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 Schools of Medicine and Public Health.

How many students apply and are admitted to the STaRS program?

Last year we received over 200 applications to the STaRS program. We were able to admit 16 undergraduate students and 1 pre-health students for a total of 17 participants.

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 Boston University Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine, please check the EMSSP box on the application.

What are the dates that the program will run?

STaRS Undergraduate Scholar Program tentative dates: Monday, June 5, 2023 – Friday, August 11, 2023

I am not a member of a group traditionally underrepresented in biomedicine. Can I apply to the summer program?

Yes. We welcome applications from all undergraduate students interested in participating in the summer undergraduate research program; however, the number of applications we receive normally allows us to fill all scholarships with highly qualified students who are members of groups traditionally underrepresented in the biomedical sciences.

You can learn about the NIH groups traditionally underrepresented in biomedicine at:

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 scholarships only to US citizens and Permanent Residents. However, we recommend that you look at 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.

If I am a citizen from a foreign country studying in the USA with a visa can I apply for STaRS?

No. Only US citizens and US green card holders can apply.

How do I verify if my application is complete?

Once you have submitted your online application, you will see a screen that states: “Thank you for submitting your application to the Summer Training as Research Scholars (STaRS) Program, sponsored by the Graduate Medical Sciences at Boston University Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine”.

Your application will be considered complete once we have received the three letters of recommendation. Please, contact your recommenders to ensure that they have sent their letters per our instructions (see below).


Who should write a letter of recommendation for me?

Recommendation letters need to be submitted on or before Feb 1st to They should come from research preceptors, faculty members, job supervisors or other individuals who know you well and can evaluate your academic potential and/or have supervised your involvement in research and/or work. Recommendations should communicate information about your academic achievements, potential as a researcher, general character, and work ethic.

Please notify your letter writer to send their letter of recommendation with the following subject line: student first name_student last name_recommender first name_recommender last name

We will only consider applications where the 3 letters of recommendation are received on or before February 1st.

When will I find out if I have been accepted?

All final decisions are made typically around March 31, 2023.

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. Please, make sure that you select the options that apply to you in the application.

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 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 scholars’ accomplishments and professional development and will be attended by mentors, research teammates, faculty of GMS and campus schools, and families and friends of the scholars.

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, kitchenette and bathroom. We do not have housing for married students or any other couple arrangements.

Will I have a meal plan during the summer?

The STaRS program does not provide a meal plan to students. Participants have the option to purchase a university meal plan (note that the summer housing includes kitchenette 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