Adjust text size

Undergraduate Summer Programs

Ugrad Summer Programs

‌H‌ealth Education Research Opportunities (HERO)

The Health Educational Research Opportunities (HERO) program, sponsored by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, provides 10-week summer research experiences for undergraduate students and first-year medical or dental students. The goal of HERO is to increase the number of underrepresented health professionals and researchers nationwide, with the hope of promoting better health outcomes for individuals from groups that are typically underrepresented in the biomedical sciences.

Students have the opportunity to work with VCU faculty on research projects that focus on diseases of the heart, blood vessels, lung and blood, blood resources, and sleep disorders. Students from racial and ethnic minorities, disadvantaged backgrounds, or with disabilities are encouraged to apply.

Eligible applicants must be current students that have taken at least two semesters of college courses before beginning the program. First-year graduate students are also eligible to apply. At least one lab science class is highly encouraged. Students must be U.S. citizens, permanent residents or a non-citizen nationals. Proof of citizenship status or resident status will be required before the start of the program. We welcome applications from students at other institutions, as long as you meet the other eligibility requirements. 

Application process
Students should apply using the online application, and provide a personal statement indicating career goals and aspirations, three letters of recommendation from faculty members, and an official transcript. Applications open on November 15 and close on March 15.
For more information, please contact


** The HERO program is currently not being offered. For more information about our other Research Training Programs visit our current programs located under the "Research Training Programs" tab or contact us at **


Maximizing Access to Research Careers

The VCU Maximizing Access to Research Careers (MARC) ) provides research training in the biomedical sciences for individuals from groups traditionally underrepresented in biomedical research.  Specifically, the program targets academically talented VCU juniors and seniors who are interested in biomedical research careers. The MARC program provides a stipend of approximately $11,000 per year and support for about 60 percent of undergraduate tuition. In addition to placements in research laboratories at VCU during the academic year, MARC Scholars are eligible for summer externships at other research-intensive institutions.  

MARC Scholars are admitted to the program during the fall of their junior year. At that time, they are matched with research mentors and begin their research projects. MARC trainees are encouraged to enroll in LFSC 301 (Integrative Life Science Research, or equivalent), BIOL 495 (Research and Thesis, or equivalent), and a non-credit research colloquium. MARC Scholars are expected to spend 15 to 20 hours a week in their research laboratories (actual time varies depending on mentor and project) and to continue their research throughout their junior and senior years. During the summer between the junior and senior years, MARC Scholars have the option of continuing in their VCU research laboratories or participating in a research externship at another institution. In addition, they have the opportunity to take a GRE-preparation course as well as receive assistance with preparation of graduate school applications. 


Eligible applicants must be VCU juniors or seniors that have four semesters left and must be U.S. citizens, permanent residents or non-citizen nationals. Proof of citizenship status or resident status will be required before the start of the program. Potential applicants are strongly encouraged to participate in research colloquia and summer research experiences before they apply. 

Application process 

Students should apply using the online application, which includes a personal statement and requires two letters of recommendation from faculty members, and submit official transcripts from all universities previously attended and unofficial transcripts from VCU. 

For more information, please contact

*** Please note, we are not accepting applications for the VCU MARC program at this time. For questions please contact the VCU Center on Health Disparities at ***