Schools with Stem Cell Research Programs: How to Choose

Dec 05, 2019

Students who are interested in stem cell research can participate in a number of different training programs, internships and fellowships. Opportunities are available to both undergraduate and graduate students at university stem cell labs and teaching hospitals.

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. A bachelor's degree is required to enter a stem cell research training program, but a doctoral degree may be required for some options.

Schools with Stem Cell Research Training Options

Below is a list of the top schools in the country that offer various programs in stem cell research:

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered In-State Tuition
Harvard University Cambridge, MA 4-year, Private Bachelor's, Doctoral and Postdoctoral Fellowships Undergraduate: $50,420; Graduate: $47,562
Stanford University Stanford, CA 4-year, Private Doctoral $51,354
University of California - San Diego San Diego, CA 4-year, Public Postdoctoral Fellowships N/A
San Jose State University San Jose, CA 4-year, Public Master's $6,738
California State University - Northridge Northridge, CA 4-year, Public Undergraduate Training Program and Master's Undergraduate: $6,893; Graduate: $8,327
University of Wisconsin - Madison Madison, WI 4-year, Public Undergraduate Certificate, Undergraduate Fellowships, Master's and Postdoctoral Fellowships Undergraduate: $10,555; Graduate: $12,010
University of Minnesota - Twin Cities Minneapolis, MN 4-year, Public Master's and Training Program $18,583
New York University New York, NY 4-year, Private Training Program, Doctoral and Postdoctoral Fellowships $45,426
University of Washington Seattle, WA 4-year, Public Doctoral and Postdoctoral Fellowships $16,590

Source:*National Center of Education Statistics (NCES)

School Selection Criteria

Students who are looking for stem cell research programs may want to take the following points into consideration:

  • Students should decide how much time they want to dedicate to their education; stem cell research programs may last a single semester to a one-year, while internships may range in length from a summer to an entire year.
  • A school with faculty who are 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.
  • Advanced researchers who are interested in stem cell research programs may apply for training programs such as fellowships for graduate students, post-doctoral research fellowships for Ph.D. holders or research grant programs for medical doctors.
  • Some schools require research fellows to be U.S. citizens, so prospective students who aren't U.S. citizens may consider their funding options.


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.

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 they 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.

Depending on career goals and experience levels, there are many options for individuals looking to pursue stem cell research. Many universities across the country offer various degrees and fellowships, so it's important to do careful research before choosing a program.

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