I am not an ethnic minority, am I still eligible to apply?

NIH eligibility requirements

Students for MHIRT program must be individuals from a group underrepresented in biomedical, behavioral, clinical and social sciences.  This includes members of racial and ethnic groups that have been identified by the National Science Foundation to be underrepresented in biomedical research (including Blacks and African Americans, Hispanic Americans or Latinos, American Indians and Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders); rural; and low socio-economic groups.

Low-income individuals are defined as individuals who come from a family with an annual income below established low-income thresholds. These thresholds are based on family size, published by the U.S. Bureau of the Census; adjusted annually for changes in the Consumer Price Index; and adjusted by the Secretary for use in all health professions programs. The Secretary periodically publishes these income levels at For individuals from low income backgrounds, the grantee must be able to demonstrate that such candidates (a) have qualified for Federal disadvantaged assistance; or (b) have received any of the following student loans: Health Professional Student Loans (HPSL), Loans for Disadvantaged Student Program; or have received scholarships from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under the Scholarship for Individuals with Exceptional Financial Need.

Individuals from rural backgrounds are defined as those who come from a family residing in an area designated by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) as non-metropolitan ( The home address of prospective trainees can be entered into the Rural Assistance Center’s ‘Am I Rural’ website ( to obtain a Core Based Statistical Areas designation of Metropolitan, Micropolitan, or Rural. Prospective trainees from areas with Micropolitan or Rural designations meet MHIRT eligibility requirements.

Am I required to take a language test before applying?

Yes.  For work in Chile, you are required to show proof of language study on your application form.  If selected, you may be asked to take an oral examination so that you can be placed in the best possible international setting for you. An intensive three month language course will be available to students without prior structured course work. Spanish 103 is not sufficient. Even 232 is marginal.

I have never traveled or studied abroad before, should I apply?

Yes.  One of the primary objectives of the program is to provide qualified minority students with the opportunity to further their career goals by participating in international opportunities.

I am not a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, can I still apply?

MHIRT participants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents.  Permanent residents must be able to show proof of residency.  U.S. citizens must have or be able to obtain a U.S. passport.

Are all my costs related to this opportunity covered?

Yes, the cost of visa, passport, airfare, food and housing while you are away and a small per diem for on-site expenses will be covered.

What is the first thing I will need to do if my application is accepted?

You will be sent an acceptance packet that will include steps to follow.  First, you will have to acknowledge your acceptance and return a health form signed by your family physician.  Next, you will need to complete the forms needed to acquire a passport and visa (if needed).  You will also receive the schedule for a mandatory seminars that you will attend prior to leaving the country. All the questions you may still have regarding what to take with you, travel and living arrangements, and cultural and training issues for the specific site you will visit will be answered at that orientation.

Who should complete my Faculty Recommendation Form?

Your recommendation should be written by a professor who knows you and can write a recommendation based on your research abilities and experiences. Please note that we will eventually ask for a letter from a potential mentor who would oversee your research experience if you were accepted into the program.