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.).
Student participants in many SPUR programs will work with a faculty mentor with special expertise and interests matched, as closely as possible, to the student’s research interests and career goals. Most but not all SPUR programs pair students with a faculty mentor. 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.
Most SPUR programs feature 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.
2019 Program Dates
Most programs run eight weeks, from June 2019 to August 2019. Some programs in the sciences, technological, engineering and mathematics fields run 10 weeks, from June 2019 to August 2019. One program in the humanities and social sciences runs six weeks, from June 2019 to August 2019.
The tentative dates for SPUR 2019 are June 23 to August 17 (8-week programs) and June 23 to August 30 (10-week programs).
All application materials and supporting documents must be received by March 31, 2019 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 2019. Please contact the individual program coordinators for questions regarding the application and application deadline.
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.
Application Deadline: Thursday, February 1, 2019
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 15 Amgen Scholars. Three (3) will be undergraduates from UCLA and 12 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 Isabel Martinez at AmgenSch@lifesci.ucla.edu.
B.I.G. Summer (Bruins In Genomics) 8-week Summer Research Program for Masters and Undergraduate students
Application Deadline: Friday, February 1, 2019
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 B.I.G. Summer program website
Application Deadline: Friday, March 1, 2019
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. Gina Poe (Program Director) or Mr. Alfredo Morales (program Representative) at BRISURE@mednet.ucla.edu
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.
Application Deadline: Friday, March 15, 2019
The Center for Academic & Research Excellence (CARE) SEM Summer Research Program offers hands-on research experience working in the laboratory of a distinguished UCLA faculty member. Students must identify a faculty research mentor who is willing to write a letter of recommendation for their application to the program. Program includes: stipend, GRE test preparation, workshops, seminars and poster presentations.
- Only for UCLA students who are interested in pursuing research careers in the life sciences, health sciences, physical sciences or engineering.
- Minimum 3.0 GPA.
- Open to U.S. citizens or permanent residents and AB540 or DACA students who meet all other eligibility requirements.
- 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 MD/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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
HBCU: Evolutionary Medicine – Pathways to PhDs
Application Deadline: Friday, November 30, 2018
The HBCU: Evolutionary Medicine-Pathways to PhDs program is open to undergraduate juniors and seniors from HBCUs. Participants will work on Evolutionary Medicine topics at UCLA. Evolutionary Medicine is the study of how evolutionary and ecological principles affect medicine and medical applications, and how medical and clinical problems generate new research questions and ideas in evolution. Evolutionary medicine is fast emerging as an important new field in the biomedical sciences. Representing an interdisciplinary subject that combines ecology and evolutionary biology, anthropology, psychology, zoology, systems biology and microbiology with medicine, the field of evolutionary medicine has the potential to transform the way biomedical researches and doctors examine medical questions, conduct biomedical research, and treat patience. Summer interns will work closely with a principal investigator (PI) from UCLA’s Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department and a PI from the David Geffen School of Medicine. Application requirements:
- Undergraduate juniors and seniors from HBCUs to work on Evolutionary Medicine topics at UCLA.
- Send all application materials to Dr. Pamela Yeh at email@example.com
Application deadline: Friday, March 15, 2019
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. 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
- Please note that students will NOT be paired directly with a faculty mentor but will take an intensive writing and research course. Students will NOT take a GRE preparation course as part of the program.
- Admission to the program is rolling; applicants are advised to apply early due to limited space. Applications will be considered after the deadline only if space is available.
- A complete application includes the submission of the online application form, as well as a brief research statement, a description of summer research goals, and a statement from the student’s MMUF coordinator. See the program website for full details of supplementary application materials.
- To learn more about this program, please visit the program website or contact the Undergraduate Research Center– Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Application Deadline: March 29, 2019
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 2018.
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.
For additional information, please contact Mark Covin (email@example.com).
Application Deadline: Friday, February 1, 2019
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, GRE preparation course, lodging on the UCLA campus, a meal allowance and travel support.
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 SPUR-LABS 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.
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.
UCLA-HBCU Neuroscience Pathways Program
Application Deadline: Friday, November 30, 2019
The UCLA-HBCU Neuroscience Pathways program is open to undergraduate students that attend historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in the United States. The goals of this program are: 1) to increase the impact on students and faculty at both HBCU partner institutions and UCLA and, 2) to incentivize quality mentorship of the interns in our UCLA host labs. We will engage in active research and teaching partnerships that accompany students before and beyond the 8-week internship at UCLA.
A group of interested students, selected jointly by the HBCU partner institutions and UCLA will be invited to spend 8 weeks at UCLA doing research in an appropriate host laboratory. Ideally, the research at UCLA will be commensurate with the experience at the HBCU partner institution. We will engage in active research and teaching partnerships that accompany students before and beyond the 8-week internship at UCLA of mentorship in the lab. Interns will be mentored and trained by the faculty members who run the respective labs. Additionally, we will host one “chaperone” HBCU faculty member per year to accompany the student for the first week of the internship- which is intended to foster both scientific collaboration and quality mentoring. To incentivize graduate studies at UCLA for HBCU interns, the BRI will offer a full 5-year stipend annually for at least one student, annually, who applies for and is accepted by the NSIDP. Furthermore, we will conduct outcome studies and publish them in a peer-reviewed journal, similar to other BRI outreach efforts. In short, we will take an innovative and holistic approach by providing not only a summer opportunity but by following the student before and after through online tools.
- 8-week program (June 23rd to August 16th)
- Applicants must submit the following: 1) UCLA SPUR Online application form, 2) letters of intent
- Letters of Intent due by January 31. Please send to Dr. Ketema Paul (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- To learn more about this program, please contact Dr. Ketema Paul (email@example.com) or Dr. Patricia Lowe (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Application deadline: Thursday, February 1, 2019
The UCLA Neuroscience Scholars program is a 10-week intensive summer research training experience for exceptional UCLA sophomore and junior undergraduates that are committed to pursuing a graduate degree in neuroscience. Neuroscience Scholars will be paired with a UCLA faculty mentor based on their research interests. The first 2 weeks of the program will consist of hands-on workshops and/or lectures that cover fundamental experimental approaches for neuroscience research. For the remaining 8 weeks of the program, students will conduct discovery research in the laboratories of their faculty mentors. The program also includes: $5000 stipend, journal clubs, lunches with faculty, career development workshops, seminars and poster presentations.
- For sophomore and junior undergraduates in Neuroscience, Physiological Sciences, Psychobiology and other neurobiology-related fields.
- 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.
- Must be able to devote full-time effort over the entire duration of the 10 week program
- Previous research experience is preferred
- Applicants must submit 1) UCLA SPUR online application, 2) personal statement summarizing your neuroscience research interests (limit 1000 words), 3) list of 3-5 neuroscience faculty mentors that you would like to work with, 3) summary of prior research, if any (limit 1000 words), 4) two letters of recommendation from science faculty, 5) resume/CV, 6) academic transcript
- To learn more about this program, please contact Program Directors Dr. Jeff Donlea & Dr. Elaine Hsiao; NeuroScholars@ucla.edu
For Further Information Contact
Please contact Graduate Outreach & Diversity at email@example.com 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.
Other Summer Programs for Undergraduate Research at UCLA.