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.


Applications for the program are typically available in the spring and awards are made by June 1st of each year. Trainees for the program will be selected based on the following criteria:

  • Full-time academic standing at SDSU
  • U.S. citizen or U.S permanent resident (required for federal funding)
  • Upper-division standing (i.e., 60 or more completed units)*
  • Demonstrated potential and interest in pursuing a graduate degree (Ph.D.) in a STEM field
  • A science and overall GPA of 3.0 or better
  • Consent to complete the prescribed course of study and activities related to the MARC program

    Underrepresented students, academically disadvantaged students, and students with disability are especially encouraged to apply.  The MARC program is not intended for students who plan to pursue a medical degree only.

*The program is designed for students who are in their final two years of college.

 Program Benefits

  • A monthly stipend of $1008.00
  • Money to cover 60% of tuition
  • Textbook allowance and a research supply budget
  • Research opportunities and mentoring
  • Travel support to attend scientific conferences
  • Opportunities to present and publish research
  • Year round professional and scientific development workshops
  • Standardized test-taking strategies 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 course work 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 10 Ph.D. program (a minimum of three universities must be outside of California)
  • Apply to the Sally Casanova California Pre-doctoral program
  • Participate in Pre-MARC seminar activities
  • Present and defend an Honors thesis during the senior year (Biology and Psychology)
  • Participate in 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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