Schools with Stem Cell Research Programs: How to Choose

Biologists study the stem cell's ability to heal itself, as well as ways to use stem cells to grow different types of organs and tissues, in hopes of treating various illnesses and injuries. Although controversial, stem cell research is a growing field. Students can participate in a number of different training programs, internships and fellowships.

How to Select a Stem Cell Research School

Undergraduate and graduate students who are interested in stem cell research may apply for an internship at a university stem cell lab or a research center at a teaching hospital.

Summary of Important Considerations

  • Length of program: single semester to a one-year program
  • Faculty experience and specializations
  • Diversity of education in various fields
  • Type of program and necessary prerequisites
  • Acceptance criteria for admission to the program

Length of Program

Internships may range in length from a summer to an entire year. Prospective students may decide how much time they wish to commit before applying to an internship program.

Faculty Experience and Specializations

When selecting a host institution for an internship, students may consider the breadth of experience and areas of expertise of the faculty members. Experts in various fields, such as gene expression, immunology, tissue engineering or nanotechnology, can provide students with a broadened experience by exposing them to different areas of stem cell research.

Type of Program and Necessary Prerequisites

Advanced researchers who are interested in stem cell research programs may apply for training programs, such as training fellowships for graduate students, post-doctoral research fellowships for Ph.D. holders or research grant programs for medical doctors. These programs allow individuals to learn more about stem cell research while receiving hands-on training from a mentor at a medical school or university research facility.

Acceptance Criteria for Program Admission

Some schools require research fellows to be U.S. citizens (such as National Institute of Health-funded fellowships), so prospective students who aren't U.S. citizens may consider their funding options.

Stem Cell Research Program Overviews


Competitive laboratory-based research internships may last a summer semester to a full calendar year. In addition to lab and classroom components, students may be required to attend symposia at their schools where they present their research results. Graduate students are typically expected to have a Bachelor of Science in Biology or other related field. Courses required in these types of programs commonly cover the following topics:

  • Immunology
  • Stem cell biology
  • Molecular biology

Training Programs

Training programs in stem cell research include both university fellowships and grant-funded training programs. These are available to current pre-doctoral graduate students, medical doctors or post-doctoral students, and require coursework, lab work and independent research. Some of the requirements may include research methods courses in stem cell biology, an overview of research ethics and weekly presentations. Course topics might include:

  • Ethics, laws and policy in stem cell research
  • Reproductive physiology
  • Human biochemistry
  • Developmental genetics

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