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NIH Academy FAQs

How does the NIH Academy Program application differ from the Postbaccalaureate IRTA Program application?
The application requirements are the same for both programs, except the cover letter for the NIH Academy must address your interest in health disparities.

When is the deadline for applications?
The deadline for applications to the NIH Academy is January 7th, annually. NOTE: All letters of recommendation must be received on or before January 28th.

Who should apply to the NIH Academy?
First and foremost, those students with an interest in conducting biomedical research and learning about ways to eliminate health disparities should apply for this program. To be eligible, you should (1) have plans to pursue a doctoral degree, (2) be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, and (3) be a recent college graduate (meaning that the Academy start date, at the end of August, is less than a year after your graduation from college with your first Bachelor's degree).

How can I verify that my application has been received?
You should automatically receive an e-mail confirmation. If not, we recommend sending a message to to verify that your application has been received.

What is the application process?
Applications for the NIH Academy are due January 7th by 9:00 a.m. (EST). Prospective candidates must apply online. The application requires general information, a cover letter, a list of course titles and grades, and three (3) letters of reference. You will be asked to key in the e-mail addresses of your references. An automatic e-mail will be sent to each of your references, requesting that they submit a letter of reference online. NOTE: The three letters of recommendation must be submitted ON or BEFORE January 28th.

Who should write my letters of recommendation?
Individuals who can best evaluate your scientific accomplishments, your potential for developing the skills to succeed as an NIH Academy trainee in a research laboratory, and your potential as a future biomedical researcher/physician.

To whom should my letters of recommendation be addressed?
Letters of recommendation should be addressed to members of the NIH Academy Selection Committee and must be received on or before January 28th.

What is the selection procedure?
Applications are reviewed by the NIH Academy Selection Committee. Selected finalists are contacted to arrange a telephone interview. Soon after the interviews, finalists are notified regarding their admittance into the NIH Academy. Successful candidates will be required to submit the following documentation after they have been accepted:

  • Official college transcript(s)
  • Proof of U.S. citizenship or permanent resident status. U.S. citizens may submit a copy of their birth certificate or passport. Permanent residents will need to provide a copy of their alien registration card.

When will I be notified if I'm selected?
The application deadline is January 7th, annually, after which finalists are selected and interviewed by telephone. The new class members are chosen, generally, in late April or early May. You will receive notification of your status by mid-May.

Will I need an official transcript even though I entered my grades into the electronic application system?
Yes, but only if you are accepted into the program. The grades entered into the electronic application are for evaluation purposes. Note, however, that any misrepresentation of your grades in the application may result in withdrawal of an offer to participate in the NIH Academy. In addition, those selected students will be required to show proof of U.S. citizenship or permanent residency and submit a letter from their school verifying they are in good academic standing.

How do I provide proof of my citizenship status?
You need to do this only if you are accepted into the program. Your birth certificate, passport, or alien registration card would serve as acceptable proof of citizenship.

What are the start and end dates for the program?
The NIH Academy generally begins on the last Friday in August annually and ends a year from that date. For students accepted into professional/graduate schools prior to this end date, early termination is permissible. Official notification from the medical or graduate school is required.

Is housing provided by the NIH?
Yes. The NIH Academy has a residential component to encourage and facilitate maximum interaction among the participants. Each NIH Academy member shares a two-bedroom, apartment with another NIH Academy member. Furniture is provided. NIH Academy apartment-mates are designated by the NIH Academy Director. The apartments are provided by the NIH, but the NIH Academy members must pay the monthly rent in a timely manner. The apartments are located in Bethesda, adjacent to the NIH main campus. In order to help subsidize the rent for the apartments, NIH Academy members receive a slightly higher stipend than the average first-year NIH postbaccalaureate trainee.

Are stipends or salaries provided by the Office of Intramural Training and Education?
No, stipends are paid by the Institute where the student selects to work.

What is the stipend for an NIH Academy member?
The stipend is $30,136 per 12 months. Stipends are paid on a monthly basis.

How can I get information about health disparities research being conducted at NIH?
Each NIH Institute or Center (IC) with an intramural research program has its own plan for eliminating health disparities. For more information, see

Where are the NIH Academy research opportunities located?
Academy members train in NIH laboratories in Bethesda, Maryland. This is due to the need for direct, regular interaction among the participants. NIH Academy members may receive research training in a laboratory in the NIH Intramural Research Program.

If selected for the NIH Academy, what are my responsibilities?
Academy members are responsible for each of the following:

  • Full participation in the research training for a minimum of twelve months. This time may be shortened only upon entrance into a graduate or professional degree program, with proper proof of acceptance
  • Full attendance and participation in the NIH Academy and its activities
  • Full participation in the residential component of the NIH Academy
  • Timely payment of rent for the NIH Academy apartment.

What other training is the NIH Academy member offered and expected to complete?
The primary emphasis will be on the research-based training. In addition to working in the lab, trainees meet one evening a week for approximately 3 hours. These seminar sessions cover health disparities research and career development topics. Here is a sampling of past health disparities seminars:

  • "Cancer Pathogenesis in Diverse Populations"
  • "Genetics, Race, and Health Disparities"
  • "Socioeconomic Status and Health Outcomes in the Older Populations"

Recent career development seminars include:

  • "What You Need to Know about Medical and Graduate School"
  • "Speaking about Science"
  • "How to Give a Scientific Oral & Poster Presentation"
  • "Preparing for Medical and Graduate School: The Application & Interview Process"
  • "Putting Your Best Foot Forward: Self Advocacy for Scientists"
  • "Networking...Why and How To"
  • "Qualities of an Effective Leader"