MARC U-STAR: Maximizing Access to Research Careers Undergraduate Student Training in Academic Research 

MARC uSTAR/CDI Star 2019-2020 Cohort

The MARC u-STAR Program seeks to train undergraduate students to think critically and write and speak effectively about their research in order to increase their ability to gain entry into and excel in top PhD programs nation-wide. MARC u-STAR also offers the Summer Scholars Program, which is an eight-week research program for rising Washington University sophomores interested in scientific research.

Funded by the NIH, the program is also made possible with valuable contributions from the following sources:

College of Arts & Sciences
The BALSA Group
Hope Center
Office of Medical Education
Siteman Cancer Center
McDonell Center for Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology
McDonell Center for Systems Neuroscience

Center for Reproductive Health
Office for Student Success
Office of the Provost
Department of Biology
Department of Chemistry
Department of Psychology
Department of Biomedical Engineering

The goal of the NIH-funded Maximizing Access to Research Careers (MARC) research training programs is to develop a diverse pool of undergraduates who complete their baccalaureate degree and transition into and complete biomedical, research-focused higher degree programs (e.g., Ph.D. or M.D./Ph.D.).  Students from backgrounds and identity groups underrepresented in the biomedical sciences, including students of color, students with disabilities, and students with disadvantaged backgrounds, are especially encouraged to apply. At the same time, all applications for the WashU MARC program will be reviewed in compliance with legal requirements, i.e., without consideration of race/ethnicity.

The MARC U-STAR Program at Washington University in St. Louis is supported by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, National Institutes of Health (NIGMS/NIH) under National Research Service Award T34 GM 083914.

Applications for the 2024-2025 MARC uSTAR Academic Year Program and for the summer 2024 uSTAR Summer Scholars Program are currently open. Apply Now!

Academic Year Program

About the Program

The MARC U-STAR Program  is a two-year, junior-/senior-level, research-based honors program students at Washington University interested in pursuing the PhD in the biological and biomedical sciences. 

Program Benefits
  • A $1,000 monthly stipend for at least the academic year
  • May provide a tuition benefit.
  • Requires students work 10 or more hours per week in a research lab of their choice during the academic year and full-time during the summer. 
  • Students will attend weekly seminars that train students in effective scientific presentation.
  •  Other program benefits include workshops on personal statements and poster presentations, grad/undergrad joint dinners, opportunities to attend national scientific conferences, and membership in a close knit supportive academic community.  

uSTAR Summer Scholars

About the Program

The uSTAR Summer Scholars Program affiliated with MARC u-STAR is an eight-week, residential research program for rising Washington University sophomores interested in scientific research.  

Program Benefits
  • Mentored full-time research in a top-notch Washington University research lab.
  • Free housing and $3,200 summer stipend.
  • Rigorous personalized training in scientific presentation.
  • Opening and closing dinners at the program director’s house for students and their friends.
  • Weekly Evening Science talks from PhD scientists about their research and career path.
  • Student panels on graduate school and medical school and the MD/PhD.
  • Closing symposium for all students and their labs.
For questions about the Academic Year or Sophomore Scholars Program, please contact Dr. Jim Skeath at