Applying to Building Diversity in Biomedical Sciences

Student presenting at a poster fair

The Building Diversity in Biomedical Sciences (BDBS) Program offers a ten week, mentored research experience for students interested in pursuing future PhD or MD/PhD studies. The Program typically begins around Memorial Day and ends in early August.

Program Eligibility

Applicants must have successfully completed at least one year of college and be US citizens or US permanent residents to participate in this summer program. Students who will graduate before the summer program starts are not eligible for BDBS, but might wish to consider our PREP program.

This program is funded by an NIH training grant and therefore the NIH encourages applicants from members of groups that are under-represented in the biomedical sciences as defined by the NIH.

Selection Criteria

The Building Diversity in Biomedical Sciences (BDBS) Program seeks to identify applicants that best match the goals of the program. The information below is designed to help interested applicants decide if BDBS is right for them.

The goal of BDBS is to expose trainees to biomedical research and help students interested in pursuing biomedical research careers solidify their career choice. The program is specifically designed for trainees who hope to enter into PhD or MD/PhD programs. Successful applicants must demonstrate a strong commitment to pursue this type of training. Commitment will be assessed based on the personal statement. Participation in research activities during undergraduate training or as a part of a work experience is encouraged, but not required. Letters of recommendation that specifically address an applicant's commitment to future PhD or MD/PhD training are also very important. Successful applicants should have undergraduate academic preparation that relates to biomedical sciences and have performed in these courses at a level that indicates their ability to succeed in graduate school.


The BDBS Program does not conduct interviews for applicants.

Application Deadline

All application materials must be received by our school by February 1. Applications for admission are reviewed after the deadline; applicants are encouraged to submit all required materials as early as possible. Applications received after February 1 will be considered only if space is available. Applicants will be notified of a decision around March 1.

Required Application Documents

It is important to submit all of the correct admissions documents in a timely manner. To assist you with this task, information about all of the materials you are required to submit is given below. Additional information that will help you understand how to obtain the information and the requirements that need to be met is also included.

  • Application Form
  • Personal Statement
  • Letters of Recommendation
  • Transcripts

Information on each of these components can be found below.

  • The application form can be accessed through the online GSBS application portal. Once your application has been submitted you will receive an email confirmation from our school. You will be able to log in anytime with the username and password you created to view the status of your application materials.

  • Please upload your personal statement written in separate segments (each segment should not exceed 250 words) addressing the following topics:

    1. If you have had previous research experience answer the following: Who was your mentor? What was the purpose of the project? Why was it an interesting project? What methods did you use? What were the results? If you have NOT had previous research experience answer these questions: How have you explored your scientific interests in high school or college? Make sure to discuss your involvement in student associations, participation in science fairs, or volunteer work in scientific or healthcare settings.
    2. Describe an instance in which you provided leadership to other people. This might have happened during school, in sports or on vacation or anywhere at any time – your choice.
    3. Describe your career goals and reasons for wishing to participate in the summer program.
    4. How have you contributed to supporting diversity, equity, and inclusion in the past? How do you see yourself contributing to these efforts as part of the Tufts GSBS community and later in your career?
    5. If you feel that you have overcome particular difficulties in achieving an education, please describe these circumstances.
    6. Please, let us know about any other factors that you haven’t communicated elsewhere that we should consider in evaluating your application.
  • In the online application under Recommendations on the left hand navigation, applicants are required to list names and information of two persons who are willing to write letters of recommendation appraising their potential to succeed in the BDBS program. The authors should submit their letters of reference online. If you have had previous research experience, it is recommended that one or both of your letters come from your research advisor(s). The other letter may come from a faculty member, employer, director of your MARC or MBRS program, or other appropriate person.

    Your recommenders will be sent an email providing instructions and a link to the online recommendation system and a second email confirming his/her letter has been submitted. You will also receive confirmation emails each time a recommender submits his/her letter for you. All letters of recommendation must be submitted through the online system.

  • Please upload a scanned copy or digital facsimile of your transcript from all colleges and universities you have attended. You may upload those pages as single- or multi-page PDF or each page as a JPEG or TIFF image file. Your scanned document may be large and may take several minutes to upload depending on the speed of your connection.

    Tips on Scanning Transcripts

    • If your transcript has a social security number on it, black it out before scanning
    • If your transcript has a social security number on it, black it out before scanning
    • Upload transcripts as pdf, .doc, .jpg, or .tiff
    • Scanned documents must be clearly legible.
    • Transcripts must have the student's name and the college/university name to be accepted.

    Official Transcripts

    If you are offered admission, you will be required to submit an official transcript from the institution where you are currently enrolled. (You do not need to wait for your Spring grades). In order to be considered official, the transcript should come directly from the school to us. Some colleges and universities now use an online transcript ordering service, such as Safe Script or National Student Clearinghouse and that is also acceptable. All official transcripts must be received before the start of the BDBS program at the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences.

    Electronic transcripts should be sent directly to

    If you request a paper copy of an official transcript to be mailed, please have it sent to:

    Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences
    Medical Education Building Suite 813
    Tufts University
    136 Harrison Ave
    Boston, MA 02111