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MARC-U*STAR Training Program Application

This application is for students who wish to participate in the MARC-U*STAR program. Applications are accepted year-round.

The MARC-U*STAR program has a total of 12 student positions that become available when students graduate or leave the program. Selection meetings are held in mid April for Summer entry, late July for Fall entry, and early November for Spring entry. Sometimes there are position openings mid-semester and if you have been pre-screened, you could be accepted at that time.

MARC-U*STAR is year-round program that trains students for entry into doctoral (PhD) education. It is not just a summer program; it continues throughout the school year. MARC-U*STAR requires a commitment to participate for two years. In addition, before you graduate you are expected to apply for at least seven (7) doctoral programs. If you are interested in Medical School, do not apply for this program.

There are several absolutes that a student must fulfill to be eligible for consideration for the MARC-U*STAR program.

Requirements include:
  • Full time student
  • U.S. citizen or permanent resident
  • Desire to pursue doctoral (PhD) education
    This does NOT include:
    • MD, DDS, MPH, or other professional degree without a PhD, even if you wish to perform research in the future
    • PhD/Professional degrees (MD/PhD or DDS/PhD)
    • Professional PhDs that lead exclusively to clinical or health care practice without research
  • 3.4 or higher GPA
  • Junior or senior with two full years prior to graduation at program start
  • Commitment to complete the program once it is started
  • Majoring in Biology, Biochemistry, Biomedical Engineering, Chemistry, Microbiology, or Psychology, or any of the following majors with a biomedical research emphasis: Computer Science, Math, Physics, or Statistics
  • All As and Bs in science/math courses in the semester prior to entry
  • Able to commit to 15 hours or more to research work in Fall/Spring and 40 hours in summer
  • Will enroll and complete Research Careers and Professional Skills Development course
  • Will attend an annual scientific conference
  • Will complete a MARC thesis (identical to the Honors College thesis)
  • Will complete College (COS, COE), or Departmental (Psychology) Honors
  • Will attend an off-campus Summer research program (out of town unless excepted by permission)
  • Will complete the GRE prior to graduation
  • Will apply to at least seven (7) doctoral programs


EITHER are classified as being from a group that is underrepresented in the sciences

  • African-American
  • Filipino
  • American Pacific Islander
  • Hispanic
  • Native American/Alaskan Native


  • Must be eligible for Pell Grants


The RISE, MARC, and Work Study Research Training Program application is always open and available.
Primary review deadlines are: Spring: November 15th; Summer: April 1; Fall: July 15th.
Additional application reviews will take place until all program positions are filled,
as well as in the case of unexpected mid-semester positions.


New Student Application

Applications being accepted for Spring and Summer 2016

Application Advice

You will be asked to upload:

If you have questions about your application, contact Dr. Gail Taylor.


Continuing Student Application

Applications being accepted for Spring and Summer 2016

RISE or Work Study Research Training Program students who want to apply for the MARC-U*STAR program may fill out a smaller application. You will be asked to upload:


Advice for Writing a Personal Statement

Please write several paragraphs addressing the following:

  • What are your career plans?
  • What are your future educational plans?
  • Why are you interested in biomedical research?
  • What/who inspired you to perform biomedical research?
  • How do you think this program will enhance your ability to obtain your career goals?
  • Also include any other relevant information that you feel the Student Selection and Retention Committee should take into consideration when assessing your application.
General Advice

Do not let shyness or hesitation about an application prevent you from participating is this program. If you are strongly motivated to pursue a career in research and are having trouble with letters or other parts of your application, come and see Dr. Gail Taylor for advice. If a doctoral degree in Biology or Chemistry is your goal, our program will benefit you greatly, both in the present by allowing you to obtain valuable research experience, and in the future with admission to special off-campus undergraduate summer research programs and doctoral (PhD) programs.

Advice on Asking for Recommendations

You need two recommendations for this application.

  1. Obtain recommendations preferably from UTSA math or science faculty members
    • Exception: Psychology students should get at least one recommendation from a Psychology professor.
    • Recommendations from TAs are not recommended.
    • If you have worked in or are working in a research laboratory (not a teaching lab), get a recommendation from the PI of the lab
  2. The better you know someone, the better your recommendation is likely to be. If you have any doubts that a person will evaluate you well, ask them whether they "know you well enough to write a strong recommendation for you." People don’t like writing bad recommendations and this way, you give them an easy way to turn you down rather than write a bad or very scanty recommendation. Realize, however, that even a scanty recommendation is better than not turning one in at all or not applying.
  3. Ask your recommender as far in advance as possible - preferably two weeks at minimum. Good recommendations take some consideration and time to put together and your professors are very busy.
  4. You will provide the name and email address of your recommender when you apply. Your recommender will receive an email inviting them to send in the recommendation.
  5. If a faculty member doesn’t know you very well but will work with you, you may assist them by helping them get to know you better. Set up an appointment and provide them with a letter detailing your future goals and the program to which you are applying, as well as a copy of your resume/CV.
  6. PhDs often need to be reminded and are not annoyed if you do it politely. Follow up with your recommenders to make sure that the letters are actually sent. The "squeaky wheel gets the oil" really works in this circumstance.