Welcome to the MSTAR program at UCSF! We are a satellite program of the UCLA MSTAR training site, meaning that we enact our own research and clinical activities for students based in San Francisco, but coordinate the applications process and “big-picture” national activities with program leaders at UCLA. Students who are interested in applying to the UCSF site must complete the "UCSF Applicant Survey" in addition to the MSTAR application.

The Application Process

If you have not already done so, please review the following information:

The deadline for applications is January 27, 2017; however, early applications are appreciated. NTC Applications should be submitted to UCLA ( only. Please carefully review the application materials as they have changed for 2017.

The MSTAR program at UCSF is a mentored research experience and is open to students with an interest in aging research. In addition to the NTC application submitted to UCLA, students who are interested in applying to the UCSF site must complete the application.

It is important to note that different MSTAR sites deal with the application process differently. For example, other sites often match students to mentors after they are accepted into the program. Due to the popularity and competitiveness of the UCSF program, it is highly encouraged that students seek out and start a relationship with a mentor ahead of time. It is also possible for students who have an established research mentor at UCSF to join the program if their mentor is doing aging research.

The best next steps would be to review the potential mentor list to find a research mentor who is doing work in an area of interest (see 2017 MSTAR Instructions and Mentor List). We recommend contacting the potential mentor directly to see if they have any potential projects for the summer. If you have a mentor in mind, please add it to the UCSF applicant survey in addition to the MSTAR application.

In your NTC application, we recommend that you discuss your interest and dedication to aging research and/or clinical care. If you have a project in mind, it would also be important to write about your mentor and potential project (one paragraph or so is fine and it is OK if all the particulars are not yet decided). You and a mentor can finalize the specifics of your project as the summer nears.

The MSTAR Program at UCSF

In addition to the mentored research experience, two other core elements run throughout the summer. First, we arrange a variety of clinical experiences in geriatrics and related fields for students. These vary from week to week, but typically occur on 1 to 2 half-days a week. Second, we offer a didactic program with small-group teaching and “meet-the-professor” sessions related to research and clinical care of older adults. These sessions occur on Tuesday mornings. In addition, students are required to attend the Division of Geriatrics Research Works-In-Progress conference, which occurs Wednesday mornings from 8:15 – 9:30 AM.

In the latter part of the summer, all MSTAR students at UCSF fly to UCLA to present their research in a symposium with MSTAR students based in LA and Seattle (expenses are paid). In addition, we strongly encourage all MSTAR students to submit their research to the annual meeting of the American Geriatrics Society, which occurs in May of each year (for example, if a student is with us the summer of 2017, they would go to the AGS meeting in May 2018). There is a special student symposium at the meeting, and it’s a great opportunity to present your research, meet other students from around the country, and get a flavor for the wider community of geriatrics and aging research.

Logistical Considerations

  • The MSTAR program is a MINIMUM of 8 weeks and a maximum of 12 weeks.
  • Allow for maximum productivity over the summer, we ask that students complete web-based research compliance trainings before starting their MSTAR experience (these trainings are required for all people at UCSF who do research). This typically involves a few hours of completing a handful of web-based courses.
  • The NIH NRSA Pre-doctoral stipend level is $1,948/month. The stipend check is scheduled to arrive late June/early July, so please be sure to plan your finances accordingly (i.e. if you start June 1st, don’t expect a check the first week you are here).

For your convenience, we have created an UCSF Applicant Checklist. Note this is for applicants to the UCSF site. Other sites may have additional requirements. If needed, you may also contact Sean Lang-Brown, the UCSF program administrator, at Thank you for your interest in MSTAR!