Master of Science in Translational Research (MSTR) Admissions

Navigate Master of Science in Translational Research

Interested applicants are encouraged to contact Megan Maxwell, MSW before beginning their application.

Only one application is required for both the MSTR and ITMAT Funding.
The combined funding application deadline for students enrolling in July 2024 has been extended to April 1, 2024.

One-to-one application support is available!  Contact us and we'll be glad to discuss your potential application or questions.  In addition, we've created an FAQ document for prospective applicants.

Postdoctoral Applicants

  • Entrants must have MD, PhD, MSN, VMD, or DMD level degree
  • Entrants must enroll as full-time students and are not eligible to apply unless 80% of their time is protected

Predoctoral Applicants

  • Applicants must be enrolled at the University of Pennsylvania in the MD, DMD, VMD, Nursing, or Biomedical Science PhD programs.
  • MD-MSTR Applications are due in the fall of year 3 of the MD program.
  • DMD-MSTR Applications are due in the fall of year 2 of the DMD program and follow the dental dual-degree application process.

ITMAT Education Faculty and Administration are glad to connect with interested applicants throughout the year.  Through an initial consult, program faculty or staff can gain understanding to which program may best align with your career goals, connect to current students or faculty for additional insight, answer questions about the application process, and provide feedback on project proposals. 

Contact us and a member of the team will reach out to set a time to discuss your interests.

The Online MSTR Application  requires the following items.

All documents will be uploaded in the Supporting Documents section of the application.  The headers below align to the name of the document upload.

Applicants, please add headers with your name to the applicable documents. 

  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Personal statement (one page)
    • Describe your career goals and what skills you need to reach those goals
    • Include a learning plan of the activities that will help you attain these skills
    • Predoctoral (MD, DMD, VMD) Students, please address the following:
      • What motivated you to pursue the MSTR program versus the other Master Degree programs or ‘year out’ research opportunities?
      • Why do you want to pursue formal research training during graduate school versus a later stage of training?
      • Why are you seeking formal training in Translational Research?
  • Research plan: 2-3 page description of proposed research project

    • *Entrepreneurial track: project should emphasize innovation with the potential to commercialize
  • External support (Other Support (applicant)): description of the applicant's support awarded or under review for salary, tuition, or research supplies
    • Please be as specific as possible when describing current or potential support: e.g. appointed to a T32 training grant, dates of appointment, amount available for tuition support each year.
    • Please specify if you prefer to be considered for a specific funding mechanism: TL1, ITMAT Scholarship
    • If you do not have other support, please indicate this in the document.
  • Primary Mentor NIH biosketch and other support
  • Transcripts — ONLY for predoctoral applicants — upload an unofficial transcript from your current graduate program issued to you from your school's registrar

  • Three letters of support from the applicant's:
    1. Primary mentor (send them the guidelines indicated in Primary Mentor Guidelines section of this page)
    2. Secondary/co-mentor if applicable, or faculty member who can speak to your suitability for the MSTR program and/or experience in research
    3. Third faculty member who can speak to your suitability for the MSTR program and/or experience in research
      1. For postdoctoral applicants, choose another faculty member
      2. For all pre-doctoral applicants, choose another faculty member from undergraduate or graduate/medical school
  • Letters of Support requests are sent in the the Recommenders Section of the application

  • Applicants should:

    • communicate with their letter writers to let them know they will receive requests with instructions to upload letters from:  ITMAT, University of Pennsylvania,
    • input recommender information and send the letter requests via the application system as soon as possible upon starting the application. These requests can be sent while your application is in progress.
  • Letters of support have the same deadline as the application.
  • Application Fee: $45 by credit card via CollegeNet
  1. Create a CollegeNet account. After logging into CollegeNet, select “Online Application”.
  2. Enter your Personal Information.  Save and continue to Program Information. 
  3. Choose “Perelman School of Medicine Masters Programs”
    • Post-doctoral and Faculty MSTR Applicants select: “Translational Research, MS, Post-doctoral applicants”
    • Pre-doctoral MSTR Applicants select: “Translational Research, MS, Pre-doctoral applicants”
    • Select "Summer 2023" term.
  4. You can enter information in stages, at your own pace, and access the application any number of times until submission.
  5. Once the application has been fully submitted, check the status and note the receipt of recommendation letters.

Please note that the letters of support have specific guidelines:

The Mentor(s) letter of support should address the following:

  1. The commitment to mentor the candidate
  2. The suitability of the trainee's education objectives for stated career goals
  3. The feasibility and relevance of stated area of research to be undertaken during the program to include:
    • The resources available to complete the research
    • The availability of collaborative relationships that may be required to undertake the research question
  4. Mentor's prior experience mentoring in ITMAT programs and/or mentoring translational research trainees
    *Entrepreneurial track: include relevant experience as an innovator
  5. Add an appendix: Mentor's biosketch and other support

Applications received after the deadline or incomplete applications will not be considered.

We believe that a diverse clinical and translational science workforce will enable better science. Diverse teams of scientists bring an important range of experiences and perspectives that propel the collective potential for innovation. Thus, we seek to draw students from diverse backgrounds, including diversity of race, ethnicity, work and life experiences, interests, culture, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, and those with disabilities.


The University of Pennsylvania values diversity and seeks talented students, faculty and staff from diverse backgrounds. The University of Pennsylvania does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, creed, national or ethnic origin, citizenship status, age, disability, veteran status or any other legally protected class status in the administration of its admissions, financial aid, educational or athletic programs, or other University-administered programs or in its employment practices.

Questions or complaints regarding this policy should be directed to the Executive Director of the Office of Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity Programs, Franklin Building, Suite 421, 3451 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6205; or 215-898-6993 (Voice). Specific questions concerning the accommodation of students with disabilities should be directed to the Office of Student Disabilities Services located within Hamilton Village at 220 South 40th Street.

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Recognizing the challenges of teaching, learning, and assessing academic performance during the global COVID-19 pandemic, Penn’s admissions committees for graduate and professional programs will take the significant disruptions of the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020 into account when reviewing students’ transcripts and other admissions materials as part of their regular practice of performing individualized, holistic reviews of each applicant. In particular, as we review applications now and in the future, we will respect decisions regarding the adoption of Pass/Fail and other grading options during the period of COVID-19 disruptions. An applicant will not be adversely affected in the admissions process if their academic institution implemented a mandatory pass/fail (or similar) system for the term or if the applicant chose to participate in an optional pass/fail (or similar) system for the term. Penn’s longstanding commitment remains to admit graduate and professional student cohorts composed of outstanding individuals who demonstrate the resilience and aptitude to succeed in their academic pursuits.