1. Do I need to apply for both Categorical and STAR-PSTP? 

Yes. Applicants are requested to apply to both as they have different NRMP numbers and applications. 

2. Do I need to have a PhD to apply?

No. Applicants may demonstrate prior evidence of commitment to a research career a number of ways. A PhD is one way. Others include prior extensive research, or prior master’s level degree. Applicants who remain at UCLA for subspecialty training may pursue formal PhD training in the STAR program.

3. How many applicants does the UCLA STAR-PSTP interview?

We receive approximately 150-200 applications, and interview about 30-40 applicants. Responses provided in the supplemental application for the program weigh heavily on invitations to interview.

4. How early can I submit the supplemental application?

The one page supplemental application and required documents may be submitted here once residency programs begin to take ERAS applications.

5. When is the supplemental application due?

Supplemental application is due Monday, November 4, 2024.

6. How will I be notified of an invitation to interview?

UCLA STAR-PSTP interviews are held in conjunction with the categorical interviews. PSTP applicants have clinical interviews in the morning, and research/PSTP interviews in the afternoon.

7. What advantages does the STAR-PSTP offer? 

Mentorship: STAR-PSTP residents receive multilevel mentorship from a research mentor, a faculty advisor, and a STAR fellow mentor.
Education: STAR-PSTP residents may attend as many of the STAR seminars as they wish, and they are expected to attend at least four seminars. These seminars include journal clubs, research presentations, visiting faculty lectures, and the Annual STAR Symposium. STAR-PSTP residents may also present a poster of current or prior research at the STAR Symposium.
Laboratory/research rotations: STAR-PSTP residents may use part or all of their 8- to 10-week elective time participate in research with a mentor.
Career development fund: STAR-PSTP residents receive additional funds for educational enrichment and travel to regional/national meetings. Funds may be used to purchase items needed for research.
Networking: Pathway participants will have the opportunity to interact with physician-investigator faculty and STAR Fellows at a number of STAR events throughout the year.

8. Are rotations different in the STAR-PSTP?

The schedule of rotations for PSTP residents is essentially the same as for other residents. The research activity is incorporated into elective time throughout the year, as chosen by the resident and permitted by the schedule. STAR-PSTP residents may request tailoring of required (non-elective) rotations in advance of the academic year through discussion with the chief resident or mentor.

9. Is acceptance into fellowship or into the STAR program guaranteed for participants in STAR-PSTP?

Yes. The goal of STAR-PSTP is to groom residents to be outstanding applicants for any fellowship training program, including UCLA fellowships and the STAR Program.

10. Is the ABIM Research Pathway (“short” track) incorporated into the STAR-PSTP?

Residents in the STAR-PSTP have the option to “short”-track if they so choose. Program leadership should be notified as soon as possible of this decision (including at the application stage), to enable us to design a rotation schedule that meets the requirements for the ABIM Research Pathway.

11. How do STAR-PSTP residents find a mentor?

Applicants may submit a list of potential mentors across UCLA and the participating institutions but program leadership works with each resident to identify optimal mentors for long-term mentor-mentee relationships.
Each participant will be provided a mentor with a similar interest, but participants may also request a change in mentor. STAR-PSTP residents may request a research mentor in almost any division or school (Medicine or Life Sciences, Public Health, Public Policy, Management, or Engineering), as well as from outside institutions, including the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and the Pardee-RAND Graduate School (RAND Corporation). A variety of resources are available to assist the awardee in finding a research mentor, including the UCLA BioScience website.

12. Whom do I contact with additional questions?

Additional information may be obtained from the STAR-PSTP Student Affairs Officer, Nadia Barreda (STAR-PSTP@mednet.ucla.edu).