University of Pittsburgh

Health Sciences Diversity | Excellence in Health Professions Education

“Without the necessary rapport we cannot effectively and confidently serve patients. Within the School of Pharmacy, you learn to interact with diverse patient populations and how to solve their medication therapy problems.”

Jimmy Gill, School of Pharmacy, 2010

Programs & Initiatives

Health Sciences Diversity


University of Pittsburgh Intramural Research Training Award

Post-Baccalaureate research program for Minority Students

PLEASE NOTE: We are currently in our last year of funding. Should we be successful in obtaining support for 2013-14, the application link will be made "live," and deadline dates will be posted.



What is UPIRTA

Eligibility criteria

Selection CriteriA

How to ApplY

contact us


What is Upirta?

UPIRTA (University of Pittsburgh Intramural Research Training Award) is a post-baccalaureate research program that pairs talented underrepresented students with biomedical researchers in antibiotic-resistant infectious disease (MRSA, C. difficile, A. baumannii, staphylococcus aureus) or autism. Faculty from the Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, School of Medicine and the Department of Epidemiology, Graduate School of Public Health, the Division of Clinical Microbiology, as well as those in the Department of Psychiatry will mentor and supervise the experiences of UPIRTA Scholars.  The Scholars who successfully complete the one-year post-baccalaureate program will be well-positioned for consideration for admission to a health sciences doctoral program at the University of Pittsburgh.

UPIRTA Provides:

  • Two curriculum pathways
    • basic biomedical or clinical research in autism
    • various antibiotic-resistant infectious diseases
  • Mentored research experience in labs
  • Annual stipend and benefits (health insurance and tuition remission)
  • Preparation for graduate school application and interview process
  • Leadership training and development
  • GRE test preparation and study skills assessment

Training will be individualized and each Scholar's progress will be tracked on the basis of completion of program milestones and evaluation of completed projects and assignments.


Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for UPIRTA, an applicant must:

  • Be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
  • Have recently earned a bachelor’s degree in one of the biomedical or behavioral sciences (at least 36 months prior to application to UPIRTA) or be on track to earn a baccalaureate degree
  • Identify with a group that is underrepresented in biomedical or behavioral sciences research
  • Intend to apply to a graduate program leading to a PhD in the health sciences


Selection Criteria

Applicants should have recently earned or be on track to earn their baccalaureate degree and have a keen interest in entering a PhD program.  In reviewing a candidate’s application, we consider a variety of criteria that demonstrate whether the candidate exhibits potential and motivation toward research with the expectation to matriculate into a PhD program. 

Potential UPIRTA scholars must have at least a B- average in science coursework and an overall grade point average of 3.0 or higher.  Exceptions may be made for those students who have had previous research experience and/or a strong sense of future goals.  


Application Information

Note: We are currently in our last year of funding. Should we be successful in obtaining support for 2013-14, the application link will be made "live," and deadline dates will be posted.

To be considered, applicants should submit:

  • The application (If you do not have Adobe Reader, click here)
  • A personal essay that describes:
    • Reasons for wanting to participate in the UPIRTA
    • Previous research experience
    • Reasons for wanting to pursue a graduate or professional degree in health sciences after completing the program
    • Future education and career goals after completing UPIRTA
  • Letters of recommendation from a minimum of two college science teachers and/or mentors.  If you have participated in laboratory research, one of the letters should be from your research mentor.
  • Official transcript(s) of all undergraduate work.


contact us

For more information about UPIRTA, contact Program Director Paula K. Davis or the Office of Health Sciences Diversity at 412-648-2066.





UPIRTA is funded by a Commonwealth Universal Research Enhancement grant from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

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