Application Process

Do you have what it takes to be a part of the SDSU MHIRT program?

The SDSU MHIRT Program is always interested in receiving applications from exceptional candidates. In addition to meeting the below criteria, we are looking for applicants with a high level of emotional maturity, professionalism, and dedication to improving the research and outcomes of populations affected by health disparities post matriculation. To be eligible for the SDSU MHIRT program in 2020-2021, you must, at minimum, meet the following criteria:

  • You must be a US citizen or permanent resident.
  • You must come from an NIH specified minority group underrepresented in biomedical research. (Please visit our Program Overview page for more information).
  • You must have a GPA of 3.0 or higher.
  • You must be a Master’s student, and have previous research experience in the area of our MHIRT training programs.
  • You must show a commitment to pursuing a career in research, public health, or another field, focused on health disparities.

Important Dates

If you believe you meet these requirements, please continue to read below the important dates and deadlines of the program to ensure you are able to participate in all activities during your tenure with the MHIRT Program.

NOTE: In response to the Covid-19 global pandemic, the California State University system has implemented a travel suspension for all students and faculty associated with the CSU system through June 30, 2021. The SDSU MHIRT 10 -12 week research abroad program will, therefore, begin after the travel suspension has been lifted. Prospective applicants should determine whether they will be available to participate in the program, which will run from MID-JULY TO THE END OF SEPTEMBER, 2021 (DATES TBD). Applicants accepted to the program MUST PARTICIPATE IN THE FULL PROGRAM ABROAD – NO EXCEPTIONS WILL BE MADE TO ACCOMMODATE FOR A SHORTER PARTICIPATION PERIOD. We suggest that you consult with your academic advisor before applying to the program, as the application process is quite involved.

Applications will be made available online.

Application deadline has been extended to March 15. Your complete application packet [application form, transcripts, personal statement and letters of recommendation] must be received by midnight on March 15, 2021. Incomplete submissions will not be considered. You can send an unofficial transcript with your application, but the official transcript must arrive by April 15, 2021.

Accepted trainees must return their acceptance package, including travel insurance and stipend forms. All fellows without a passport valid for 6 months past November, 2021 must either apply for their passport or renew their current passport at their own expense. Accepted fellows must return completed acceptance packet or forfeit fellowship offer.

Accepted fellows are required to complete an online, 6 week, ethics in research course with MHIRT Director, Dr. Dena Plemmons. This course is required before your departure. Failure to complete this course or unsatisfactory participation is grounds for dismissal from the program.

Pre-Travel Packets with information on visa and vaccination requirements will be sent out. You must ensure you have a valid passport, have obtained all necessary vaccinations and clearances before you go abroad. The MHIRT office will make travel arrangements; roundtrip travel is covered by MHIRT funds.

Your SDSU Mentor will have earlier sent you a brief assignment to complete before pre-departure training. These assignments will be part of your training while in San Diego.

The international research experience begins. Through the MHIRT program, you will receive a modest stipend which is meant to support you. Your incidental and per diem allowances will be disbursed to you upon successful completion of the program.


The international research experience concludes, and fellows return to their home campuses.

All receipts and necessary reimbursement paperwork must be received by this date.

Detailed instructions for the reports will be provided with other pre-departure information. Fellows will also be encouraged to submit their work to a national conference (for oral or poster presentation); SDSU students are expected to submit a presentation to the SDSU Student Research Symposium. Travel funds are available for those students whose submissions are accepted for presentation.

December, 2021: Final reimbursements dispersed

MHIRT Application Process

To complete the online portion of the application you will need to have the following documents ready for upload.

Letters of Recommendation Contact Information

The name, title, institution, address, phone, and email of the two persons who will be submitting a letter of recommendation on your behalf. Those recommending you should be able to attest to your academic and research abilities, your professionalism, and your character/temperament. For instance, your ability to handle the stress and limitations of working in a foreign field setting and living abroad for some months. The people who are endorsing you should discuss your adaptability, problem-solving skills, and tolerance and appreciation of cultural differences. Please inform those writing letters on your behalf that those letters need to be received in the MHIRT office by no later than the application deadline date (posted above) or you will be considered ineligible for the MHIRT Program.

Personal Statement

This statement should address your academic and professional readiness to be a MHIRT fellow and your future career goals. Some questions to think about that we encourage you to answer in your statement include:

Unofficial Transcript

You are required to submit an unofficial transcript with your application. Official transcripts are also required and must arrive to our office no later than the due date posted above. You will need to contact the Registrar at your school and request that an official copy of your transcript be sent to the SDSU MHIRT Program to the address on the “Contact Us” page. Any applicant without official transcripts delivered to the MHIRT office by this date will not be considered for participation in the MHIRT program.

Begin Filling out the Application Online

If you’re ready to begin the application process please click the “Apply Now” button below. Thank you.

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