MARC-U*STAR Benefits


MARC-U*STAR supports student academic and research activities while they train to enter PhD programs. Students receive financial benefits, exceptional professional training and experience, and participate in outreach activities, which make them exceptional candidates for doctoral program admission and strong candidates for NSF graduate research fellowships. To maximize their participation in program activities and the laboratory, MARC students are not allowed to hold a job in addition to MARC.


  • Trainees obtain "hands-on" research experience in research laboratories at UTSA and participate in an extramural summer internship in their second summer. Students have a project of their own (or work on a larger collaborative project) and create scientific abstracts, an Honors Thesis, and may even be an author on a scientific paper.
  • MARC Trainees are expected to take responsibility for their research experience and develop a deep understanding of their project. By the time they graduate, they should at least be working at the level of master’s students, or even young PhD students.
  • Students are expected to work 15 or more hours per week in the laboratory during the semester and full-time (40 hours) during the summer. Students should NOT sacrifice their academic success by putting too much emphasis on their research and working extra/extensive hours.


  • All MARC trainees must be admitted into the UTSA Honors College or must apply to be admitted within two weeks of MARC program admission. MARC trainees from Fall 2016 must be admitted by August 28.
  • All MARC trainees will complete the requirements to earn Highest Honors. MARC formal research training courses count towards Honors credit.
  • As Honors trainees, MARC students will receive benefits reserved for Honors trainees, including Honors Advising, Priority Registration, and others.

Financial (Note: This program will likely cause reorganization of your financial aid. See below.)

  • MARC is an NIH T34 National Research Service Award and its stipend increases annually. Presently, it is slightly above $1000 per month. Click here for current rates. Look for amounts for Jr/Sr Undergraduates.
    Note: increases happen on June 1, each year.
  • MARC pays approximately 60% of Spring and Fall tuition.
  • Travel and conference expenses for one (1) conference per year, the first of which will be ABRCMS or SACNAS.
  • Travel, housing, and food support during Summer Internships (nearly guarantees admission to any summer program, with sufficient GPA and solid letters of recommendation).


  • Enriched Academics to include basic Biology courses to provide Biomedical foundations for all majors
  • Two semesters of Honors Research in your field (6 credits)
  • One upper division course pertinent to their laboratory emphasis
  • Three credits from Research Careers course or series
  • Encouraged participation in at least one graduate-level course or journal club prior to graduation

Conference Attendance

  • MARC participants are allotted funds attend one scientific conference annually
  • Included:
    • Airfare
    • Hotel (sharing a room)
    • Registration fees
    • Per diem (food; generally a flat $35-$48/day for food when it is not provided by the conference)
    • Taxis and other travel related to attending the conference. All other travel/entertainment is the responsibility of the student.

Professional Development

  • MARC Friday Meetings
  • MARC First Semester Experience
  • Research Careers and Professional Skills Development course (or course series, in 2017)
  • Departmental Seminars (2 times per semester)
  • Broader Impact/Outreach activities (at least 1 time per semester)
  • Networking opportunities with former students and graduate programs
  • Conference Attendance
  • Off-campus/Extramural summer research internship
  • Training in writing
  • Development of an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship
  • Thesis creation and final oral presentation

Please note: Students at all levels should expect to spend sufficient time in their laboratory to complete their research projects. There will be times when undergraduates will have to invest longer hours to complete their projects. However, they should do so while keeping their courses in mind - do not sacrifice your grades!

MARC-U*STAR and Financial Aid

The MARC-U*STAR program funds are considered a scholarship or stipend and are disbursed through the scholarship office. MARC-U*STAR will be inserted within your financial aid award - if you are getting loans, it will likely replace them, as well as some university scholarships. If you are at maximal financial aid (~$18K) and working off campus, you will need to assess whether MARC-U*STAR participation will cause financial hardship by replacing your financial aid as well as outside employment. When you are offered a position in MARC-U*STAR, please set up an appointment to visit with the Financial Aid Office to assess the program's impact on your finances.