted by the scholar to the program prior to the start of the program.  This is important because it will help the scholar start to become familiar with their mentor's research area and projects.