Summer Programs for Undergraduate Research (SPUR)

Program Purpose

The UCLA Summer Programs for Undergraduate Research (SPUR) offer upper division undergraduate students with outstanding academic potential the opportunity to work closely with faculty mentors on research projects. The programs are designed for students who wish to learn more about the graduate school experience and possibly pursue an academic career in teaching and research. Opportunities are available in virtually all academic fields (e.g., arts, humanities, social sciences, life sciences, health sciences, physical sciences, etc.).

Each student participant will be working with a faculty mentor with special expertise and interests matched, as closely as possible, to the student’s research interests and career goals. Students will either assist the faculty member in an ongoing research project or work collaboratively with the mentor in designing a new project of mutual interest.

The program features seminars on:

  • writing and research skills
  • strategies for enhancing success in applying to graduate school
  • graduate school funding opportunities
  • opportunities for informal discussion with UCLA graduate students
  • academic career opportunities
  • GRE test preparation
  • cultural and educational activities

For further details about specific programs, please refer to the UCLA Summer Programs for Undergraduate and Graduate Research Booklet.

As a condition of acceptance into the program, program participants will be asked after their departure to update information on their educational and career activities. This tracking is done solely to evaluate the effectiveness of the program. It is critical that we be able to conduct this long-term evaluation in order to maintain continuing funding for the programs. The information collected remains strictly confidential.

2016 Program Dates

Most programs run eight weeks, from June 2016 to August 2016. Some programs in the sciences, technological, engineering and mathematics fields run 10 weeks, from June 2016 to August 2016.

The tentative dates for SPUR 2016 are June 19 to August 13 (8-week programs) and June 19 to August 26 (10-week programs).

Deadline

All application materials and supporting documents must be received by March 31, 2016 unless otherwise stated in the program description. Preference will be given to applications that are completed by the program’s deadline. Notification of decisions will be made by the end of May 2016.

Participating Programs

There are multiple programs participating with UCLA SPUR. Below are brief summaries of each program. The summaries include the specific program components, eligibility requirements and length of the summer program. Please view the chart of participating summer programs at UCLA for a quick reference of programs and their related academic fields.

Please click on the links to learn about each program. You will be able to apply to a maximum of two (first choice and second choice) in our online application.

Amgen Scholars Program

Application Deadline: Monday, February 1, 2016

The Amgen Scholars Program is a national program to increase learning and networking opportunities for students committed to pursuing a career in science or engineering. UCLA will host 20 Amgen Scholars. Five (5) will be undergraduates from UCLA and 15 will be from other 4-year colleges and universities. Students interested in summer research in any area of biomedical science, chemistry, bioengineering or chemical engineering are encouraged to apply. Students will be paired with a UCLA faculty mentor if the student does not already have one. Program includes: stipend; housing; meals; 3-day biotechnology conference in Los Angeles; GRE test preparation; luncheons with faculty; workshops; seminars and poster presentations.

  • For undergraduates enrolled in four-year colleges and universities in the U.S., Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories.
  • For sophomores (with 4 quarters or 3 semesters of college experience), juniors and non-graduating seniors (who are returning in the fall to continue their undergraduate experience).
  • Must have a cumulative G.P.A. of 3.2 or above.
  • Must be interested in pursuing a Ph.D. or M.D./Ph.D.
  • 10 weeks (all participants must be able to attend the program for its entire duration. Be sure to check your fall term start date before applying).
  • To learn more about how to apply to this program, please contact Andrea Davila at AmgenSch@lifesci.ucla.edu.

B.I.G. Summer (Bruins In Genomics) 8-week Summer Research Program for Masters and Undergraduate students

Application Deadline:

Bruins-In-Genomics: UC-HBCU Initiative – November 12, 2015
Bruins-In-Genomics: February 1, 2016

BIG Summer is an intensive, practical experience in Genomics and Systems Biology.

The program begins with two weeks of hands-on workshops that cover fundamental next generation sequencing analysis techniques, some specific applications of gene variant calling, RNAseq expression analysis, mRNA splicing, and ChIPseq transcription factor location analysis. Following the workshops, students will join a lab and work in pairs under the supervision of UCLA faculty mentors and QCB postdoctoral fellows. Program includes GRE test prep, SPUR workshops on such topics as How to Write a Research Paper in the Sciences, Considering the MD/PhD, and How to Write an Abstract & Make a Poster, and the opportunity to present summer research findings.

  • 8 week program
  • Preferred Requirements: At least one biology and one computer science course.
  • Minimum Requirements: Knowledge of one programming language.
  • All interested UCLA and non-UCLA masters and undergraduate students are encouraged to apply. Undergraduate students who have research mentors may also apply.
  • Students entering their junior and senior year will have priority.
  • Applicants must submit an online application, and submit personal statement, unofficial transcript, and resume/CV. STEM faculty letter references will be requested.

UCLA QCB is committed to attracting exceptional students who will contribute to the University’s diversity.  We especially encourage applicants from groups that are underrepresented in STEM.

For more information and to apply, please visit program website

Brain Research Institute Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (BRI-SURE)

Application Deadline: Tuesday, March 1, 2016

The UCLA Brain Research Institute (BRI) sponsors a summer undergraduate research experience (BRI-SURE) pathway program for students currently participating in the Minority Access to Research Careers (MARC) and other honors research programs whose goal is to increase diversity. This program solicits applications from students from universities and colleges across the nation. BRI-SURE Pathway is an 8-10 week, intensive summer research-training program for exceptional students interested in pursuing research careers in Neuroscience or Physiology. The program is designed to provide a rigorous, in-depth research experience to prepare participants for top-quality Ph.D. and M.D./Ph.D. graduate programs. The BRI-SURE residential program offers a summer stipend. The BRI-SURE non-residential program does not offer a summer stipend.

  • Applicants must be in good academic standing with a minimum GPA of 3.0;
  • Applicants must submit the following: 1) UCLA SPUR Online application form, 2) Academic transcript, 3) Personal statement (limit to 1000 words) that describes your past, present or future leadership in and commitment to research and diversity in science, 4) Summary of prior research, if any (limit to 1000 words), 5) Two letters of recommendation from science faculty, and 6) Paragraph (500 words or less) summarizing your interest in neuroscience or physiology;
  • In a separate file, applicants need to rank in order of preference, the top three research training areas: Neuroendocrinology, Sex Differences, and Reproduction; Neural Repair; Neural Microcircuits; Neurobehavioral Genetics; Molecular and Cellular Neurobiology; or Molecular, Cellular and Integrative Physiology;
  • Submit additional application materials directly to BRISURE@mednet.ucla.edu
  • To learn more about how to apply to this program, please contact Dr. Dwayne D. Simmons (Program Director) or Mr. Alfredo Morales (program Representative) at BRISURE@mednet.ucla.edu

California State University (CSU) Sally Casanova Pre-Doctoral Scholars Program

Application Deadline: Contact the program representative for your campus’ CSU Sally Casanova Pre-Doctoral Scholars Program

This program is restricted to undergraduate and master’s-level students in the California State University Sally Casanova Pre-Doctoral Program. The Program is designed to increase the pool of potential university faculty by supporting the doctoral aspirations of CSU students who have experienced economic and educational disadvantages. Each of the selected CSU Sally Casanova pre-doctoral scholars works closely during the academic year with a CSU faculty sponsor to develop an overall plan leading ultimately to enrollment in a doctoral program. Each of these plans is tailored to specific goals and educational objectives of the student. The Program places special emphasis on increasing the number of CSU students who enter doctoral programs at one of the University of California institutions. Summer Program includes: stipend, on-campus housing or housing allowance, meal allowance, funds toward roundtrip transportation cost, GRE test preparation, workshops and oral presentations.

  • Open to all current CSU Sally Casanova Pre-Doctoral Scholars, both graduate and undergraduate.
  • 8 week program.
  • CSU Scholars complete only the UCLA SPUR on-line application after they have approval from the UCLA SPUR Coordinator; do not submit supplemental materials.
  • To become a CSU Sally Casanova Pre-Doctoral Scholar, please contact the program representative on your CSU campus.

CARE Science, Engineering and Math (SEM) Summer Research Program

Application Deadline: Tuesday, March 15, 2016

The Center for Academic & Research Excellence (CARE) SEM Summer Research Program offer hands-on research experience working in the laboratory of a distinguished UCLA faculty member. Student’s must identify a faculty mentor who is willing to write a letter of recommendation for their application to the program. Program includes: stipend, housing or housing allowance, GRE test preparation, workshops, seminars and poster presentations.

  • For UCLA students only who are interested in pursuing research careers in the life sciences, health sciences, physical sciences or engineering.
  • Students entering junior or senior year with a GPA > 3.0.
  • Must be U.S. citizen or permanent resident. (AB540 or DACA students who meet all other eligibility requirements are welcomed to apply. Eligible applicants will be admitted on an honorary basis. The stipend amount is contingent on availability of funds.)
  • A goal of the CARE SEM Summer Research Program is to increase the number of students from underrepresented groups in biomedical and behavioral research who progress towards the attainment of a Ph.D. degree. African American, Hispanic American, American Indian and Pacific Islander students are encouraged to apply.
  • 10 weeks.
  • To learn more about how to apply to this program, please contact Andrea Davila at carefs@lifesci.ucla.edu.

The Diversity Project

Application deadline: Sunday, November 15, 2015 for partnering HBCUs
Friday, January 1, 2016 for other universities

The summer of 2005 marked the beginning of a new research opportunity for undergraduate students. Founded by Dr. Paul Barber, the Diversity Project is a 10-week research intensive educational program is designed to increase participation of underrepresented minority students in marine and evolutionary biology through an integrated research experience that combines field work on the colorful and diverse coral reefs of the Indo-Pacific with cutting edge molecular genetic research. This program is supported by funding from the UC-HBCU initiative and the National Science Foundation. Students will work with faculty and students from UCLA, San Diego State University, Moss Landing Marine Lab, and the Smithsonian Institution. Through field work and laboratory training, students will learn an integrative approach towards the study of the ecology and biodiversity of coral reef ecosystems.  Fieldwork and laboratory research will be complemented by mentoring on career development, ranging from successfully applying to graduate school to choosing a career. The Diversity Project will run through summer of 2017 funded by the UC-HBCU Initiative and an NSF PIRE grants.
Requirements:

  • Current sophomore or junior standing, or non-graduating seniors
  • 3.0 GPA
  • Great attitude and willingness to learn SCUBA diving
  • To learn more information see program website or contact Program Director, Dr. Paul Barber paulbarber@ucla.edu

Medical Imaging Informatics: Research in Informatics Summer Experience (MII-RISE)

Application Deadline: Friday, November 13, 2015

The UCLA Medical Imaging Informatics (MII) training program provides a summer research and graduate admission pathways program with the goal of increasing diversity among graduate students who enroll in science, engineering, and informatics programs with an emphasis on biomedical big data. The Research in Informatics Summer Experience (RISE) is an 8-week residential research-training program that offers practical experience working on challenges related to clinical big data analytics in an academic research environment and engages participants to pursue a career or advanced degree in informatics as either a practitioner or researcher who would contribute to the development, implementation, and deployment of such technologies in practice. For students enrolled at Florida A&M University, the program provides a stipend and travel allowance in addition to covering room/board and program fees. Other students are welcome to apply. Please contact the MII RISE program prior to assess eligibility.

  • Applicants must be in good academic standing with a minimum GPA of 3.0. Preference will be given to students entering their junior or senior year.
  • Applicants must submit the following: 1) The UCLA SPUR Online application form, 2) An unofficial copy of the applicant’s transcript, 3) A personal statement (limit to 1,000 words) that describes the applicant’s past, present, or future experiences or goals that demonstrate a commitment to research and diversity in health sciences or engineering, and 4) One letter of reference from a faculty member in the sciences.
  • Submit additional application materials directly to RISE@mii.ucla.edu.
  • The program funds students enrolled at Florida A&M University only, providing a stipend and travel allowance in addition to room/board and program fees, however students from all institutions are welcome to apply.
  • To learn more about how to apply to this program, please contact Dr. William Hsu or Ms. Isabel Rippy at RISE@mii.ucla.edu.

Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Writing and Research Training Program

The Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Writing and Research Training Program at UCLA is an intensive writing and research program for 20 current Mellon Mays Fellows from participating Mellon Mays colleges and universities. The program is especially geared toward Mellon Mays Fellows from institutions in the western United States. Fellows participate in a rigorous scholarly writing and research methodology course, individual and group mentoring sessions, workshops, events, and a final research colloquium. The program also includes on-campus housing and a meal allowance.

  • Applicants must be current Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellows at their colleges or universities
  • For rising juniors (first-year MMUF students) or seniors (second-year MMUF students)
  • 6 weeks
  • Admission to the program is rolling; applicants are advised to apply early due to limited space
  • To learn more about how to apply this program, please contact Dr. Whitney Arnold at warnold@college.ucla.edu.

Summer Nursing Program: School of Nursing

Application Deadline: March 31, 2016

Preference will be given to applications that are completed by the program’s deadline. Notification of decisions will be made by the end of May 2016.

This program offers nursing undergraduates in their junior year with outstanding academic potential the opportunity to work on research projects with School of Nursing faculty mentors. It is designed for students who plan to pursue the PhD degree and enter academic careers in nursing. Program includes stipend, on-campus housing, meal allowance, funds toward roundtrip transportation cost, GRE test preparation, formal and informal discussion on career options and other activities. Each student participant will be assigned to a faculty mentor matched as closely as possible to the student’s research interests and career goals. Participants will either assist the faculty member in an ongoing research project or, with approval of faculty, work collaboratively with the mentor in designing a new project of mutual interest.

  • Research areas: Biobehavioral Sciences, Biologic Sciences, Health Disparities/Vulnerable Populations and Health Services Research.
  • U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
  • For qualified nursing students currently holding undergraduate junior status.
  • Preference given to first-generation college students.
  • Cumulative, minimum GPA of 2.80.
  • 8 weeks.

Summer Programs for Undergraduate Research: Life and Biomedical Sciences (SPUR-LABS)

Application Deadline: Monday, February 1, 2016

The SPUR-LABS summer program provides a rigorous eight or ten week research training experience for undergraduates with interests in a broad range of bioscience disciplines– —from molecules to organisms and from basic to translational science. Exceptional research training, integrated with professional development activities, will prepare students to succeed in leading Ph.D. and M.D./Ph.D. programs. The program aims to contribute to diversity, inclusion, and the elimination of barriers to participation in bioscience research careers and is designed for students participating in honors research programs that foster transition to doctoral programs (e.g., Minority Access to Research Careers, MARC). Participants receive a $3,500 summer stipend, lodging on the UCLA campus, and travel support.

Participants will be matched with an appropriate faculty member based on research interests. There are over 400 faculty mentors in ten bioscience research areas.

A complete application includes the submission of the online application form as well as all supplementary materials, including two letters of recommendation and a personal statement that describes your bioscience research interests and any research experience, including how these interests and experiences have shaped your personal and professional goals, and how SPUR-LABS would help you meet these goals. See program website for full details of supplementary application materials.

Selection criteria: academic preparation and achievement; leadership potential; relevance of research interests and experience; potential for the program to help the applicant achieve his/her career goals; and potential to contribute to the diversity and excellence of the bioscience research enterprise.

For additional information see program website or contact the Program Directors, Drs. Gregory Payne and Diana Azurdia at spurlabs@mednet.ucla.edu.

University of California Leadership Excellence through Advanced Degrees (UC LEADS) 2nd Summer

This program is restricted to current University of California undergraduate students in the UC system-wide UC LEADS Program. In line with the goals of the two-year program, the 2nd summer research program seeks to develop the students by providing research and educational experiences to further prepare them to assume positions of leadership in academia, industry, government and public service. UC LEADS students who are considering UCLA for graduate studies/PhD should seriously consider applying to UCLA’s summer program as a way to familiarize themselves with the campus and to network with potential mentors. The UCLA UC LEADS Summer Program includes: GRE test preparation, workshops and seminars, and the opportunity to present summer research findings at the end of summer symposium/poster session.

  • Academic Level: Open to 2nd-Summer UC LEADS students (those from other UC campuses who have completed their first year in the program).
  • Open to Depts/Disciplines: Open to all departments and disciplines in Science, Engineering & Math.
  • 8 or 10 weeks
  • It is the UC LEADS scholar’s responsibility to secure a commitment from the UCLA faculty host
    BEFORE applying to the program. Questions about the process should be addressed to the student’s UC CAMPUS UC LEADS Coordinator.
  • UC LEADS Scholars complete only the UCLA SPUR on-line application after they have summer placement confirmation from the UCLA UC LEADS Coordinator. Scholars do NOT need to submit supplemental materials with their applications.

The UCLA, Howard, Clark-Atlanta, Spelman Summer Research and Admissions Pathways Program

Application Deadline: Friday, February 26, 2016

The UCLA, Howard, Clark-Atlanta, Spelman Summer Research and Admissions Pathways Program provides a comprehensive summer research experience. The goal is to build a cohesive relationship between academic and student affairs: working in unison for the goal of diversifying our graduate student population. The program duration is ten weeks. Participants are connected with a faculty mentor and research group and participate in a poster presentation during the final week. Our program is ideal for students with career interests in academia or industry. The program is a collaborative effort between UCLA Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and Howard University, Clark-Atlanta University, and Spelman College. We provide a stipend and travel allowance, as well as room/board and program fees.

  • The program is a collaborative effort between UCLA Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and Howard University, Clark-Atlanta University, and Spelman College. Potential participants must be students at Howard University, Clark-Atlanta University, or Spelman College.
  • Applicants must be in good academic standing with a 3.0 GPA or above. Preference will be given to students in their junior or senior years.
  • Applicants must submit the following: 1) The UCLA SPUR Online application form, 2) an unofficial transcript, 3) a personal statement (limit to 1,000 words) that describes the applicant’s background, 4) a research statement (limit to 1,000 words) that describes the applicant’s research experience and demonstrates a commitment to research in chemistry or biochemistry, and 5) two letters of reference from faculty members in the sciences, citing examples of research experiences
  • Submit additional application materials directly to chemgrad@chem.ucla.edu
  • To learn more about how to apply to this program, please contact Dr. Thomas Cahoon at chemgrad@chem.ucla.edu

The UCLA-MSU (University of California Los Angeles – Morgan State University) Research Program in Developing Earthquake Resilient Residential Communities

Application Deadline: Tuesday, December 1, 2015
The UCLA-MSU Research Program in Developing Earthquake Resilient Residential Communities provides a summer research and graduate admission pathways program for MSU students, with the goal of increasing diversity among graduate students who enroll in the Civil and Environmental Department at UCLA, with an emphasis in structural/earthquake engineering. It includes a 10-week residential research-training program that offers practical experience working on challenging problems related to quantifying and enhancing the seismic resilience of residential communities. Participants will work under the guidance of Dr. Henry V. Burton (who is an alumnus of Morgan State, and will be immersed in an academic research environment that engages students to pursue a career or advanced degree in structural engineering as either a practitioner or researcher who would contribute to the development, implementation, and deployment of such technologies in practice. The program provides a $3,000 stipend and travel allowance in addition to covering room/board and program fees.

  • Applicants must be in good academic standing with a minimum GPA of 3.0. Preference will be given to students entering their junior or senior year.
  • Applicants must submit the following: 1) A completed application form which can be downloaded from the program website, 2) An unofficial copy of the applicant’s transcript, 3) A one-page personal statement that describes the applicant’s past, present, or future experiences or goals that demonstrate a commitment to conduct research in structural engineering, and 4) One letter of reference from a faculty member in the Civil Engineering Department at Morgan State.
  • Submit an electronic copy of the application materials directly to Dr. Burton: hvburton@ucla.edu. Reference letters should be sent directly by the faculty to Professor Burton via email.
  • To learn more about the program, please contact Dr. Burton at UCLA or Dr. Monique Head (monique.head@morgan.edu) at Morgan State.

For Further Information Contact

Please contact Graduate Outreach & Diversity at outreach@grad.ucla.edu or (310) 206-8743. Also, please read the
UCLA Summer Programs for Undergraduate and Graduate Research Booklet.

How To Apply

You must submit an Online Application & Support Materials. Please make sure you submit a complete application by sending all pertinent supporting materials via mail or private carrier.

Additional Opportunities

Other Summer Programs for Undergraduate Research at UCLA.