The MARC U*STAR Program is a two-year, NIH-funded, undergraduate honors program that seeks to increase the number of biomedical scientists from diverse backgrounds that significantly impact health-related research. The program specifically seeks to strengthen the skills and research training of students from groups traditionally underrepresented in the biomedical sciences. This program is appropriate for students interested in pursuing a PhD or dual PhD degree upon completion of their baccalaureate degree.

The MARC Program offers research training, financial support, mentoring, networking opportunities and academic preparation for strong and motivated students. The UCLA MARC program is one of the longest-standing MARC programs at Research I universities across the nation, and graduates from the program have embarked on highly successful careers.


  • Research training in faculty labs at UCLA during two academic years and one summer.
  • Research training at an extramural research institution for one summer
  • Training in scientific writing and presentation skills
  • Travel to national conferences (one per year) to present research
  • Training in the responsible conduct of research
  • Mentoring and career guidance
  • Networking opportunities


  •  Applicants must have an interest in increasing diversity within the scientific workforce. Eligible students include:
    • Individuals from historically under-represented racial or ethnic groups such as African Americans, Hispanic Americans, American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Polynesians (Hawaiians, Samoans, Guamanians) are encouraged to apply.
    • Eligible students also include students with a registered disability
    • Students from low-income backgrounds that can demonstrate that they qualify for federal disadvantaged assistance.
      • If you have questions about your eligibility, please ask the MARC Program Representative or Director.
  • 3.2 GPA at the time of application; borderline GPAs are also encouraged to apply
  • Junior or senior standing (completed 90 or more units) by the time that the student will begin as a MARC trainee, AND have two years remaining at UCLA at the start of the program
  • Citizen or permanent resident of the United States.
  • Major in Life/Physical Sciences or Engineering and conducting research (or planning to conduct research) with a “biomedical” application.


MARC trainees will be awarded a stipend of approximately $12,336 per year, disbursed monthly.  Trainees also receive partial tuition support (~$7,500 per year) and funding for travel to a national conference each year, as well as funds to support a summer extramural research experience.  Continuation of funding will depend on satisfactory performance in the program and availability of funds from the NIH.


The MARC stipend will be part of your overall financial aid package; the Financial Aid office will adjust your financial aid package to ensure that you do not exceed your financial need. For more information, please contact the financial aid office directly.


MARC trainees are required to fulfill the following responsibilities:

  • Engage in research during their 2-year appointment for 10-15 hours/week during the academic year and 40 hours/week for ten weeks during the summer.
  • Conduct off-campus research during one summer.
  • Enroll in and fully participate in the MARC Journal Club (PhySci 194) all academic year quarters
  • Take the GRE exam
  • Enroll and participate in HC101F – Research Integrity & Ethics course (Spring quarter of Year 2)
  • Graduate with 16 units of honors credit (Honors Collegium, Departmental Honors, College Honors)
  • Submit the introduction to a thesis in Spring-Year 1 and a complete thesis by Winter-Year 2.
  • Present research findings at conferences (national and regional)
  • Participate in outreach activities/mentoring
  • Submit a summary of your work and a photo for an online profile
  • Apply to at least 3 PhD programs in Year 2

For more information or to apply, please see: