Ronald Williams Library

The National Institutes of Health MARC U-STAR Training Program at Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU) is a comprehensive educational program for third- and fourth-year undergraduate students which includes:

  • Innovative curriculum developments integrated into the program of study across STEM disciplines,
  • Opportunities to participate in research in a variety of contexts, including prestigious research universities,
  • Structured mentoring and advising, and
  • Financial support

MARC U-STAR is intrinsically interdisciplinary, and includes faculty and departments across the STEM disciplines at NEIU.

NIH‘s MARC U-STAR award provides two years of financial, academic, career and personal support for undergraduates in their junior and senior years. MARC U-STAR is aimed at enhancing a student’s ability to gain access to a high-caliber PhD program in the biomedical and/or behavioral fields. Students from underrepresented groups in the biomedical and behavioral sciences are especially encouraged to apply.


  • To appropriately prepare undergraduate students, with a particular emphasis on under-represented minority students (URMs), for admission into doctoral programs with biomedical and/or behavioral research focus
  • To implement a pre-trainee program that prepares MARC and other honor students for admission into doctoral programs with biomedical and/or behavioral research focus
  • To enhance the curriculum and mentoring infrastructure of STEM disciplines at NEIU by providing activities that integrate URMs into the scientific community

Relevance to Public Health

Biomedical, quantitative, and behavioral sciences are playing an increasingly important role in disease prevention and treatment. MARC training funds allow NEIU, as the only four-year public Hispanic Serving Institute (HSI), to uniquely contribute to the need for a diverse and highly-trained workforce to lead our nation’s biomedical and behavioral research. The following elements were identified in our goals for an effective MARC program: (a) development of an academic curriculum that appropriately prepares URM students for graduate schools in biomedical and behavioral research, (b) immersion experiences that improve students’ understanding of biomedical and behavioral research opportunities through research and activities that establish URM’s membership in the scientific community and (c) financial support for trainees to facilitate students’ full engagement in academic and research activities.

Benefits and Requirements


MARC U-STAR Scholars receive:

  • An annual stipend for two years ($13,920 per year for junior and senior years as of June 2022)
  • 60%-100% of Illinois resident tuition paid for two years (junior and senior years)
  • Participation in research training opportunities and research immersion at NEIU during the academic year
  • A paid 10-week summer research experience at a research-intensive institution (transportation included)
  • Funding for travel expenses to present research at a professional conference
  • Informational seminars covering research-related topics and information on biomedical and/or behavioral science graduate programs
  • Academic, career, and personal guidance and support throughout undergraduate degree completion

MARC U-STAR Scholars are expected to:

  • Complete a research project with an NEIU faculty mentor
  • Complete a research thesis based on the researched conducted
  • Complete an external Summer Research Experience at a research-intensive university
  • Present their research at:
    1. NEIU’s Student Center for Science Engagement Symposium in the fall,
    2. NEIU’s Student Research & Creative Activities Symposium in the spring, and
    3. At least one national academic conference (usually ABRCMS)
  • Complete a minor in Mathematical and Statistical Modeling for Complex Systems at NEIU
  • Gain acceptance into and commit to complete a Ph.D. program in biomedical and/or behavioral sciences


Every MARC U-STAR Scholar applicant must:

  • Be an undergraduate student with a declared major at NEIU in Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Mathematics, Physics, or Psychology. Non NEIU students are welcome to apply as long as they become NEIU students at the time of their appointment in the program.
  • Be a sophomore or junior at the time of application submission; freshman and senior students are not eligible
  • Have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0
  • Be a first-generation college student with income eligibility, and/or a member of a group underrepresented in biomedical and behavioral science programs at the post-graduate level
  • Have U.S. citizenship or permanent residency
  • Intend to pursue a doctoral degree in biomedical and/or behavioral research