Specialty Training and Advanced Research (STAR) Program

The UCLA School of Medicine offers a tailored career development pathway combining research, clinical training, and formal coursework leading to one of the following degrees:

Basic/Translational Science: This pathway leads to a PhD degree. STAR fellows can elect to pursue their graduate studies in the various basic science departments within the School of Medicine, the School of Engineering, the College of Letters and Sciences, or within the California Institute of Technology.

Health Services/Outcomes: This pathway leads to a PhD degree from the School of Public Health or the Pardee Rand Graduate School.

Post-Doctoral Research Training: A 2-3 year post-doctoral program is offered for those who entered STAR with MD/PhD degrees.

These competitive programs are designed for highly qualified applicants committed to careers in academic medicine. Interested applicants are encouraged to apply for the STAR program at the time of applying for the pulmonary fellowship program.

Under the guidance of a faculty mentor, the STAR fellows may take graduate level classes to prepare for thesis research. Coursework is generally taken starting the fall quarter of the 2nd  year of fellowship, in conjunction with research as time permits. The scheduling of clinical and research activities is individualized and flexible within the guidelines of certification requirements. However, it is understood that depending on the degree program selected, STAR enrollees from the UCLA Pulmonary and Critical Care Fellowship Program are expected to add anywhere from 1-4 additional years to their research training. Fellows will graduate from the PCCM fellowship when they are within 1 year of graduation from the STAR program. For some fellows, this will result in an extra 1-2 years of fellowship training, with the extended time dedicated largely to research with minimal clinical obligations. For other STAR fellows whose research progresses quickly, they will graduate within 3 years.

Supervised thesis and postdoctoral research opportunities are available within the School of Medicine Basic and Clinical Science Departments, the Molecular and Cellular Life Sciences Program, and Health Services Research Programs at UCLA and the Rand Corporation. Special compensation is available to STAR fellows including support for doctoral tuition, payment of interest on medical school loans, and stipends to attend scientific conferences. The UCLA STAR Program actively seeks minority candidates and has an impressive track record with 80% of STAR graduates continuing in research positions, either in academia or industry.

For more information, please visit this page: https://medschool.ucla.edu/star