Maximizing Access to Research Careers - Undergraduate Student Training for Academic Research (MARC - U STAR)

Academic Level
Issue Area
Support Services
Key Personnel
Program Focus
Undergraduate Research


This is a two-year program that provides research training to first-generation, low-income and underrepresented minority undergraduates, to place them into respected PhD programs, and to ensure the future success of MARC graduates in those programs. To achieve this, students are provided with a solid curriculum, strong research experiences, career and academic advisement, and experience presenting their data at national meetings. One of the hallmarks of the MARC Program is that scholars have the opportunity to work with outstanding CSUF faculty, as they develop a MARC thesis project. Initially funding covered six scholars each year, and now the program can support twelve. In 2006, the student base beyond expanded from biology and chemistry, to math, engineering, computer science and psychology. They also provide a one-year pre-MARC program to enhance the entry of freshman and transfer students in STEM disciplines into MARC and other research programs on campus. The program is typically composed of 50-75% Latino students.

Program Description

The mission is to recruit and prepare first-generation, low-income and underrepresented minority students in the biomedical and behavioral sciences for graduate school (PhD or MD/PhD) and a career in research.

The short-term goals are to:

  1. Prepare the scholars for admission to, and success within, PhD programs;
  2. Develop skills for doing scientific research;
  3. Develop written and oral communication skills;
  4. Develop an understanding and appreciation of professional integrity issues encountered in a research career;
  5. Provide career and academic advice; and
  6. Prepare scholars for the demands of a research career as underrepresented scientists.



  • 58 students have graduated from the MARC program. Six scholars (50% Latino) graduated in May 2016, bringing the number to 64.
  • A new cohort of six was recently appointed for the 2016-2018 cycle.
  • These 70 scholars (3% Native Americans, 9% African Americans, 57% Hispanics, 10% Filipinos/Pacific Islanders, 11% Asians, 7% White, and 3% Multiracial) reflect the ethnic makeup of CSUF undergraduates.
  • 82% of the students are in or have been accepted to PhD programs.

Most graduates from the MARC program are postdoctoral researchers. Others work in industry, government, or hold faculty positions at colleges or universities. Three former scholars expect to enter PhD programs after completing PREP or Master's programs, bringing the total to 95%. This success rate comes from careful selection, long term support, and comprehensive mentoring. Financial support also allows students to focus on their academics.