Maximizing Access to Research Careers (MARC)

The MARC Program is a unique research, mentoring, financial and academic opportunity for undergraduates belonging to a group considered underrepresented in biomedical research and who have the interest and potential to pursue a PhD or combined PhD (e.g. MD/PhD) degree. The program is a two-year program intended for the last two years of a student’s enrollment at the University of Arizona. 

The expectation is that students who participate in the MARC program will be well-prepared to take the next step in pursuing their graduate education and a future research career in the biomedical sciences.

The Maximizing Access to Research Careers (MARC) Program is now accepting applications for the 2024 cohort to begin June 1, 2024.

  • Research Interest: demonstrate a strong interest in considering a biomedical research career via the Ph.D. or M.D./Ph.D. degrees
  • Commitment: spend final two summers and four UA semesters in the program prior to earning their baccalaureate degree (some exceptions will be considered)
  • Belong to a group considered by the NIH to be underrepresented in biomedical sciences. (see statement below)
  • Citizenship: citizen or non-citizen national of the United States or lawfully admitted for permanent residence; those with foreign student status lacking permanent residence status cannot be considered
  • Any major related to the biomedical sciences.  In the past, majors of participating students have included Biochemistry & Molecular Biophysics, Biomedical Engineering, Chemistry, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, General Biology, Mathematics, Microbiology, Molecular & Cellular Biology, Neuroscience & Cognitive Science, Nutritional Sciences, Physiology (or pre-major), Psychology (BS), or Speech, Language & Hearing Sciences.  Other majors will be considered as well.
  • Credits completed: at least 56 units prior to start of training (June 1 of each year)
  • GPA: overall and a math/science GPA of at least 3.0 for courses taken at a 4-year institution
  • Prior research experience is NOT required

What groups does NIH consider to be in need of a special recruitment and retention plan in order to diversify the biomedical, behavioral, clinical, and social sciences workforce?

A.  Individuals from racial and ethnic groups that have been shown by the National Science Foundation to be underrepresented in health-related sciences on a national basis.  The following racial and ethnic groups have been shown to be underrepresented in biomedical research: American Indians or Alaska Natives, Blacks or African Americans, Hispanics or Latinos, Native Hawaiians or Other Pacific Islanders. In addition, it is recognized that under-representation can vary from setting to setting and individuals from racial or ethnic groups that can be convincingly demonstrated to be underrepresented by the grantee institution should be included in the recruitment and retention plan.

B.  Individuals with disabilities, who are defined as those with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.

C.  Individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds who are defined as:

        1. Individuals who come from a family with an annual income below established low-income thresholds.  These thresholds are based on family size, published by the U.S. Bureau of the Census; adjusted annually for changes in the Consumer Price Index; and adjusted by the Secretary for use in all health professions programs.  The Secretary periodically publishes these income levels at  For individuals from low-income backgrounds, the institution must be able to demonstrate that such candidates (a) have qualified for Federal disadvantaged assistance; or (b) have received any of the following student loans: Health Professional Student Loans (HPSL), Loans for Disadvantaged Student Program; or (c) have received scholarships from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under the Scholarship for Individuals with Exceptional Financial Need.

        2. Individuals who come from a social, cultural, or educational environment such as that found in certain rural or inner-city environments that have demonstrably and recently directly inhibited the individual from obtaining the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to develop and participate in a research career.


Submit your MARC application via the UROC website.  Applications are due Thursday, February 1 for the program beginning June 1 of the same year.

  • Research training in labs of outstanding faculty at the University of Arizona.  Faculty with active and well-funded research programs provide research guidance and intensive mentoring to participants.
  • Annual national scientific meeting
  • Colloquium course specifically designed for undergraduates in biomedical disciplines. Research talks are from scientists from other institutions, the U of A, or MARC program participants.
  • Assistance with preparation for the Graduate Record Exam (GRE)
  • Assistance with preparation of applications to graduate school or summer programs including personal statement
  • Training in the responsible conduct of research
  • Training in scientific writing and presentation skills
  • Overall mentoring and career guidance

  • Monthly stipend (currently approximately $1,200 per month)
  • Full or partial tuition and fees
  • Health insurance, if needed
  • Travel support

Contacts and Location of Office:

MARC Program Office - Biosciences West 531