UCLA Competitive Edge: Summer Transition Program to the Doctorate

Group of Competitive Edge Participants sitting on a bench


Program Description

The Competitive Edge program is funded by the UCLA Graduate Division. This program is for newly admitted, entering doctoral students in the fields of science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM) and social sciences with a strong interest in pursuing a faculty or research position. The objective is to provide awardees with research and professional development experiences to enhance their success in UCLA doctoral programs. Competitive Edge is six weeks of full-time, faculty-guided research and mentoring, as well as academic and professional workshops.

Benefits & Funding

  • Advanced introduction to UCLA faculty and research
  • Early mentorship from UCLA faculty and peers
  • Advanced introduction to UCLA campus and resources
  • Acquisition of critical skills through workshops and lectures
  • Community building and networking opportunities with Competitive Edge Alumni
  • Summer stipend of $6,000


  • Individuals whose backgrounds are underrepresented in physical sciences, life sciences, engineering and social sciences
  • Strong interest in pursuing a university and/or research career
  • Accepted admission to a UCLA doctoral program
  • U.S. citizen, national, permanent residents, or undocumented students who qualify for nonresident supplemental tuition exemptions under AB 540

Program Requirements

All participants must commit to a full-time, six-week summer research program from mid-August to mid-September before the Fall Quarter for which students are admitted. Summer program commitment includes about 35-40 hours of research per week, along with workshops, lectures, and other graduate preparatory events to be held throughout the summer.

How To Apply

Nominations will take place through your home academic department. Please contact your Student Affairs Officer (SAO) if you are interested in being nominated. All participants must have a faculty mentor during the summer prior to their enrollment to be considered for nomination.

For Further Information Contact

Taifha Alexander, J.D. Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives Coordinator at: (310) 206-7386 or via e-mail: talexander@grad.ucla.edu