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 Biochemistry, Biomedical Engineering, Biology (except environmental), Microbiology/Immunology, Neuroscience, Psychology, and students focusing on biomedical research topics within Chemical Engineering, Chemistry, Mathematics, and Physics.


RISE UG Program  •  MARC 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 Program Work Study Research Training Program RISE-2 / MARC-2
GPA Minimum 3.0
no C or below in major course in prior semester
admission evaluation is holistic, but most trainees have a GPA of 3.2 and above
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 10.5 months guaranteed funding 3 years maximum variable variable
Level rising Senior final 2 years required variable variable
Citizenship U.S. citizen or permanent resident U.S. citizen or permanent resident variable variable
Other Requirements disability
or ethnic underrepresented
or financially disadvantaged
or ethnic underrepresented
or financially disadvantaged
awarded Work Study funds variable
Timing year round year round varies Fall/Spring
Career Goal PhD PhD or MD/PhD PhD or MD/PhD committed to or exploring PhD
Funding hourly pay
15 hrs AY / 40 hrs Summer
$14 / hr
year round stipend & partial tuition $10/hr of awarded Work Study funds n/a
Thesis; Honors required required optional optional
Must be recognized by UTSA Disabilities Services
Hispanic, African American, Native Alaskan/American, American Pacific Islanders
The NIH considers scientists to have come from a disadvantaged background if they meet at least two of the following criteria:
  1. Were or currently are homeless, as defined by the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act
  2. Were or currently are in the foster care system, as defined by the Administration for Children and Families
  3. Were eligible for the Federal Free and Reduced Lunch Program for two or more years
  4. Have/had no parents or legal guardians who completed a bachelor's degree (see the U.S. Department of Education)
  5. Were or currently are eligible for Federal Pell grants
  6. Received support from the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children as a parent or child
  7. Grew up in one of the following areas: Only one of the two possibilities in #7 can be used as a criterion for the disadvantaged background



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:
    1. What are your career and educational plans and what motivates you to pursue them?
    2. Please describe your research experience(s).
      • One paragraph per experience, including High School.
      • Include the title of the project, the name of the faculty Advisor/Mentor (Laboratory "owner"), where you performed the research, training program (if pertinent), and duration (or ongoing).
      • Include the following: intro/hypothesis, methods, results, conclusions, presentations/awards, impact on you.
      • For UTSA lab(s), do you desire to continue in this laboratory?
    3. Are you involved in any activities that broaden access to research, or promote the success of other STEM students? Briefly describe.
    4. In what clubs/organizations are you active, or have you been active, and have you held leadership roles in them?
    5. How will this program enhance your ability to reach your educational and career goals?
    6. Please discuss any other relevant information that you feel the Selection Committee should take into consideration when assessing your application.

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.