UCLA Summer Program for Undergraduate Research

Program Purpose

This federally funded program is designed to encourage and aid traditionally underrepresented undergraduate students interested in pursuing research-based careers designed to reduce or eliminate health disparities in racial and ethnic minorities. Central to the program is the pairing of each student to a faculty mentor who will guide him or her through the summer research project. Students have the opportunity to work with faculty from a wide variety of UCLA departments, including the life sciences departments (Ecology and Evolutionary Biology; Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics; Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology; Physiological Science; and Psychology), Epidemiology, Public Health, Psychiatry, Urban Planning, Chicano Studies, Social Welfare and Medicine. Students are required to pursue research problems that focus on, or can apply to, health disparities in racial/ethnic minorities.

In addition to conducting research, students will also be given valuable assistance in the graduate school application process, including preparation for the Graduate Record Examination and workshops on drafting a personal statement. The goal of the summer is to give students a glimpse of their future careers as researchers, while equipping them with the tools to successfully pursue advanced degrees in health.


Applicants must:

  • Be U.S. citizens or permanent residents
  • Be juniors during the 2006-2007 academic year
  • Have a minimum GPA of 3.0
  • Have previous research experience
  • Plan to attend graduate or medical school in a science/health-related discipline with the intention of research being a significant part of one' career


Program participants will receive a $2,400 stipend, as well as room and/or a meal allowance (half at the beginning of the program and half at the end, upon successful completion of all program requirements). All program participants (including UCLA undergraduates) are required to reside in assigned University housing. Students will be reimbursed up to $450 for round-trip travel (e.g., airfare, taxi) from home to UCLA. Students traveling within California but outside of the Los Angeles area will be reimbursed up to $200 for travel expenses (e.g., taxi, mileage).

Limited parking is available at the studentís expense, payable in full at the beginning of the program. For 2006, the rate was $146.00 for 8 weeks and $206 for 10 weeks. See the UCLA SPUR Viewbook for cancellation and penalty policies.

Program Components & Expectations

The program features:

  • regular seminars on academic career opportunities
  • GRE test preparation
  • 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
  • cultural and educational activities

Participants are required to complete the entire 8- or 10-week program. Thus, participants are expected not to work nor enroll in classes during the program. The research objectives of the program are substantial and require full-time student commitment. At the end of the program, each participant is required to give an oral presentation and/or participate in a poster session, submit a minimum 15-page typewritten report, and a one-page abstract describing his/her research. Each participant must attend all required seminars, lectures, informal faculty discussions, and weekly student/staff meetings.

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.

Program Dates

8 weeks: TBD
10 weeks: TBD


All application materials and supporting documents must be received by TBA. Notification of decisions on applications will be made beginning at the end of May 2008.

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.

Copyright © 2004-2011 Vickie M. Mays, PhD, MSPH