Program Components

The MARC GatorSTAR program has been designed to enable high ability undergraduates to pursue their PhD and careers in biomedical or behavioral science research. To achieve this, the program provides financial, academic, mentoring, advising, and administrative support.

Typical Training Timeline

Academic Year Program Courses and Training Extracurricular Program Activities
Freshman Year
(Pre-MARC)
X-Lab 1 and 2
Science for Life Seminar
Sophomore Year
(Pre-MARC)
Course-based research (GE)
Entering Research Course
Apply to MARC GatorSTAR Program
Pre-Junior Summer
(MARC)
Research Practice and Skills Course Research with UF faculty mentor (40 h/wk)
Junior Year
(MARC)
MARC workshops, seminars, and T32 activities Research with UF faculty mentor (9-12 h/wk)
Attend ABRCMS
Pre-Senior Summer
(MARC)
Extramural research at partner institution, REU site, or SURF site  (40 h/wk)
Senior Year
(MARC)
MARC workshops, seminars, and T32 activities Research with UF faculty mentor (12-15 h/wk)
Attend national scientific conference (with mentor)
Apply to doctoral programs

Pre-MARC Courses

Students can begin by participating in the Pre-MARC program, which consists of a series of courses at that are open to all students who have the appropriate prerequisites. These courses are coordinated, in part, by the GatorSTAR program in order to enhance the participation of undergraduates in research. Students taking these courses do not receive any financial support from the GatorSTAR program. See the Pre-MARC Page for more information.

The MARC Program

Unlike the Pre-MARC courses, which are open to all UF students, the MARC program is only open to students who have been selected as MARC GatorSTAR Trainees. Recruitment of Trainees to the MARC GatorSTAR program typically begins with UF sophomores and eligible students who have transferred or plan to transfer to UF from state or community colleges and other higher education institutions. Students who have participated in Pre-MARC courses will typically be more competitive for admission to the MARC program, but participation in Pre-MARC courses is not required.

MARC Trainees begin their research and program coursework in the summer prior to their junior year, during which the Trainee completes a summer research skills and ethics course and begins mentored research with a UF (“intramural”) program faculty mentor with whom the Trainee will be matched by the program. The mentored research experience will continue during the Trainee’s junior year under the supervision of the UF program faculty mentor. In the summer prior to the Trainee’s senior year, the Trainee will participate in full-time, off-campus research with an external faculty research mentor at an affiliated southeast institution. The Trainee will then continue participation in mentored research with their UF program faculty mentor during the Trainee’s senior year, and culminate with the submission of an Honors Thesis.

Intramural Mentorship Program

Each MARC Trainee will be matched with a UF faculty mentor, with whom the Trainee will participate in mentored research during the summer prior to their junior year, during the fall and spring semesters of their junior year, and during the fall and spring semesters of their senior year. See the MARC Mentored Research Page for more information.

Extramural Mentorship Program

During their junior year, Trainees will be matched with a faculty research mentor at an affiliated southeast (“extramural”) institution, with whom the Trainee will then participate in full-time mentored research during the summer prior to the Trainee’s senior year. Trainees will receive funds for travel and subsistence. See the Extramural Research Page for more information.

Academic and Professional Development Resources and Support

MARC GatorSTAR Trainees will be provided the following additional academic and professional development resources and support:

  • Personalized monitoring of academic progress
  • Personalized advising and counseling to foster academic achievement
  • Individual or group tutoring sessions for upper-level science and mathematics courses, as needed
  • Assistance with preparation for and application to graduate school
  • Orientation and regular group meetings with the MARC GatorSTAR program staff
  • Graduate school preparation workshops
  • Mandatory summer course on research skills, scientific ethics, and scientific writing
  • Present a research talk or poster in the Trainee’s senior year at ABRCMS or an approved regional or national scientific conference.