Maximizing Access to Research Careers

The Maximizing Access to Research Careers (MARC) Undergraduate Student Training in Academic Research (U*STAR) is a training program funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This training program is for underrepresented students with an earnest desire to attend graduate school and obtain a Ph.D.

The goal of the program is to provide structured training to prepare high-achieving, underrepresented students for Ph.D. studies in biomedical and behavioral science research fields. To which they will ultimately contribute to the diversification of the nation’s scientific workforce.

MARC U*STAR provides students majoring in STEM or Behavioral Science disciplines opportunities to complete biomedical research training and work alongside faculty mentors in the biomedical sciences.

Undergraduate students participating in MARC U*STAR are provided with academic, financial and research support to become competitive applicants for Ph.D. programs.

The program is year-round and offers students numerous benefits, including academic year and summer research experiences at designated laboratories, opportunity to present at the annual campus-wide symposium, attendance at a scientific conference (travel-related costs are provided), professional development including colloquiums, seminars, and workshops, as well as a stipend ($13,368/year) and tuition assistance.

Eligibility and Requirements

  • Must be pursuing a course of study in Science, Engineering & Technology or Behavioral Science
  • Must apply two years before you graduate
  • Maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0
  • Be a U.S. Citizen or Legal Permanent Resident
  • Be genuinely interested in attending graduate school and obtaining a Ph.D. upon completion of your degree
  • Commit at least 10 hours per week to a research project during academic year and 10 weeks full time during the summer

Spring Research Fellowship

The Spring Research Fellowship (SRF) program provides freshmen and sophomores with a hands-on research experience and mentorship with a St. Mary’s faculty member during the spring semester. Students who are selected will research for a minimum of 100 hours and will receive a stipend (up to $1000). Those who are interested in a Ph.D. are strongly encouraged to apply. In order to be eligible for the program, students:

  • Must have at least a 3.0 GPA.
  • Must be pursuing a course of study in Science, Engineering & Technology or Behavioral Science
  • Must be interested in research


If you are interested in learning more about the MARC U*STAR and/or the Pre-MARC programs and their outstanding benefits, please contact:

Veronica Contreras-Shannon, Ph.D.
MARC U*STAR Program Director
Professor of Biology

Current students: Access the MARC U*STAR program application and requirements on Gateway.

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