Frequently Asked Questions about BBPS

What is the Broad Institute?
The Broad Institute is a nonprofit biomedical research enterprise that is empowering a revolution in biomedicine to accelerate the pace at which the world conquers disease. An "experiment" in a collaborative model for doing science, the Broad brings together researchers in biology, chemistry, medicine, computer science, and engineering from Harvard, MIT, and Harvard-affiliated hospitals. Learn more about us.


What is BBPS?
The BBPS program is a two-year post-baccalaureate program administered by the Broad Office for STEM Engagement and Inclusion. BBPS offers participants a comprehensive, structured, and immersive experience that includes full-time groundbreaking research, academic and career guidance, and advanced skills in scientific communication. The program is designed to position participants competitively for admittance into top graduate programs.


Eligibility and Admissions

Can participants apply to BBPS for one year?
No, participants must participate in the program for the entire two-year duration.


Who is eligible to apply?
Applicants must have:

  • Completed a four-year university or college degree not more than one year before the start of the program 
  • Majored in the biological, physical, or computer sciences, engineering, or mathematics
  • Attained a minimum GPA of 3.3 on a 4.0 scale
  • Significant prior research experience
  • A demonstrated interest in issues around diversifying the sciences
  • Interest in pursuing a graduate degree (M.A./M.S., Ph.D. or M.D./Ph.D. only) upon completion of the program
  • U.S. Citizenship or Permanent Residency (Green Card). International students with OPT authorization are not eligible.

Applicants cannot be currently enrolled in another postbac program or a graduate program; applicants with an existing graduate degree are not eligible. 

The BBPS program is designed to help increase diversity in the sciences. Students from groups that are underrepresented in the sciences are encouraged to apply; we use the NIH definition of underrepresentation. These groups include American Indians or Alaska Natives, Blacks or African Americans, Hispanics or Latinxs, Native Hawaiians or Other Pacific Islanders, individuals with disabilities, and individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds.


Should I contact principal investigators (PIs) before applying? Will it increase my chances of getting admitted?
No, contacting principal investigators will not impact the application review process. We recommend that you follow the instructions you receive from the Early Career Researchers team after applying through Avature.


How will I be matched with PIs who are hiring RAs and CAs?
After submitting your Research Associate I (RA I) or Computational Associate I (CA I) application, the Early Career Researchers team will help match you with PIs looking for new lab members with your skills. 


Are the CA and RA positions dependent on being in the BBPS program?
The decision from the BBPS program has no effect on your prospects for an RA or CA role and is completely separate. Candidates need a job offer from a Broad research lab to be accepted into the BBPS program. However, receiving a job offer does not guarantee admission into BBPS. Unfortunately, BBPS has a limited number of spots and we cannot accept all the great candidates currently being considered for research jobs. However, the Broad has many resources, training opportunities, and support outside of the BBPS program to help employees continue their training.


When is the application deadline?
To be considered for the BBPS program, the application should be submitted by April 1, 2024 at 11:59 pm EST. 


Do I need letters of recommendation?
No. We will request references, but they will not be asked to write a letter of recommendation. 


Whom should I ask to serve as references?
BBPS is a program designed to give students the opportunity to be full-time researchers and prepare for the next step in their careers. As such, references should be mentors, faculty, and/or teachers who can attest to your research skills, commitment to pursuing a research career, and passion for learning in addition to addressing any intellectual and personal traits that make you a great candidate for a postbac program. We don't have specific requirements but recommend choosing a research supervisor to serve as at least one of your references.


When will students be notified about selections?
We will notify applicants in March if they are selected for interviews at the Broad. Final decisions will be made in mid to late April.

Note: the interview process for RA and CA roles happens in parallel with BBPS candidate evaluation. The hiring process may take some time because candidates may interview with multiple labs. If you are not selected for BBPS, that has no bearing on your potential employment in an RA or CA position.


I'm still confused about the application process. 
Here's the step-by-step protocol: 

  1. Complete the application for either a Research Associate I (RA I) or Computational Associate I (CA I) position. In the application, there will be a question that asks about your interest in the BBPS program. You must select "Yes" to be considered for the BBPS program. This step must be completed by February 20th, 2023. 
  2. After you submit the job application, you will need to complete and submit the BBPS-specific application form. Note: This application requires you to submit an unofficial college transcript.
  3. Proceed with the Early Career Researcher hiring process (one-way video interview, reference check, etc.). 
  4. Decisions and program notifications for BBPS will be made on a rolling basis starting in March 2024. However, you must first have received an offer to work at the Broad Institute from ECR to be accepted into the postbac program. 



Is graduate coursework a component of the program?
Participants are not required to take graduate courses as part of BBPS. However, those who wish to pursue coursework at area institutions during the program may do so. Participants' primary responsibility will be their full-time RA or CA job. 


Does the program include an MCAT prep course?
No, the program does not include prep for the MCAT. There is an opportunity for students to take a GRE prep course. 


When does the program begin?
Postbac scholars typically start their RA or CA roles in June, July, or August; the hiring manager will determine your start date. BBPS programming begins in August. 



What do program alumni do? 
BBPS is designed to support scholars interested in pursuing research careers. Of the alumni from the 2016 - 2019 cohorts, all are working in the biomedical research sector. About two-thirds are enrolled in graduate programs and one-third are working as researchers and/or applying for graduate programs.