STARTneuro is a National Institute of Health (NIH) funded program that trains and mentors diverse transfer students as they enter neuroscience research. Our program begins with an 8-week summer research training program to ramp students up on key neuroscience techniques and facilitates lab placements with faculty mentors during the school year. STARTneuro also provides ongoing mentorship and workshops to prepare students to apply for Ph.D. programs.

STARTneuro offers students

  • An eight-week fully-funded summer research training program to teach you a wide range of fundamental techniques in neuroscience and introduce you to UC San Diego
  • Access to funded research experience in a lab during undergraduate study at UC San Diego for one year, with an option to continue into a second year.
  • Community and mentorship with neuroscience Ph.D. students and faculty at UC San Diego
  • Preparation and guidance for applying to Ph.D. programs
  • Participation in networking events and national neuroscience conferences

STARTneuro is ONLY OPEN to incoming 2024 UC San Diego transfer students who are interested in pursuing neuroscience research as a career path. There is no GPA requirement and you do not need prior research experience or neuroscience coursework to be eligible. Preference will be given to students who are matriculating into UC San Diego this Fall 2024 from a 2-year college.

STARTneuro is funded by the National Institutes of Health and shares its mission of diversifying the neuroscience workforce.We especially encourage applications from students who have been historically excluded from STEM research because of their ethnicity, race, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, or socioeconomic status.

Key Dates

  • Application and reference questionnaire are due on 6/5/2024
  • Final decisions will be communicated to applicants by 6/28/2024
  • Summer program runs from 7/15/2024 to 9/8/2024

Applicants will be asked to provide a reference questionnaire and respond to the short essay questions listed below. Click “Begin” to access the submission portal Please make sure to provide your reference’s name and email address as soon as possible. The system will automatically send a separate link to your reference with instructions on how to submit the questionnaire.

Extensions or exceptions to the application deadlines will not be granted under any circumstances. Applicants are encouraged to plan accordingly.

Check out our website to learn more about the program:

If you have any questions about the application or the program, please reach out to STARTneuro at

Funding for 8-week summer program plus research funding for one year, with an option to continue into a second year
Summer Research Program
Supplemental Questions
  1. Of all of your experiences related to science in the past, which one(s) did you find the most satisfying and why?
  2. When you think about doing neuroscience research, describe what you imagine would be most rewarding. For example, advancing our knowledge of the brain, helping patients, understanding neurological disorders, or advancing our knowledge of the brain.
  3. Describe a time when you had to create something from scratch — what was surprisingly difficult? How did you address any unforeseen obstacles?
  4. Our program is funded by NIH ENDURE, which is invested in increasing diversity in neuroscience careers and PhD paths. Obtaining a PhD after your college degree would empower you to conduct exciting neuroscience research and open doors to other careers (see this video for more information). How interested are you in this path?
  5. If you selected "Other" for the previous question, please specify here:
  6. OPTIONAL: We are committed to serving a diversity of students. Our commitment is, in line with the National Institutes of Health’s Interest In Diversity. This includes individuals from underserved racial and ethnic groups, individuals with disabilities, individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds, and women from any of the aforementioned categories. Please visit the National Institutes of Health guidelines for more information.Please address your membership to any of the communities above and anything else that you have not shared thus far that would make you a valued member of our diverse STARTneuro community.
  7. Reference Questionnaire
  8. Where did you hear about the STARTneuro program/application?
  9. If you selected "Other" for the previous question, please specify here:
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