Rapidly Accelerated Research Experience is a focused pre-admission-to-graduation science immersion program. The overarching goal of the program is to provide opportunities for students from backgrounds underrepresented in STEM fields to develop outstanding scientific skills in an environment that emphasizes preparation for leadership in addressing the increasingly complex issues facing the life sciences in the 21st century.

The program incorporates four dimensions that are essential for success: an innovative curriculum, a strong sense of identity as part of a community of scholars, addressing cultural issues that can contribute to low success and retention rates, and an understanding of the commitment required to excel in STEM.  RARE is a multi-level, structured, comprehensive four-year approach.

The RARE program will:
- Implement a comprehensive program that enhances retention and success in STEM fields.
- Provide innovative lower-level inquiry based course experiences that significantly accelerate scientific skill development, an understanding of the research enterprise, and contemporary issues in life science.
- Establish RARE students as members of a “community of scholars” through science-related activities outside the formal classroom setting.
- Implement an integrated institutional support structure among administrative units and faculty that improves persistence and retention. 

RARE students will be housed together in a residential community alongside other students interested in STEM.

Pre-orientation Camp

RARE students will come to Lehigh for a 2-week* “camp” prior to regular orientation that will be organized in cooperation with the Office of the First Year Experience, the Office for Academic Outreach, and STEM faculty.  The program will include introductions to life science, including responsible conduct of research, safety, the laboratory environment, the research enterprise, exposure to primary literature, information technologies; sessions addressing campus culture, academics, resources, and support services; and social activities. Students participating in the pre-orientation camp will receive a stipend.

*For the 2018-2019 academic year, the camp will begin on August 12, 2018 .


The RARE program will utilize “Advising Teams” consisting of two faculty and a successful junior or senior “peer mentor.”  This “mentoring committee” structure affords a broader perspective on professional development and career guidance.  A second advising component will include regular meetings with Academic Transitions and Multicultural Affairs staff.

Curriculum and Related Academic Experiences

RARE is a science immersion program featuring accelerated and extensive research engagement. Science immersion/research engagement is broadly defined to also include inquiry-based courses, interactions with active scholars through “social” science activities (meetings with distinguished lecturers, monthly informal evening sessions with speakers and faculty to explore health-related interests), and summer experiences as well as academic year participation in research groups as a member of a team.  RARE students will experience all of these elements starting in their first semester.


Research includes Summer experiences as well as academic year participation in research groups as a member of a team.

RARE students are guaranteed paid research experiences each summer.


Find our 2018 Program Apllication here.