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IMSD Admissions

The UMass Chan Initiative for Maximizing Student Development (IMSD) was awarded in 2015 under the leadership of Drs. Brian Lewis and Kate Lapane. The overall goal of the NIH National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) program is to help ensure that a diverse pool of highly trained scientists is available in appropriate scientific disciplines to address the Nation's biomedical, behavioral, and clinical research needs. (see “Notice of NIH's Interest in Diversity” (NOT-OD-20-031)). 

IMSD-supported trainees are provided up to two years of support from the IMSD training grant as well as funds to support the attendance at national or international research and career development conferences. Participation in the IMSD Program typically begins upon matriculation into graduate school. Salary support from the IMSD grant is typically provided during year 2 or year 3 of graduate study.


  • UMass Chan students entering years 1-3 engaged in full-time study towards the PhD; and
  • U.S. citizen or permanent resident 
  • Students enrolled in combined degree programs (MD/PhD, DVM/PhD) are not eligible for support.

Amount of support
The IMSD provides financial support to offset the full cost of PhD students in the Morningside Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. Support is provided for salary, student health insurance, dental insurance and Morningside Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences fees. Support amounts are set according to the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA). In exchange for salary support from the IMSD grant, students are expected to fully engage in IMSD-supported activities.

Application process
Invitations to apply are sent to all incoming first and second year GSBS students at the beginning of each academic year. Requirements for applications include: 

  • Current CV
  • UMass Chan transcript (if applicable)
  • Essay response to the following prompts: 
    • Please describe a time you overcame an obstacle in your academic, research, or personal life.  
    • What do you hope to gain from the UMass Chan IMSD program?  
    • What is your personal interest in increasing diversity in the biomedical, behavioral, and clinical research workforce?