The UTSA Center for Research and Training in the Sciences has several Biomedical Research Training programs designed to prepare undergraduates for admission to doctoral programs.

Participating majors include Biology (all except Environmental), Biochemistry, Biomedical Engineering, Psychology (research-focused career goals required), Chemistry, and Physics (the last two with biomedical research focus).


RISE UG Program  •  MARC-U*STAR Program  •  Work Study Research Training Program  •  RISE-2 Program  •  MARC-2 Program

Eligibility and Benefits

The program eligibility requirements and benefits are summarized below. Transfer students who have not yet established a UTSA GPA are generally admitted to RISE-2 or MARC-2 for their first semester. Students in another federal research training program such as REACT or FAST cannot be funded by both their program and RISE or MARC; however, they can join RISE-2 or MARC-2. Pre-Medical students are not eligible for these programs.

  RISE UG Program MARC-U*STAR Program Work Study Research Training Program RISE-2 / MARC-2
GPA Minimum 3.0
no C or below in major course in prior semester
no C or below in major course in prior semester
~2.7 variable
Time Needed 1+ year required 2 years required 1 year variable
Duration up to 4 years 2 years maximum variable variable
Level Sophomore-Senior final 2 years required variable variable
Citizenship U.S. citizen or permanent resident U.S. citizen or permanent resident variable variable
Other Requirements ethnic underrepresented
or financially disadvantaged
or disability§
ethnic underrepresented
or financially disadvantaged
or disability§
awarded Work Study funds variable
Timing year round year round varies Fall/Spring
Career Goal PhD PhD PhD or MD/PhD committed to or exploring PhD
Funding hourly pay
15 hrs AY / 40 hrs Summer
year round stipend & partial tuition $10/hr of awarded Work Study funds n/a
Thesis; Honors required required optional optional
Hispanic, African American, Native Alaskan/American, American Pacific Islanders
Pell Grant Eligible
§ Must be recognized by UTSA Disabilities Services



Applications are accepted year round and are reviewed in late spring, summer and fall. A majority of positions are available in summer. Additional application reviews will take place until all program positions are filled, as well as in the case of unexpected mid-semester positions.

Needed for Application
  • Names of potential research mentors (if you currently don’t have one.)
    » list of approved mentors
  • Names and emails of two recommenders, preferably faculty from STEM courses.
    » advice on asking for recommendations
  • Answers to the following short essay questions:
    • What are your medium and long term career plans?
    • Why are you interested in biomedical or behavioral research?
    • Why do you think that you will be a good researcher?
    • How do you think this program will enhance your ability to obtain your career goals?
    • If you desire a PhD, why do you want, how have you prepared for it, and how committed are you to completing this degree?
    • Any other relevant information that you feel the Student Selection Committee should take into consideration when reviewing your application.
  • MARC-U*STAR only: Individual Development Plan
    » IDP draft

New Student Online Application

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HINT!! 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 is your goal, our programs will benefit you greatly.

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 writing 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 résumé/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 grease" really works in this circumstance.


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