Undergraduate Research Resources

UCLA Undergraduate Research Center (URC) resources

The Undergraduate Research Center (URC) is part of the Division for Undergraduate Education, and is an excellent central resource for information about various opportunities and programs for research at UCLA. The URC is also the source for many fellowships and scholarships which can provide financial support for undergraduate research, travel to conferences. Some highlights are listed below – for additional details and listings see the URC webpage:

  • The Undergraduate Research Fellows Program (URFP) is directed through the Office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education and administered by the Undergraduate Research Center-Sciences. The URFP scholarship supports students doing research for Winter and Spring quarters. URFP recipients can receive a scholarship of up to $2,000. All Applications are due November 30
  • The Undergraduate Research Scholars Program (URSP) is directed through the Office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education and administered by the Undergraduate Research Center – Sciences. The URSP Scholarship is awarded to Juniors and Seniors who have a strong commitment to research, and who are committed to completing an honors thesis or a comprehensive 199 project during their senior year. Junior Scholars receive an annual award of $3000.00 and Senior Scholars receive an annual award of $5000.00 obtained from foundations, industry, and individual donors. Junior Scholars are eligible to apply to be a URSP Senior Scholars during their senior year. Online applications for the upcoming academic year are due June 15th.
  • The Howard Hughes Undergraduate Research Program (HHURP) offers junior UCLA students interested in pursuing an MD/PhD the opportunity to work closely with faculty on biomedical research topics during the summer and academic year. The HHURP is an intensive program to prepare students for MD, PhD, or MD/PhD studies.
  • The CARE Fellows and Scholars Program provides students with little or no previous research experience the opportunity to receive financial support while participating in a research project with a faculty mentor. This program is targeted towards students from an educationally or socio-economically disadvantaged background. Once students have completed the CARE Fellows program, they can apply to continue funded research through the CARE Scholars Program. You must be a successful CARE Fellow to apply to be a CARE Scholar. For more information please see:
  • The UC LEADS Program is a prestigious fellowships awarded by the University of California system which provides up to nine UCLA upper-division undergraduate students in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics with educational experiences that prepare them to assume positions of leadership in academia, industry, government, and public service following the completion of a doctoral degree, preferably at the University of California.

EE199 courses

  • EE199 –  Directed Research in Electrical Engineering EE199 is a mechanism where an undergraduate research project can be counted for course credit (with certain limitations and subject to departmental approval). EE199 is limited to juniors/seniors. A culminating paper or project required for each quarter it is taken – however multiple EE199 offerings can be used to support an extended research project. Individual contract required; enrollment petitions available in Office of Academic and Student Affairs. Letter grading.

NSF Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) supplements and centers

REU is a program sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF) that provides financial support for participation of an undergraduate student in a research program supervised by a faculty mentor. Typically this will support will be in the form of a stipend for a summer research position. The REU program is limited to US Citizens and permanent residents. There are two types of REU involvement – an individual REU supplement and participation in an REU center.

  • Individual REU supplement. Many professors have existing research grants from NSF. For those professors, it is usually possible for the professor to apply for supplementary funding to support an REU student. Typically this funding is relatively straightforward to obtain, with a minimum of effort on the part of the professor.  for summer research support. Therefore, if you are a US citizen or permanent resident, you can contact a professor and ask if there is any opportunity for REU summer funding. Often this works best if you have an existing research involvement with the professor. The professor’s deadline to apply for this funding is usually April 1, so you must contact them well in advance of this date to allow sufficient time.
  •  REU centers. There are many so-called REU centers distributed across many universities, which supports groups of many REU students for summer research. REU Centers typically accept applications from students from anywhere – not necessarily the home university.

Search for REU Centers Nationwide: http://www.nsf.gov/crssprgm/reu/

Opportunities to publish and present your work

If your work goes well, your professor may offer you the opportunity to publish or present your work in technical and scientific journals and conferences. However, there also exists a number of opportunities specifically geared for undergraduate researchers.

  • UCLA Science Poster Day – Undergraduate students who have completed one or more quarters of research at UCLA are eligible to participate in the campus-wide UCLA Undergraduate Research Week.
  • UC DayAt UC Day, the University of California Office of Research acknowledges the work of outstanding undergraduate researchers on all of UC’s eight undergraduate campuses. These students are chosen through an annual undergraduate research contest, in which the campuses’ faculty deans pick their top undergraduate researchers across a diverse range of disciplines in the arts, humanities and sciences. During the UC Day activities in Sacramento, contest winners are honored alongside their faculty advisors, and posters highlighting their research are displayed outside of the Governor’s Office in the Capitol. 
  • National Conference for Undergraduate Research – NCUR. The National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR) promotes undergraduate research, scholarship, and creative activity in all fields of study. The annual conference gives undergraduate scholars in all fields and from all types of institutions of higher learning a forum to share the results of their work through posters, presentations, performances and works of art.