MGI Outreach: OGR Applications FAQ

Get the FAQs about OGR

We have compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions (FAQs) regarding the OGR programs. We recognize that everyone is unique so if your questions is not addressed here, feel free to contact us: or see our webpage at:

OGR Programming

Q: What are the start and end dates of the OGR programs?
A: See the website for specific dates for all programs.

In general, Undergraduate Scholars begins the Thursday after Memorial Day and ends early August.

For Extensive Study the program begins the first Monday in August and ends June 30 the following year.

The timing can change so always check the specific dates!

Q: How much is the stipend?
A: The expected stipend is at least $4,000 for Undergraduate Scholars. For Extensive Study, the stipend/salary is comparable to that of a graduate student, please inquire. We do have the right to alter these amounts for either program based on available funds.

Q: How much time is spent doing research?
A: Students from both programs spend the majority of their time doing research. Undergraduate Scholars about 75% of their time is for research and Extensive Study about 85% or more.

Other activities in the program(s) include:

  • Topics in Genomics journal club
  • GRE prep
  • Graduate school prep
  • Presentation/writing skills

Q: Do students get to choose their mentors?
A: Sometimes. If a student expresses an interest in a certain mentor, then we do our best to match them. Otherwise, we make matches based on student interests and skills.

Q: If accepted to the program where will I stay and how will I get there?
A: For Undergraduate Scholars, transportation to and from St. Louis is provided as well as housing in a dorm on campus. For Extensive Study, some funds will be reimbursed for your travel to St. Louis. Students will be assisted in locating a place to live, but we do not provide a housing allowance. We do not provide a food allowance for either program.


Q: Are students who are currently freshmen eligible to apply?
A: Absolutely! We encourage freshmen to apply to the Undergraduate Scholars program.

Q: Is research experience required?
A: It depends on the level of the applicant and the program. For freshmen and sophomores, we do not require prior experience. For upperclassmen, experience is highly recommended but we will consider the entirety of the application and do encourage applications from those with or without prior experience. For Extensive Study, at least one semester or one summer of research experience is required.

Q: What is a minimally competitive GPA?
A: A competitive GPA is 3.3 or above. However, we have accepted students with a range of GPAs. So GPA is important but it is not the most important to us. We believe the OGR program will provide you with many tools that will help you as you prepare for a career in genomics and other sciences.

Q: I will graduate in December of next year, do I qualify for Undergraduate Scholars?
A: Yes. We accept seniors who will graduate in December of the year they would participate in the program. However, we do not accept May or August graduates for Undergraduate Scholars. These graduates are eligible for the Extensive Study program.

Q: Does the OGR program accept Psychology or Behavioral Sciences majors?
A: Persons with behavioral science majors can be accepted only if: 1) they demonstrate that they have taken courses in STEM and 2) express a desire to work in the biomedical research field. Both conditions must be met to qualify for this program. Most of the mentors for our program conduct research related to the biomedical sciences and while their work may include behavioral studies, most are not behavioral scientists.

Q: My semester/quarter ends after Undergraduate Scholars begins, am I allowed to enter the program at a later start date if accepted?
A: In some cases we have allowed students to begin after the start date, but no more than 3 or 4 days.

The Application/Process

Q: What is a completed application?
A: For Undergraduate Scholars:

  1. A completed online application form
  2. TWO recommendation forms from STEM faculty
  3. Official transcript
  4. Resume (optional)

For Extensive Study:

  1. A completed online application form
  2. THREE recommendation forms from STEM faculty. An optional fourth letter may be sent as a character reference.
  3. Official transcript
  4. Resume

Q: Who can serve as a letter of reference?
A: The following can serve as a reference: Any faculty member with whom you have done research whether at your home institution or at another institution; A faculty person who has taught you in a STEM course; Other persons include your program director, department head, advisor, deans, etc.

We do not accept references from the following: high school teachers, non-research related employer, or students of any kind. We will make some exceptions for postdoctoral fellows and lab technicians, but keep in mind that preference will be given to references from the Principal Investigators of the lab.

Extensive Study applicants can provide a character reference letter, which can be written by anyone, except a relative.

Q: May I send my transcripts electronically instead of mailing them?
A: If your institution participates in an electronic transcript service that sends officials transcripts then yes, we will accept them. We will not accept, email attachments of your transcripts that you keep for your own records or that you downloaded from your school's portal or webpage, they must be sent through an official e-transcript service.

Q: Where do I send my transcripts? What about letters of recommendation and resumes? A: Transcripts should be mailed to this exact address to ensure receipt:

McDonnell Genome Institute
Washington University in St. Louis
4444 Forest Park Avenue
Campus Box 8501
St. Louis, MO 63108
ATTN: Outreach

All letters of recommendation, resumes and official e-transcripts can be sent to our email address:

Q: When will I be notified of my status?
A: Because we have several deadlines and programs, the notifications will be staggered. Notifications will be sent via email.

  • For all completed applications, we will make requests for phone interviews beginning late February (Undergraduate Scholars); late March (Extensive Study)
  • Undergraduate Scholar candidates will be notified by early April
  • Extensive Study candidates will be notified of their status by early June
  • Each year we have an alternate list that we keep active until the programs begin

If you have not heard anything about your status within these timeframes please email us to make sure that we have all of your information. In fact you should check in during the process to make sure that we have your materials and we will do the same.

If you have additional questions not covered here, please email us at: Please put "OGR inquiry" in the subject line.