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Answers to frequently asked questions can be found below.
 

Eligibility

What is your definition of historically underrepresented (URM) groups in biomedical research?

Individuals from racial and ethnic groups that are underrepresented in biomedical fields include but are not limited to: African American/ Black, Latino/a/x, Native American, Alaskan Native, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander backgrounds. Also, individuals with disabilities or those from disadvantaged backgrounds (social, cultural, economic, and/or educational environments) as defined by the NIH notice of diversity.

Can I apply if I am not a citizen or legal permanent resident of the United States?

Unfortunately, at this time we cannot accept applications from those who are not citizens or legal permanent residents of the US. We will welcome applicants with DACA status; but note that many DACA holders have experienced significant wait times to renew their EAD cards and we would need to work together with a long lead time. 

Do I need lab experience to be accepted into the program?

Lab experience is not required, but we hope prospective Bridge Scholars will have had some laboratory exposure through science lab coursework at least. Previous lab experience can include research at your undergraduate school, participation in summer research programs, lab experience through coursework, or professional work experience.

How long after graduation can I apply?

Applicants to MSK Bridge must be about to complete or must have a baccalaureate in a biomedically relevant science discipline from an accredited college or university awarded no more than 36 months prior to applying and must not be currently enrolled in a degree program. Those who have completed master’s degrees are eligible to apply if they are within 36 months of the completion of their bachelor’s (or equivalent) degree. If the undergraduate degree was not in the life or physical sciences, candidates can still apply, but must demonstrate fluency in biology/ biochemistry/ engineering/ computational biology.

Parental or medical leave is not included in the 3-year eligibility limit, nor is national service (e.g., Peace Corps, or service in the National Guard or Armed Forces Reserves). Applicants can check with the MSK Bridge leadership in advance of applying if they have questions about eligibility (oset@mskcc.org). MSK Bridge Scholars should intend to apply to research-focused biomedical doctoral degree programs (PhD or MD-PhD) during or immediately following completion of MSK Bridge. This program is not intended for those applying for medical, dental, nursing, or veterinary school.

Application Process

When and how should I apply?

The portal for applications will open in December 2021 and stay open through the end of March 2022. There is no advantage to applying early, as all decisions will be rendered in April. 

Is there a deadline for submission of applications?

Yes, the application deadline is March 30, 2022. The application portal closes by March 30 (11:59 p.m., EST). This deadline also applies to the receipt of recommendation letters; all will need to be submitted by the deadline to consider an application complete.

Is there an application fee?

No.

Are GRE test scores required?

No, the GRE General Test or Subject GRE Tests are not required for admissions into the Bridge program and scores will not be requested as part of the application.

Is an official transcript necessary for my application?

No, only those accepted into MSK Bridge will need to submit an official transcript after acceptance. You are, however, required to upload an unofficial transcript(s) directly into the application system. Please note, for every school you enter in the application, you must provide an unofficial transcript. If we see discrepancies between your unofficial and official transcripts, the program may rescind acceptance.

What are the requirements for the personal statement?

Your personal statement should not exceed 1-page, single spaced. The personal statement should describe how your background, experiences, and academic journey have prepared you/ shaped your aspirations for a career in science.

What should I include in my curriculum vitae (CV)?

Your CV should not exceed 3 pages. Make sure to indicate your GPA and include anything else you consider important for a judgment of your abilities such as articles, theses, books, other published materials, patented inventions, academic honors, prizes, etc. Information about previous work experience is also welcomed on your CV.

In addition to the application form, personal statement, CV, and unofficial transcript, what other documents do I need to submit?

You will also need two recommendations written by those who are familiar with your credentials related to academic trajectory, laboratory research, or relevant work experience. If you have not yet engaged in any research experience, please provide letters from professors and/or academic advisors who can write about your potential for succeeding in such a program. Please note recommendations from family members or friends are not appropriate. After you enter your recommenders’ email addresses, the application will prompt an email to the recommender to submit the letter of recommendation directly; applicants cannot upload their own recommendation letters. 

Can I change my recommender(s) after I have submitted my application?

You can change a recommender only if you have not formally submitted your application. After the application has been submitted, you cannot make any changes. If you need to replace an existing recommender, please notify the recommender that you will no longer require a letter. If you have any issues, please contact us at oset@mskcc.org.

What should I do if my recommenders have not received a request for a letter of recommendation on my behalf?

There are a few reasons that your recommender may not have received the system-generated email request for a letter of recommendation. 

  • Log on to the application system and check that the email address you entered is accurate, then resend the request for a letter.
  • Ask your recommender to check their SPAM or Junk folder.

If the email message is still not received after attempts listed above and you suspect there is a technical problem, please email us at oset@mskcc.org.

Who ensures that letters of recommendation are received?

It is your responsibility to ensure that we receive your letters of recommendation. If the recommender is having issues uploading the letter, please have them email the letters directly to us in PDF format at oset@mskcc.org.

Is there a deadline for receipt of my recommendation letters?

All letters must be received by March 30.

Can I submit my application before the letters of recommendation are received?

Yes, we encourage you to formally submit your application as soon as you have completed all the required elements. You do not need to wait for your recommenders to submit their letters to formally submit your application.

After I submit the application, can I make changes to my application?

No, after you have submitted an application, you cannot make any changes. If you have any issues or questions, please contact us at oset@mskcc.org.

How will I know if my application is complete?

You will receive an email confirming that your application is complete when all elements have been received including your letters of reference. NOTE: Applications that remain incomplete on/after the March 30 deadline will not be reviewed.

When can I expect to hear about the status of my application?

Decision letters will be emailed no later than April 28. Everyone who submitted a completed application will be informed via e-mail.

I have registered, but now can’t log in, can you help?

If you see “Application with this email address is not found,” it is likely that you are logging in with an email that is different from the one we have on record. If you have more than one email address, first please make sure you are logging in using the same address you used to register. Applicants with two accounts risk having application documents logged in two different places and risk the application not marked as complete. Email oset@mskcc.org for additional help.

I’m having issues saving my applications or the application system is running slow, how do I fix this?

Some of these issues can be solved by switching browsers (Chrome, Firefox), clearing your browser cache, and disabling your pop-up blockers. If you are still encountering issues, please contact us immediately at oset@mskcc.org.

I forgot my password, how can I reset it?

Log into https://mskbp.mskcc.org, click on sign in, and the click on “forgot your password” link to reset your password.

I previously applied to the MSK Bridge program and was not accepted, can I reapply?

Yes, you may reapply to the MSK Bridge program if you remain eligible (see Eligibility section above).

Admissions and Onboarding

Where is the MSK Bridge program located?

Scholars will be hosted on site in one of the MSK faculty labs listed on the MSK Bridge program website. The MSK campus is on the upper east side of New York City.

Is MSK Bridge program a paid program?

Yes, MSK Bridge Scholars will receive a stipend of $41,000 for the 2022 - 2023 academic year, paid on a bi-weekly basis.

What benefits am I provided as a MSK Bridge Scholar?

MSK offers a wide range of benefits for MSK Bridge Scholars, which includes health coverage (medical, prescription, vision, and dental), LifeCare information and referral service, as well as an employee discount program.

Is housing provided?

Yes, housing will be available to rent in the same buildings as other MSK trainees. Housing may be shared accommodation with a same-sex Scholar.

Does the MSK Bridge program cover travel costs for relocation purposes?

No, the program does not cover travel costs, but if the costs of moving present a hardship to you, please let us know and we will work together to find a solution (oset@mskcc.org).

Program Details

Can I attend only the first year of the MSK Bridge program?

The MSK Bridge program is intended to be a two-year commitment to a lab and to the courses paced across a 24 month stay. We understand that circumstances may arise that necessitate an early departure, but we expect all MSK Bridge Scholars to commit two years to the program.

Which courses do MSK Bridge Scholars typically take?

In the first year of the program, MSK Bridge Scholars will take coursework aimed at expanding scientific proficiencies and strengthening interpersonal skills within science. In the second year, focus will be given to intensive work toward application submission and interview prep.

Year 1:

  • Summer: Arriving MSK Bridge Scholars will join summer interns in a variety of professional development, poster sessions, and educational lectures. Scholars will also take the required lab safety training courses as follows: Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR), Biosafety and Fire Safety, Radiation Safety, Animal use and care, and C-14 laboratory certification.
  • Fall: The Fall semester will have multiple scientific skills-building workshops which include, but may not be limited to, proteomics, animal models, imaging handling & analysis, and computational biology.
  • Winter: Scholars will take a modified version of the 10-week Gerstner Sloan Kettering Graduate School (GSK) cancer biology core course mentored by GSK upper class students.
  • Spring: The spring semester will be dominated by professional development coursework: communication, networking, presenting at conferences, conflict resolution, and grantsmanship.

Year 2:

  • MSK Bridge Scholars will start year two in the program working with incoming Bridge Scholars, leading the journal club that was established in year 1, and identifying schools to which they will apply.
  • Fall: Scholars will participate in an intensive three-day Demystifying the Graduate School Application Process event, as well as other application submission and interview prep workshops.
  • One on one mentorship will be provided related to personal statements and other application materials.

Further coursework will be at the Scholar’s discretion.

How do you select faculty mentors for MSK Bridge Scholars?

Once an applicant is accepted into the MSK Bridge program, we will match the accepted Scholar with a potential principal investigator (PI) from among those listed on the program website. The matching will be determined based on applicant’s qualifications and research interest that align with the PI’s, alongside an interview in advance with that PI. All Bridge-specific PIs have pledged a commitment to hosting and providing mentoring to Bridge Scholars to build a strong foundation in biomedical wet-lab and/or computational research. Information about the scientific focus of participating labs can be found by visiting their respective web pages as noted above in the program faculty webpages. MSK Bridge program leadership will take an active role in working with each accepted applicant to find a scientific home.

Does participating in the MSK Bridge program guarantee admission into one of the MSK graduate schools?

Participation in the MSK Bridge program does not guarantee admissions into Gerstner Sloan Kettering Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences (GSK), the Weill Cornell Graduate School, or the Tri-Institutional PhD Programs in Chemical Biology (TPCB), Computational Biology and Medicine (CBM), or MD-PhD Program. MSK Bridge scholars interested in graduate programs at MSK would need to apply to the program during their second year in the MSK Bridge program. However, during the program, scholars will have ample opportunities to interact with Deans, Directors, faculty, and those on admissions committees, which may improve their chances of admissions into the graduate program(s).

What kind of support and advising can a MSK Bridge Scholar expect to receive?

Scholars will receive extensive individual academic and professional guidance. This will include individual monthly meetings with their PI; oversight by a day-to-day mentor (postdoc, grad student and/or other lab member), and quarterly meetings with the Office of Scientific Education & Training (OSET) team and MSK Bridge program’s leadership.