Frequently Asked Questions about YCA


  • When is the deadline to apply? - The deadline will be each year at the end of March. For the 2021 program, the deadline is March 31, 2021. Please check our main webpage for the most up to date program dates.
  • How long is the program? When does it start and end? -The program will run one year from June of the year you apply to June of the following year. A new cohort begins every June. Former fellows who have completed the program become a part of an online community of YCA alumni.
  • The registration form seems long. Will it take me a long time to apply? - Your answers can be brief! We mostly want to know who you are and why you want to participate. Do be sure you plan ahead, though, as we require a letter of recommendation that must also be received by the application deadline.
  • I'm not in a biology department, can I still apply? - Yes! We are looking for doctoral students who have research interests related to the biological or health sciences. You can be in a chemistry, engineering, or physics department, but if your research interests are geared towards biology or health you are welcome to apply. Please see the full list of research interests that are supported by the NIH for this program here.
  • I'm in a PsyD, MD/PhD, DVM/PhD, or Doctorate/PhD in Public Health program, can I still apply? - Yes! As long as you meet all other eligibility requirements.
  • I am not planning to graduate for several years. Can I still apply? - Our program is geared towards PhD students who are nearing the end of their studies and looking to obtain a postdoc position. If you are not expecting to graduate within the next two years, please consider applying when you reach that time in your studies.
  • I completed my PhD in the past year. Can I still apply? -Unfortunately, our program is only open to students who are currently in their PhD program and who plan to complete their PhDs in the next 1-2 years.
  • I am planning on completing my PhD in the next year and I already have a postdoc opportunity identified. Can I still apply? - Yes, but you should be mindful that if you already have a postdoctoral position identified, you may not meet our Eligibility Requirements or be competitive against other applicants with respect to Demonstration of Need. The program works best for students who plan to start their postdoc no earlier than the end of the YCA program for which they are applying. For the 2021 application, the program works best for students who are not planning to start a postdoc until June 2022.
  • I'm a US citizen but I'm doing my PhD abroad, can I still apply? - Yes! As long as your institution is accredited by a national agency or organization (most are).
  • I’m not a US citizen but hold a student visa and am in a PhD program in the US. Can I still apply? - Unfortunately, no. According to NIH guidelines, funding for this program can only support: US citizens, non-citizen nationals, or permanent residents.
  • Do I have to be Puerto Rican or studying in Puerto Rico to participate? - No! The program is open to any student who identifies as being from a group that is underrepresented in science. While the program leverages a collaboration with Ciencia Puerto Rico, a large and dynamic community of >13,000 Latinx, students, educators, and STEM professionals, as demonstrated through our past participants, we thrive on the participation of students from diverse backgrounds, origins, and institutions.
  • Is this program only for students who aspire to academic careers? - Generally, yes. Beginning in 2021, the YCA program will focus on candidates that intend to pursue a postdoctoral appointment within 1-2 years of graduation and who are considering an academic career among their primary career paths. Of course, we know preferences might change over time, but most of our content and training will be tailored to students with these interests.  
  • I am in a T32/RISE/IGERT/etc program, can I still apply? - Yes! This program will not conflict with any of those programs; it is meant to complement them.
  • What are the costs to participate? Will I get a stipend? - The program is free of costs for participants. We do not provide stipends.
  • Will this program interfere with my graduate training? - Just the opposite! The program is designed to enhance your graduate training. There will only be 1 or 2 activities per month, mostly in the evenings. 
  • Are all activities online? - Most them will be. We have special technology that makes video conversations incredibly interactive. In addition, we will have a yearly face-to-face meeting at Yale University beginning in June 2022.

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