Visiting Graduate Researcher Definition/Eligibility

A Visiting Graduate Researcher (VGR) is an individual, domestic or international, who is: (1) enrolled as degree-seeking graduate student at a non-University of California institution and maintaining satisfactory advancement towards the completion of his or her academic degree, and (2) invited to conduct short-term doctoral research or participate in a “prescribed course of study” such as a mentored or independent research project or master’s research collaborations with a faculty member at UCLA.

All Visiting Graduate Researchers must be sponsored by UCLA faculty who are members of the Academic Senate (i.e., eligible to mentor doctoral students).

The purpose of the VGR’s visit must be at least one of the following:

  1. Prescribed course of study: a non-degree academic visit with a specific educational objective related to the scholar’s field of study, not including enrollment in UCLA courses or receipt of a
    UCLA transcript. Allowable activities include mentored or independent research projects, master’s or doctoral research collaborations, and classroom instruction (University Extension only).
  2. Academic training: work, training or experience related directly to a student’s field of study. Such training may include – but is not limited to – internships, practice, and field work.
    Appropriate activities vary by discipline. May involve sequential or simultaneous activities, either paid or unpaid.
  3. Doctoral dissertation research: individual must be advanced to candidacy or the equivalent at the home institution.

Please note: UC graduate students visiting UCLA for research or courses complete the intercampus exchange process rather than hold a VGR appointment.

VGR vs. No Degree Objective Status

See the VGR Program comparison with No Degree Objective (NDO) graduate student status table for similarities and differences between each.

Appointment Duration

VGRs may conduct research at UCLA for a minimum of three weeks to a maximum of two years. The initial appointment period is for up to one year. Reappointment for up to one additional year is contingent upon approval by the faculty mentor and the availability of appropriate resources.

Visa Requirements

International VGRs must work with the host department to apply for a J-1 visa following the Graduate Division’s provisional approval of the application. Applicants with B and J-2 visas are not eligible for VGR status. The Dashew Center for International Students and Scholars (DCISS) has information on J-1 visa requirements. Refer to the UCLA School of Medicine Visa and Licensing Office for DGSOM VGRs.

Financial Certification for Campus Fees and Living Expenses

International visitors must present evidence of financial support that covers the minimum financial amount for program fees and living expenses for the duration of their program activity. Funds can be personal or from a sponsoring institution.