The Colorado Advantage Program introduces students to the outstanding science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) doctoral programs at CU Boulder. The program invites prospective applicants to CU Boulder during a weekend in the fall to learn about STEM doctoral opportunities, meet with faculty, tour research facilities and interact with current graduate students. Applicants for the program must be currently applying for admission into a STEM PhD program.

The goal of the program is to recruit a diverse pool of candidates into CU Boulder’s STEM doctoral programs. All graduating seniors, post baccalaureates, and MS students interested in pursuing a STEM PhD and who seek to contribute to the advancement of diversity, equity, and inclusion at CU Boulder are encouraged to apply.

Groups severely underrepresented in STEM graduate education, as defined by the National Science Foundation, include African Americans, Hispanic/Latinos, American Indians/Alaska Natives that hold tribal membership, and Pacific Islanders (native peoples of Hawaii, Guam and Samoa) are extremely recommended to apply.

  • Applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents
  • Minimum GPA: 3.0 (3.25 for engineering) on a 4.0 scale
  • Applicants must be currently applying to PhD graduate programs in STEM

Colorado Advantage participants are selected based on academic qualifications that would indicate their ability to be admitted into a CU Boulder doctoral program. Faculty members involved in departmental graduate admissions committees review applications and select students who are considered competitive applicants to their PhD programs.  

Successful applicants are those who have researched their department(s) of interest and prepared applications that demonstrate shared research interests.

The application to the Colorado Advantage consists of five components:​

  1. Application Form

  2. ​Personal Statement

  3. Curriculum Vita (CV)

  4. A Letter of Recommendation from a faculty member, and

  5. Transcripts. Official transcripts are preferred but unofficial transcripts will be accepted.

Please submit Application via our webform; all other materials should be emailed to Please specify Colorado Advantage and your full name in the subject line. Priority will be given to complete applications received by 4pm MST Monday, September 18.  After that time, subsequent completed applications may be considered until the program is full. 

You should write your personal statement as if it were part of an application to a PhD program. State which department at CU Boulder you are planning to apply to. You may mention examples of faculty in your area(s) of interest, and explain how their research efforts connect with your interests. See the list of participating STEM departments. Each departmental website includes a list of faculty and their research interests. 

Because the personal statement is a crucial component of your application, we encourage you to have it reviewed by faculty or advisors who are experienced in reading graduate applications before submitting it.

Your personal statement should address the following questions (maximum 1500 words):

  1. What is your motivation to enter a graduate program in your field? Include your specific interests, research areas you would like to pursue in graduate school, and your long-term career goals.

  2. Why are you a good candidate for a PhD program? Describe your preparation for graduate school, including relevant coursework and research and teaching experiences. What did you learn about yourself and your field of interest from these experiences?

  3. Why is CU Boulder, and specifically your department of interest, a good fit for you? How would our campus help you attain your goals, and how would you contribute to our campus community?

  4. If appropriate, briefly discuss how you have addressed any past academic hurdles or challenges, and address any weaknesses in your application.

Your CV should include the following:

  • Name: Full legal name, matching your name entered elsewhere in the application.

  • Contact Information: Provide addresses, email and phone numbers for your current address and permanent address.

  • Educational History: Please include academic information for all post-secondary institutions you have attended (including institutions you are currently attending).

  • Employment History: Please include information on any additional nonacademic, industrial, or professional experiences from the start of undergraduate work to present. Be sure to include the following information for each position listed: Employer, Job Title, Start Date, End Date, City, and State.

  • Honors and Awards: List any scholarships, prizes, honors, or other special recognitions you have received. For each item be sure to include the Honor/Award and Award Date.

  • Affiliations: Please list any honor societies and learned professional societies of which you are a member, as well as positions held. For each affiliation be sure to include the Activity, Start Date, End Date and Position.

A letter of recommendation from one faculty member is required. Choose someone who knows you well and can evaluate your potential for graduate school. If you have research experience, usually it’s best to ask your research mentor for a letter of recommendation. Faculty are asked to include their name, title, address and phone number, and in the body of the letter, discuss the student’s:

  • Academic performance

  • Potential for success in an intensive research doctoral program

  • Maturity and motivation for graduate school

The letter must be filled out by the faculty member and emailed directly to our office.

Electronic Transcripts can be sent by your registrar’s office directly to our office. Official transcripts are preferred but unofficial transcripts, emailed to, will also be accepted.

For more information, contact Colorado Diversity Initative