Undergraduate research experience is a big plus on your UC graduate school application. Look for research opportunities during the school year, as well as summer research programs.
Begin applying for research opportunities as early as your sophomore year. Research experience gives you a competitive advantage by demonstrating that you're capable of the type of study graduate school requires. You may have to apply to several programs before you get an acceptance letter, so be persistent.
Summer research programs
Many universities — including UC campuses — offer structured summer research programs in many disciplines, including social sciences and humanities. Programs are competitive, so apply to all that match your qualifications and interests.
Other research opportunities
Some campuses offer structured research programs during the academic year in addition to summer programs, so learn about all the options your institution offers.
Also investigate informal ways to gain research experience. You may be able to work on research projects under the guidance of a faculty member, even if the professor is not an official research program mentor. Ask professors at your home campus and other institutions if they have space in their labs or if you can help them conduct research for a book or other project. If that's not possible, some may be willing to supervise an independent research project.
Summer research programs are highly competitive, so apply to many different schools and programs — including your current institution. Don't worry about where you do your research ... just do it!
UC research programs
Learn about research programs offered at UC campuses:
- Berkeley: Undergraduate research
- Davis: Undergraduate research, summer research
- Irvine: Undergraduate research, graduate school preparation
- Los Angeles: Summer undergraduate research
- Merced: Graduate preparation programs
- Riverside: Office of Research, undergraduate research, Mentoring Summer Research Internship Program, UC Leads
- San Diego: Summer research
- San Francisco: Summer research
- Santa Barbara: Undergraduate research
- Santa Cruz: Undergraduate research