MARC program
MARC students

2016-2018  MARC cohort at ABRCMS 2017 in Phoenix, AZ.

9 of the 15 trainees took home ” Best Poster Awards” for their Biomedical Research!


The Maximizing Access to Research Careers (MARC) U*STAR Program is a two-year, NIH-funded, undergraduate honors program that seeks to increase the number of biomedical scientists from diverse backgrounds that significantly impact health-related research. The program specifically seeks to strengthen the skills and research training of students from groups traditionally underrepresented in the biomedical sciences. This program is appropriate for students interested in pursuing a PhD or dual PhD degree upon completion of their baccalaureate degree.

The MARC Program offers research training, financial support, mentoring, networking opportunities and academic preparation for strong and motivated students. The UCLA MARC program is one of the longest-standing MARC programs at Research I universities across the nation, and graduates from the program have embarked on highly successful careers.


All applicants must be:

  • US Citizens or legal residents. Individuals on temporary or student visas are not eligible.
  • Registered, full-time undergraduate students at UCLA majoring in STEM fields with an interest in biomedical sciences.
  • Have completed 90 units (Junior/Senior standing) by the time MARC training begins and have 2 years remaining at UCLA

According to NIGMS guidelines, priority for the MARC Program is given to applicants who meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • From historically underrepresented racial or ethnic groups such as African Americans, Hispanic Americans, American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Polynesians (Hawaiians, Samoans, Guamanians)
  • Individuals with disabilities, defined as those with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities
  • From a low-income background that can demonstrate that they qualify for federal disadvantaged assistance (Pell-eligible)


MARC trainees are required to fulfill the following responsibilities:

  • Engage in research during their 2-year appointment for 10-15 hours/week during the academic year and 40 hours/week for ten weeks during the summer
  • Conduct off-campus research during one summer
  • Enroll in and fully participate in the MARC Journal Club (PhySci 194) all academic year quarters
  • Complete all writing activities, including research papers, mock grant proposals, and statements
  • Present research findings at conferences (national and regional)
  • Participate in outreach activities/mentoring
  • Submit a summary of your work and a photo for an online profile
  • Apply to at least 3 PhD programs in Year 2


  • Stipend of approximately $13,920 per year
  • Stipend disbursed monthly throughout year
  • Trainees also receive partial tuition support (~$7,500 per year) and funding for travel to a national conference each year, as well as funds to support a summer extramural research experience.
  • Continuation of funding will depend on satisfactory performance in the program and availability of funds from the NIH.
  • *IMPORTANT FINANCIAL AID IMPLICATIONS: The MARC stipend will be part of your overall financial aid package; the Financial Aid office will adjust your financial aid package to ensure that you do not exceed your financial need. For more information, please contact the financial aid office directly.

If you have any questions about the program, please contact Larone Ellison, MARC Program Representative, or the MARC Directors, Dr. Megan McEvoy and Dr. Gina Poe