Please share this call for applications with students and colleagues who work with undergraduates


As part of our RISE for Boys and Men of Color project, the Center for the Study of Race & Equity in Education is preparing 100 Native American, Black, Latino, Asian American and Pacific Islander undergraduate men for doctoral study and eventually for professorships in criminal justice, education, health, workforce development, and fields related to human services and social policy. Three cohorts over the next three years will each include 32-34 undergraduate men of color from colleges and universities across the U.S.

RISE Grad Prep Academy participation includes a four-day visit to the University of Pennsylvania. We will cover each student’s travel expenses, lodging, and meals. During their visit to our campus, academy scholars will learn more about applying to and succeeding in graduate school; meet our faculty and hear about their research projects; interact with our graduate students and alumni; and tour Philadelphia. After the campus visit, scholars will engage in a yearlong series of virtual workshops that introduce them to frameworks and research methods that align with the RISE Principles.

We are also paying for academy scholars to take a four-week Kaplan course valued at $1,200 to prepare for the Graduate Record Exam (GRE). Additionally, each academy participant will be paired with a current Ph.D. student who will offer mentoring throughout the graduate school application process, feedback on essays and other application materials, and advice on where to ultimately enroll.


Participation in the Academy is limited to undergraduates who are presently in their junior year – those who started their junior year of college in Fall 2016 and will earn bachelor’s degrees in Spring 2018.


Penn Professor Shaun R. Harper created the Grad Prep Academy in 2009 for Black undergraduate men interested in earning the Ph.D. in education. Previous Academy scholars have enrolled in Ph.D. programs at Penn GSE, UCLA, University of Michigan, Michigan State University, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Northwestern University, Duke University, and other leading research universities. The first two scholars to complete their doctorates are now tenure-track assistant professors at the University of Virginia and Loyola University Chicago.

The expanded version of the Grad Prep Academy now includes undergraduate men of color from other racial/ethnic groups and extends into the other four RISE fields.


Applications are invited from college juniors across all majors. However, only those who have intellectual interests related to the five RISE fields should apply. This program is not for students who want degrees like the M.D., J.D., MBA, or Ed.D., but instead is for those who are possibly interested in earning the Ph.D. and becoming professors.

All application materials must be submitted through the RISE Grad Prep Academy portal no later than 11:59 p.m. (EST) on Monday, October 3, 2016. Please direct all questions to

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