Frequently Asked Questions

How are applicants selected for the program?
Admission to the STaRS program is based on the applicant’s academic record, recommendations, personal statement,  and academic and professional  goals especially as they relate to future careers in biomedical research.   All applications are reviewed by   program staff; top applications are then forwarded on for review by faculty and potential mentors within the Division of Graduate Medical Sciences.

How many students apply and are admitted to the STaRS program?
Last year we received over 300 applications to the STaRS program. We were able to admit 10 undergraduate students and 5 pre-health students for a total of 15 participants.

How do I submit my application materials?
The application, personal statement, recommendations, unofficial transcript and current resume must be submitted using our online application process. Application instructions are listed on the application page.

I am a BU Student. Can I apply to the summer program?
Yes.  If you are a BU student you can apply to the  program. If you are participating in the Early Medical School Selection Program (EMSSP) at BU School of Medicine, please check the EMSSP box on the application.

I am not a member of an underrepresented minority or disadvantaged group. Can I apply to the summer program?
Yes.  We welcome applications from all eligible undergraduate students interested in participating in the summer undergraduate research program; however, the number of applications we receive normally allows us to fill all internships with highly qualified students who are members of groups traditionally underrepresented in the biomedical sciences.

I am not a US citizen or Permanent Resident (green card holder) of the US. Can I apply?
No.  Unfortunately our funding allows us to offer fellowships only to US citizens and Permanent Residents. However, we recommend that you link to the summer opportunities section of Boston University’s Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) to find out  about other programs which may not have this funding restriction.

How do I verify if my application is complete?
You will be notified by email once you have successfully submitted your application. A completed application consists of a successfully submitted application and all supplementary materials, including an unofficial transcript and the names of 2 references, who will be contacted during final rounds of consideration.

Who should write a letter of recommendation for me?
Recommendations letters are submitted by Feb 1st to They should come from faculty members or other individuals who know you well and can evaluate your academic potential and/or have supervised your involvement in research. Recommendations should communicate information about your academic achievements, potential as a researcher, general character and work ethic.

We do not send automated emails to your recommenders. We ask you to coordinate with your recommenders directly.

The email subject for letters of recommendation should use the following format: LOR for STaRS Applicant – Student Name

When will I find out if I have been accepted?
All final  decisions will be made by March 31, 2019.

What if my undergraduate institution operates on the quarter system?

If you have academic requirements to complete that require you to start the program after the June start date, we will consider alternate arrangements on a case by case basis.

How do I know who my faculty mentor will be?
We do our best to match you with a faculty mentor whose research interests are similar to yours. If admitted, you will be notified of your faculty mentor in the weeks prior to the start of the program. We make every effort to arrange the best possible placement.

Does the STaRS Program offer clinical shadowing opportunities with physicians?

No. The primary focus of the STaRS program is research and skill enhancement for successful entrance and completion of a PhD program or an MD/PhD program in the biomedical sciences.

What is the summer research symposium?
Students will have the opportunity to present their research at a symposium hosted by the Division of Graduate Medical Sciences (GMS) during the last week of the summer program. The symposium showcases your accomplishments and professional development and will be attended by faculty of GMS and the medical school who also serve as mentors for students within the program.

What type of housing do you offer?
Participants are provided with Boston University housing in an apartment-style double room for the duration of the program. These apartments house two students, include a living (common) room, kitchen and bathroom. We do not have housing for married students or any other couple arrangements.

Will I have a meal plan during the summer?
Unfortunately, the STaRS program does not provide a meal plan to students. Participants have the option to purchase a university meal plan, but should note that the summer housing includes kitchen facilities. All rates for meal plans will be included in the housing contract that students sign prior to entering the program.

Should I bring a car?
We do not recommend a car. Boston is a “walkable” city and has an excellent public transportation system.

Do you have information about other similar programs at BU and/or other institutions?
Please visit the summer opportunities page at the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) site for more information about similar programs.

Who do I contact if I have other questions?
We welcome any additional questions that you might have regarding the STaRS program. Please email us at