Skip to Search Skip to Navigation Skip to Content


Apply Here




  What is this?
  Check it out



For more information or to report web problems, contact
Dr. Gail Taylor





MARC-U*STAR Training Program Application

This application is for students who wish to participate in the MARC-U*STAR program. The program has a total of 12 student positions that become available when students graduate or leave the program.

The RISE/MARC/WSRTP 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.

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.

If you are interested in Medical School, do not apply for this program.

Participants must desire to pursue a PhD in one of the following:

  1. A biological field
  2. Physics in a biomedically-oriented field
  3. Biomedical Engineering
  4. Chemistry in a health-relevant field
  5. Math or Computer Science in a health-relevant field (computational biology or similar)


Requirements include:
  • U.S. citizen or permanent resident
  • Full time UTSA student
  • If transferring, have completed one semester at UTSA by the time of program entry
  • Will complete your undergraduate degree at UTSA (must not be planning to transfer)
  • 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
  • Majoring in Biochemistry, Biology, Biomedical Engineering, Chemistry, or Microbiology/Immunology, 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
  • Commitment to complete the program once it is started
  • Able to commit to 15 hours or more to research work in Fall/Spring and 40 hours in summer
  • Will give up additional employment
  • Will enroll and complete Research Careers and Professional Skills Development course
  • Will complete College (COS, COE) Honors or Highest Honors from UTSA Honors College
  • Will complete a UG thesis (identical to the UTSA Honors College thesis)
  • Will attend an annual scientific conference
  • Will attend an off-campus summer research program
  • Will complete the GRE prior to graduation
  • Will apply to at least seven (7) doctoral programs


Underrepresented in the sciences for one of the following reasons:

  • African-American, American Pacific Islander, Hispanic, or Native American/Alaskan Native
  • Financially disadvantaged (eligible for Pell grants or equivalent)
  • Disability recognized by the UTSA Disability Services


The RISE/MARC/WSRTP 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

Application Advice

You will be asked to upload:

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


Continuing Student Application

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.