Rapidly Accelerated Research Experience (RARE) is a focused pre-admission-to-graduation STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) 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 sciences, engineering, and society in the 21st century.

The program incorporates four dimensions that are essential for success: an innovative curriculum across STEM fields, 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:
- Implements a comprehensive program that enhances retention and success in STEM fields.
- Supports participation in innovative lower-level inquiry based course experiences that significantly accelerate scientific skill development, an understanding of the research enterprise, and contemporary issues in the sciences and engineering.
- Establishes RARE students as members of a “community of scholars” through activities outside the formal classroom setting.
- Provides an integrated institutional support structure among administrative units and faculty that improves persistence and retention. 

RARE students are 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 science and engineering at the university level, including responsible conduct of research, safety, the laboratory environment, the research enterprise, exposure to primary literature, and information technologies; sessions addressing campus culture, academics, resources, and support services; and social activities. Students participating in the pre-orientation camp are paid a stipend plus room and board.

*For the 2020-21 academic year, the camp begins with arrival at Lehigh on August 9, 2020. Please note that the pre-orientation camp may be changed based on institutional decisions concerning Covid-19 the opening of campus facilities.




The RARE program uses “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 includes regular meetings with Academic Transitions and Multicultural Affairs staff.


Curriculum and Related Academic Experiences


RARE is an immersion program featuring accelerated and extensive research engagement. Science and engineering 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 issues and areas of interest in STEM), 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 a stipend during the summer between the first and second year. In subsequent years, our goal is to secure summer research placements for program participants that include stipends.



Find our 2020 Program Application here.