For Trainees


What are the benefits of joining PROPEL?

Program goals

​After completion of the post-bac program, participating students will be prepared for graduate school admission, successful completion of a research-focused doctoral degree, and careers in the biomedical research workforce, through our offered:

  • Research Experiences: Hands-on exposure to research and individual mentoring in your field of interest.
  • Courses for Skills and Career Development: Advanced courses in a specific discipline, research technique or research area, and/or courses or workshops to develop scholarly potential and increase confidence. See our curriculum page for the growing list of courses we offer.

Other benefits

  • On-campus housing:  PROPEL scholars are eligible for UCSF on-campus housing.
  • Graduate program application fee waivers:  PROPEL scholars qualify for a fee waiver for applications to graduate programs at UCSF and other institutions.
  • UCSF Fitness Center membership:  PROPEL scholars qualify for a discounted membership rate at the UCSF Fitness Center



  • Must be working as a full-time research technician (e.g. Junior Specialist or Research Staff Associate) in a UCSF lab.
  • Must have earned an undergraduate degree at an accredited institution. Trainees with Master's degree are also eligible.
  • Highly interested in pursuing a doctorate degree in biomedical science (PhD or MD/PhD). PROPEL is not appropriate for trainees who intend to apply to medical school.  These trainees should consider the UCSF Pre-Med Postbac Program.
  • Must commit to participating in program events for at least one academic year.
  • Belong to a racial or ethnic group that is underrepresented in biomedical sciences at UCSF (see here) or come from a disadvantaged background (for full eligibility criteria, see here). 
  • Trainees who have DACA status and belong to underrepresented groups in biomedical sciences at UCSF are eligible to join PROPEL.


How to apply

  • During our pilot years (2020-21 and 2021-22), trainees must first be hired by a UCSF lab in order to join PROPEL.  If you are interested in joining PROPEL and meet the criteria above, please fill out the Scholar's application form and ask your PI to fill out the PROPEL Mentor's Application Form.  Both forms must be completed and submitted before May 1, 2021 for admission in to the program.  If you are interested in joining PROPEL for the 2021 academic year but cannot make this deadline for some reason, please contact a PROPEL founder to inquire further.

Scholar's Application Form

PROPEL Mentor's Application Form

You can download both forms here if you would like to review the questions offline before filling out the form online.  However, you must submit your responses using the online form

Important dates

  • May 1, 2021  Scholar's application form and PI's form are due
  • July 20, 1-5pm  PROPEL Symposium, on Zoom
  • Mid-July  Start of the 2021 PROPEL academic year
  • January, 2022  UCSF Diversity Supplement Matchmaking Event
    • Participate in this event to apply for research technician jobs at UCSF and the opportunity to join PROPEL in the 2022-23 academic year