About the UM STAR Program

The University of Maryland School of Public Health Summer Training and Research (STAR) program is designed to provide traditionally under-represented undergraduate students with 2 consecutive summers of a 10-week research training and career development program to enhance their potential to apply for and complete graduate degrees in biomedical and behavioral science relevant to preventing and treating cardiovascular disease. 

Faculty Mentoring

Monday Research Updates

Wednesday Lunch with Visiting Guests

Friday Journal Club

Friday Research Ethics Training (First Years)

Career Development Training

This component is designed for second-year trainees to significantly advance their career development and to prepare them for the next steps in their careers.  As such, this component primarily focuses on issues related to graduate school, such as mentoring, development of a Curriculum Vita, preparing for graduate school, GRE preparation, graduate school admission process, selecting a graduate school and advisor, and research and academic careers. In addition specific sessions in this component of the program are for an open forum with the School of Public Health Dean, Department Chairs, and the Associate Graduate School Dean. One session will also be dedicated to Mock Graduate School Interviews.

Poster and Oral Presentations

Additional Professional Development Activities

Application Information

The goal of the UM STAR program is that all trainees will be supported for two consecutive summers in the program. We very strongly believe that 2 consecutive summers in the UM STAR program will significantly enhance the trainee’s experience and maximize their potential for successfully completing an advanced graduate degree in a biomedical or behavioral discipline related to the treatment and prevention of cardiovascular or related diseases.
Eligibility criteria:

  • Citizen or permanent resident of the US;
  • Enrolled full-time at a 4-year college or university;
  • Currently a sophomores or junior
  • Have not already completed a Bachelor’s degree;
  • 3.0 or better cumulative grade point average;
  • Come from under-represented minority groups, disadvantaged backgrounds, and/or have a disability
    • Under-represented minority: African American or black, Hispanic/Latino, Native American or Pacific Islander
    • Disadvantaged background: Family with annual income below established low-income thresholds. Must qualify for Federal disadvantage assistance or have received Loans for Disadvantaged Student Program, or received scholarships from the US DHHS under the Scholarship for Individuals with Exceptional Financial Need
    • Disability: Physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities
  • Desire to pursue a PhD in biomedical or behavioral sciences;
  • Willing to commit to the program for 2 consecutive summers.

To apply to the UM STAR program the candidate must submit:

  • a letter of application
    • must address:
      • why they selected the UM STAR program
      • their long-term career goals, especially with regard to graduate school and pursuing a PhD degree
      • which three STAR program faculty mentors they have selected and why
  • official undergraduate transcript
  • letters of reference from two university faculty members who are familiar with the applicant with one of these letters from a faculty member who has had the applicant in a behavioral, life, or biological sciences class.

Each candidate’s application materials will be reviewed by the UM STAR Admissions Committee based on the following criteria:

  • the candidate’s desire to pursue a PhD degree
  • the candidate’s letter of application
  • undergraduate GPA, especially in science-based courses
  • letters of reference
  • a rising sophomore or a junior
  • the diversity they add to the applicant pool
  • the mentors they have selected

​Click here to download the application form and apply.

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Yearly Schedule for UM STAR Program

Time Activity

March 1

Deadline for submitting completed applications for UM STAR program


UM STAR Admissions Committee meets twice to develop final ranked list of applicants, identify mentors, match applicants with mentors

April 1

Letters of admission sent to top applicants

May 1

UM STAR applicant signed acceptance letters must be received


Initial contacts between mentors and trainees to develop trainee’s summer research project