MARC (Maximizing Access to Research Careers)

The Maximizing Access to Research Careers Undergraduate Student Training in Academic Research (MARC U-STAR) Program at Jackson State University (JSU) is an honors training program funded by the National Institutes of General Medical Sciences and National Institutes of Health (NIGMS/NIH).


The goal of the Program is to enhance the academic preparation and research training of underrepresented (UR) students who inspire to enter and earn Ph.D. degrees or combined M.D.-Ph.D. programs in biomedical and behavioral sciences.  The program is not intended to support students who plan to pursue a MD only, DS, nursing or any other allied health program.

The MARC trainees must be honors students majoring in the sciences who have an expressed interest in a biomedical research career and who intend to pursue postgraduate work leading to a Ph.D., M.D.-Ph.D., or other combined professional degree-Ph.D. MARC trainees function in a research laboratory coupled with a strong academic program that is geared toward motivating and strengthen their desire for a career in research.  Our program is committed to recruiting, training, mentoring and preparing the next generation of leaders in the fields of biomedical and behavioral sciences.  Eligible MARC trainees are renewed for a second year of undergraduate study.


Under the guidance of faculty mentor, students have the opportunity to learn the research skills needed to contribute to a research project.  MARC/U*STAR program staff are on hand to help students meet all requirements for program activities to include course work, group meetings, participation in at least one summer research experience (SRE), enrollment in a three-hour course (Chemistry 310) and completion of on-line training in Responsible Conduct of Research.  MARC trainees select mentors from various areas of biomedical and behavioral research.  Each trainee is required to work with a JSU mentor in the research project.

MARC trainees begin their intramural training at JSU. Some trainees engage in summer research experience (SRE).  Research usually begins the summer prior to the MARC trainee’s junior year and continues through the MARC trainee’s junior year. The trainee conducts a research project or component of the preceptor’s overall research project.  The Program Director (PD) communicates with the preceptors to ensure that the trainees are progressing satisfactorily. Upon completion of the junior year, MARC trainees participate in a SRE. They also commit 10–15 hours per week to research during the academic year.  Intramural research training continues throughout the trainee’s senior year. The trainee prepares an abstract and gives an oral presentation at the end of the summer in conjunction with the closing program of other summer research training programs as well at the end of the academic year.

The MARC Steering Committee reviews eligible applications to ensure that candidates exhibit the potential and motivation for research with the expectation to matriculate.  Potential candidates are interviewed by the Steering Committee which makes the final selection of MARC trainees. The Committee also makes decisions regarding renewal and/or dismissal of trainees from the program.

Eligible applicants must meet the following criteria:

  1. Be a citizen, noncitizen national or permanent resident of the United States.
  2. Have a minimum of 60 university or college credits by June 1, 2015.
  3. Ability to earn and undergraduate degree from JSU in a declared major in two years upon entering the MARC Program unless an exception is granted by the MARC Steering Committee.
  4. Possess an excellent academic record including a 3.2 cumulative GPA or better in a major field related to biomedical and behavioral sciences (Biological Sciences, Chemistry, & Psychology) and have at least a B average in course work in major discipline.
  5. Plan to pursue a Ph.D. and a career in biomedical or behavioral research.  Students who plan to pursue MD/PhD will be eligible.
  6. Have a genuine interest in pursuing a career in research.
  7. Have outstanding ACT scores.
  8. Submit letters of recommendation from three or more professors who taught one of student’s classes in the Sciences, Psychology, and Mathematics or with whom you have conducted research, who are able and willing to comment on you potential as a biomedical researcher.
  9. Academic transcripts
  10. Complete an online application and submit all supporting documentation by the deadline, February 2, 2015.


Individuals who meet the eligibility requirements are encouraged to apply to the MARC U*STAR program at JSU.  The program has been designed to enable highly capable undergraduates to pursue a doctoral degree in biomedical or behavioral sciences through financial, academic and administrative support.


  1. Monitoring of academic progress
  2. Personal advising and counseling to foster outstanding academic achievement
  3. Assistance with preparation of curriculum vitae and personal statements


  1. Orientation and regular group meetings with the MARC/U*STAR Program Staff
  2. Travel to one off-campus scientific conference per year during the trainee’s participation in the MARC Program
  3. Attend monthly MARC research seminars
  4. Graduate School preparation workshops
  5. Mandatory three-credit course in (Introduction to Scientific Research) – CHEM 310
  6. Present research at the national scientific conferences
  7. Mandatory, a web-based training, CITI course in Responsible Conduct of Research
  8. Practical skills in preparing scientific abstracts, posters and oral presentations


High quality faculty mentored research experience
Generous monthly stipend ($988)
Partial Tuition
Paid Travel to National Scientific Conferences
Networking Opportunities

Each MARC Scholar will engage in intensive hands-on laboratory research training and independent investigation with a JSU Faculty Mentor.  Some summer research experiences may be off campus.  The intention of the MARC U*STAR program is to familiarize students with research methodology, increase the knowledge of and interest in doctoral-level training in biomedical and behavioral sciences and enhance their ability to be accepted into top graduate programs.


MARC/U*STAR Program  | MARC Application | Contacts