Students presenting at final dinner

The MSTAR Program provides medical students with an enriching experience in aging-related research and geriatrics, with the mentorship of top experts in the field. This program introduces students to research and academic experiences early in their training that they might not otherwise have during medical school. Positive experiences in the MSTAR program have led many physicians-in-training to pursue academic careers in aging, ranging from basic science to clinical research to health services research. They have joined the growing cadre of physicians and scientists whose specialized knowledge and skills are in great demand as our population ages.

Students participate in an eight- to twelve-week structured research, clinical, and didactic program in geriatrics, appropriate to their level of training and interests. Research projects are offered in basic, translational, clinical, or health services research relevant to older people.

Program Structure

Applicants will compete for approximately 10 scholarships at the UCLA training site, 6 scholarships at the UCSF site and 4 scholarships at the UW site supported by the National Institute on Aging.

Please note that applicants must have a home institution faculty sponsor to apply. Only UCSF MSTAR applicants are required to have a research mentor to apply. UCLA and UW MSTAR applicants will complete research mentor matching process once accepted into the program.

Sponsor Requirements Details (PDF)

The stipend level is approximately $2,000 per month; actual amounts will vary based on the specific appointment period of individual students. This stipend is intended for housing expenses and students who elect to participate in the program will not receive additional funds for travel or housing. The length of research time is determined by the student in consultation with the research mentor, but a minimum of 8 weeks of time is required and up to 12 weeks of funding may be available.

Application Procedures

UCLA and UW use a rolling deadline for applications. The UCLA and UW sites will begin filling positions starting the week of January 15th, and will accept applications until March 1st or all positions are filled, whichever comes first. The current application may be obtained by contacting us at [email protected]. Application procedures and deadlines for the UCSF and UW sites differ and students primarily interested in those sites must contact the respective program director before applying.


  1. UCLA MSTAR: March 1, 2024 (rolling admissions begin January 15th)
  2. UCSF MSTAR: February 16, 2024
  3. UW MSTAR: March 1, 2024 (rolling admissions begin January 15th)

Please carefully review the instructions. The application must be completed by the student applying for the scholarship. The application consists of background information and a personal statement, as well as supporting documents from the appropriate faculty mentors.

Application Guidelines

Scholars will be chosen based on their academic excellence, interest in geriatrics, and potential for success as academic physicians. The MSTAR program is unable to provide feedback on rejected applications.


Any allopathic or osteopathic medical student in good standing, who will have successfully completed one year of medical school at a U.S. institution before starting the program. Evidence of good standing must be provided by the medical school registrar or dean when the student is notified of receiving the award.

Applicants must be citizens or non-citizen nationals of the United States, or must have been lawfully admitted for permanent residence (i.e., in possession of a currently valid Alien Registration Receipt Card I-551, or some other legal verification of such status.) Individuals on temporary or student visas are not eligible. Due to NIA restrictions, individuals holding PhD, MD, DVM, or equivalent doctoral degrees in the health sciences are not eligible to apply to the MSTAR Program.

The NIA and other sponsoring organizations have a strong interest in continuing to diversify the research workforce committed to advancing the fields of aging and geriatrics research. Therefore, students who are members of ethnic or racial groups underrepresented in these fields, students with disabilities, or students whose background and experience are likely to diversify the research or medical questions being addressed, are encouraged to apply.

Applicants receiving a stipend or salary support from a federal source are not eligible for this program. Applicants may not hold another award or participate in another program concurrently with the MSTAR program, and must participate in the program full-time for a minimum of 8 weeks and a maximum of 12 weeks.