Program Guidelines and Expectations


The goal of the MARC U STAR program is to provide significant research training to undergraduate minority students in the sciences in order to help them enter a competitive high-quality PhD Program in the biomedical related sciences. The ultimate goal is to increase the number of underrepresented biomedical and behavioral scientists in leadership career positions that advance the health-related research needs of the nation. Our target outcome is to achieve 100% of our Trainees entering high-caliber PhD programs within 3 years of graduation.

  • MARC U* Trainees with junior standing are funded for 2 years beginning in the summer. Trainees with senior standing are funded for 1 year beginning in summer. This funding includes a stipend, partial tuition and fees.
  • The Trainees will conduct research under the supervision of a MARC mentor part-time (minimum 15h/week) during the academic year and full-time (40h/week) during the 10-week summer program. MARC students are not allowed to take summer session classes unless approved by their Faculty Mentors, the Administrative Director, and the Director. 
  • The trainee’s research is overseen by the Faculty Mentor, and other scientists and advanced students in the Laboratory typically help teach the Trainees techniques and guide their research as needed. Methodology and Procedures should be supplied in a written form to the Trainees. Trainees should participate at the hosting lab meetings and journal clubs. It is expected that the Trainee will gradually become more independent and will eventually be working with minimal guidance on a specific project (or part of a project). All trainees must complete the UCR RCR (responsible and ethical conduct of research) primer and take the safety training classes (as required by each laboratory) before they start working in the lab.
  • Trainees can elect to receive university credit for their research. Up to 9 units can be used towards the student’s major. These 197 research units must be initiated by the student through the student’s advising office and approved by the student’s department and faculty mentor. All majors have different requirements for taking 197 research units. These requirements should be discussed with the student’s department advisor. 
  • Trainees are expected to contribute significantly to the advancement of a project in the Faculty Mentor’s lab and should strive to obtain data of importance and of publishable quality. All trainees are required to present a poster at the annual undergraduate research symposium of UCR and should be encouraged to attend regional/national scientific meetings as well. At the end of their Traineeship, the students present the results of their research in a polished, professional 20-minute PowerPoint presentation (capstone presentation) during the spring quarter bi-weekly meetings. This presentation should include a brief summary of possible future directions of the research project.
  • Scientific ethics are discussed as needed at MARC meetings, and Professors teaching such classes will be invited to make presentations.
  • Each publication that involves significant research contributions by the Trainee must include the Trainee as a co-author and must acknowledge NIH grant support of the student Trainee, such as “This project was supported by Award Number T34GM062756 from the National Institutes of Health.” In accord to NIH guidelines, publications must be submitted to PubMed Central upon acceptance and the Faculty Mentor should provide the PMCID (or NIHMS# for “PMC in progress papers”) to Program Directors.
  • Note that no Trainee will be permitted to work on any project involving live vertebrate animals or humans that has not been approved by the IACUC and/or IRB. The grant itself does not support animal costs, housing or food.
1. *Scientific Meetings

Attend at least one national or local scientific meeting per year while in the Program. You have the opportunity for presenting posters and giving a talk. This requires submission of abstracts prior to the meetings (be sure to give the MARC office a copy of your abstract). The MARC Program will reimburse travel expenses for Trainees between $750 -$1200 /year (dependent on budget), which includes transportation, hotel, and food (on approved per day limit). 

2. *3.1 GPA

MARC U* Trainees must maintain a 3.1 GPA to remain in the Program. A student whose GPA drops below 3.1 will be placed on probation for one quarter. If the GPA remains below 3.1 for two quarters, the student will be dropped from the Program. 

3. *Summer Research Experience at another University

MARC U* Trainees should spend one summer at another University in the US, preferably at an institution that has a MARC U* Program. Housing, food and transportation costs for the summer experience will be covered up to $3500 by the MARC Program. Must start applying to offsite summer research opportunities during the first year in the MARC U* Program (early Summer/Fall).

1. *MARC Special Classes

NASC 189, Reading & Analysis of Scientific Literature and discussion of topics related to the responsible and ethical conduct of research (RCR). This is a one-unit course that is normally offered in the Spring quarter and is taught by Dr. Ernest Martinez (and/or another Faculty Mentor). NASC 188, Introduction to Oral Presentations, is offered in the Winter quarter. This course is taught by Dr. Margarita Curras-Collazo. This is a 2-unit course. 

2. *MARC Quarterly Meetings

MARC meetings with the Trainees are held with the Director and Administrative Director. Faculty Mentors are welcome to attend/participate. These meetings are an important and versatile component of the training program and are used (i) to monitor the students’ research progress via students short oral presentations (power point); (ii) to help identify and solve scientific problems; (iii) to provide complementary education on responsible and ethical conduct of research (RCR) and other bioethical issues in relation to their research experiences; (iv) to provide further assistance with any other issue related to program training (e.g., questions regarding preparation of the capstone presentation and written research proposal); (v) to meet invited Directors of Graduate Programs from other high-caliber institutions (e.g., Stanford) and learn about the process and requirements for admission into those high quality PhD or MD/PhD programs (generally Fall quarter); (vi) to meet other faculty on campus and hear about their research (generally Winter quarter); and (vii) for the students’ capstone research presentation, a polished 20 minute talk suitable for a presentation at a scientific meeting (during Spring quarter), during which the other attending MARC students are encouraged to ask questions and make comments. 

3. *Present during the Annual MARC Summer Symposium

A Symposium is held at the end of the summer program, where the MARC U STAR Trainees and the Pre- Trainee MARC summer students present their research in a short talk (poster or oral presentation). This is attended by colleagues, faculty mentors, friends, and family. 

4. *Take GRE exam

Must take GRE during the 2nd summer in the program (Also, MARC provides a one-time 50% discount fee voucher per Trainee for the General Exam administered via ETS).

5. *Apply to a minimum of three (3) PhD or MD/PhD graduate programs

Expected timeline to submit graduate applications is late Summer/ early Fall of your senior year.

8. *Apply to a minimum of one (1) post-baccalaureate (postbac) program

Expected timeline to submit postbac applications is late Summer/ early Fall of your senior year.

9. * In-Person Quarterly Check-Ins

Required to meet with Program Directors at least once per quarter by appointment only.

10. * Exit Interview for Graduating Seniors

During trainee's last quarter (Spring), all graduating seniors must meet with Program Directors to complete an exit interview. Students taking a gap year must meet with Program Director, Dr. Ernest Martinez. All MARC students should maintain contact with the MARC Program office after graduation from UC Riverside. The Administrative Director will periodically contact MARC Alumni via email for status updates post UCR graduation.




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