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Information for Prospective Postbacs

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We are seeking motivated recent college graduates to join us in the second cohort of the Postbac Program in Target Discovery. The program will prepare researchers to be competitive applicants for PhD programs through a combination of hands-on research experience in a Stanford lab and career development activities aimed at preparing the trainees for a career in the sciences.

The Sarafan ChEM-H/IMA Postbaccalaureate Program in Target Discovery is a two-year, paid internship aimed at preparing recent college graduates to apply for PhD programs. Researchers will be paired with a Stanford graduate student or postdoctoral scholar mentor and work independently on a project related to drug discovery.

Central to the program's mission is diversifying the pool of admitted students at the most competitive PhD programs. We know access to research opportunities and other resources to prepare students for grad school is irrefutably inequitable in the current academic landscape.


The ChEM-H/IMA Post-Baccalaureate program is a paid, two-year, on campus, research training program. Upon completion of the program, researchers will be prepared to apply to competitive PhD programs and successfully begin graduate work in the sciences. Researchers spend two years conducting drug discovery-relevant research in Stanford labs partnered with the ChEM-H/IMA programs and participating in activities in support of pursuing graduate study. We welcome and encourage women+/gender minorities and people with disabilities and/or from under-represented backgrounds to apply.

Key Features

  • Research training in Stanford research labs
  • Mentorship from Stanford faculty and Stanford graduate students/postdocs
  • Monthly salary and health insurance
  • Scientific skills and professional development workshops 
  • Communication training to empower interns to share scientific concepts with other scientists, the general public, and beyond
  • Speaking and networking opportunities
  • Community building
  • Access to Stanford University resources

Eligibility Requirements

  • Be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, and/or eligible for employment (DACA DREAMers are welcome!)
  • Demonstrate a commitment to pursue graduate study towards a PhD
  • Completed a bachelor’s degree in a STEM discipline by the time of the start of the program or within 36 months prior to the time of applying to the program 
  • An interest in conducting interdisciplinary research related to advancing human health through drug discovery
  • Women+ and other gender minorities, people from under-represented backgrounds, and people who have disabilities are encouraged to apply
  • Research will be conducted on-campus (Housing will not be provided. Selected interns are expected to relocate to the San Francisco Bay area and find appropriate housing).
  • All staff coming to Stanford's campus Fall 2021 will be required to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19. Staff who are not fully vaccinated or who do not disclose their vaccination status will be required to continue regular COVID-19 testing and, possibly, additional requirements aimed at keeping our community safe. More information is available on the Health Alerts website.

Application details

  • Letters of recommendation
    • Two letters of recommendation required with a preference for one from a previous research mentor or from a STEM professor from a course.
  • Short Essay 1: Describe your career goals
    • In 500 words or less, describe your career goals and how participation in the ChEM-H/IMA post-baccalaureate program will help you achieve those goals. Ideally, address at least your career goals for the next 5 years.
  • Short Essay 2: Describe your commitment to diversity, equity, and/or inclusion.
    • Taking action to advance diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) is a core value of ChEM-H/IMA. We seek applications from individuals that are aligned with this essential core value. In 500 words or less, describe your commitment to advance DEI. For example, this could be a description of: your own identity and experience as a member of a historically excluded and/or under-represented group, your participation in programming, organizations, or activities aimed at advancing DEI, and/or your personal DEI philosophy among other things.


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