What is MARC? | Why is this program important? | Eligibility | Program Benefits | Program Responsibilities and Expectations | How do I apply?

What is MARC?

MARC is an undergraduate student training program for institutions with research-intensive environments.

The goal of the MARC program is to develop a diverse pool of undergraduates who complete their baccalaureate degree and transition into and complete research-focused higher degree programs (e.g., Ph.D. or M.D./Ph.D.) in a STEM field (biomedical, behavioral, and/or engineering).

Examples of eligible majors (including but not limited to):

Engineering (e.g., Environmental, Aerospace, Mechanical)
Public Health

The long-term goal is to develop a diverse pool of well-trained scientists, who have the following technical, operational, and professional skills:

  • A broad understanding of biomedical disciplines and the skills to independently acquire the knowledge needed to advance their chosen fields;
  • The ability to think critically and independently, and to identify important biomedical research questions and approaches that push forward the boundaries of their areas of study;
  • A strong foundation in scientific reasoning, rigorous research design, experimental methods, quantitative and computational approaches, and data analysis and interpretation;
  • A commitment to approaching and conducting biomedical research responsibly, ethically, and with integrity;
  • Experience initiating, conducting, interpreting, and presenting rigorous and reproducible biomedical research with increasing self-direction;
  • The ability to work effectively in teams with colleagues from a variety of cultural and scientific backgrounds, and to promote inclusive and supportive scientific research environments;
  • The skills to teach and communicate scientific research methodologies and findings to a wide variety of audiences (e.g., discipline-specific, across disciplines, and the public); and
  • The knowledge, professional skills, and experiences required to identify and transition into careers in the biomedical research workforce (i.e., the breadth of careers that sustain biomedical research in areas that are relevant to the NIH mission).

MARC grants are institutional awards. Applications may be submitted by domestic public/state institutions of higher education and private institutions of higher education that have a significant number of mentors with NIH or other extramural research support.

Awards are made to colleges and universities that offer a baccalaureate degree in biomedical sciences. Applicant organizations may submit only one application (normally identified by having a unique DUNS number or NIH IPF number). An institution can hold only one MARC (T34) program at a given time. Institutions with currently funded MARC, (T34) or IMSD (R25), or RISE (R25) programs for support of undergraduate students are eligible to apply for this FOA or U-RISE FOA only at the end of their current MARC, IMSD, or RISE funding period. The total requested project period for these awards may not exceed 5 years. Awards are renewable.

MARC institutions select the trainees to be supported. Trainees must be research-oriented students majoring in biomedical sciences who have expressed interest in pursuing postgraduate education leading to the Ph.D., M.D.-Ph.D., or other combined professional degree-Ph.D. in these fields upon completing their baccalaureate degree.

Why is this program important?

The Maximizing Access to Research Careers Program sponsored by the National Institutes of General Medical Sciences was established in 1975 to help develop talent and to increase the number of Ph.D. degrees awarded to diverse populations.


Upper-division students majoring in one of the sciences or engineering, maintaining a minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA, and who are graduating two years from the application deadline, are eligible to apply. Low-income, first-generation, underrepresented minorities, and/or students with disabilities are highly encouraged to apply.

Prior research experience is preferred.

Applications are due by 11:59 pm PST on April 15 for positions that begin June 1. To be considered, students must be graduating in May, two years from the application deadline (no sooner, no later). MARC is a comprehensive 2-year (24-month) program.

 Program Benefits

  • A monthly stipend of $1,195.00
  • Money to cover 60% of tuition
  • Textbook allowance
  • Research opportunities and mentoring
  • Travel support to attend scientific conferences
  • Opportunities to present and publish research
  • Year-round professional and scientific development workshops
  • Opportunities to network in the scientific community

Program Responsibilities and Expectations

There are significant number of benefits to being in the MARC program, as well as a number of responsibilities and expectations. By applying, you are indicating that you are familiar with the expectations below and agree to adhere to them if accepted into the program.

The MARC program is a two year commitment; students are appointed in June each year, and are expected to remain in good standing until graduation. Including completion of MARC required courses listed below:

  • Responsible Conduct in Scientific Research (Psych 492 or INTS 690)
  • Colloquium in Biomedical Science (Bio 246)
  • Scientific Writing (RWS 508W)
  • Graduate School Application Strategies (Bio 247)

In addition to the MARC required coursework listed above, the following are also required by the MARC program:

  • Conduct 15-20 hours per week of research during the academic year, and 30-40 hours per week during the summer
  • Summer research experience (SRE) at another institution outside of SDSU. All expenses covered by the MARC program
  • Apply to 7-10 Ph.D. programs (a minimum of three universities must be outside of California)
  • Apply to the Sally Casanova California Pre-doctoral program
  • Volunteer to present at Pre-MARC seminar activities
  • Present and defend an Honors thesis during the senior year (Biology and Psychology)
  • Participate in monthly community service

How do I apply?

Download an application here.

If you would like further information, please contact:

Thelma C. Chavez
Maximizing Access to Research Careers (MARC)
SDSU College of Sciences-GMCS 322B
Center for the Advancement of Students and Academia
San Diego State University
San Diego, CA 92182-1016
Phone:(619) 594-7195
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