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Leadership Excellence through Advanced Degrees

The University of California makes a unique contribution to the State of California by preparing future generations of leaders in industry, government, and academia. California’s many economic challenges include the imperative to develop leaders with multicultural competence who can guide the State and nation in a global economy. The University of California seeks to educate dynamic leaders who can keep pace with the world’s science and technological innovations and also work effectively in the culture diversity of the global economy.

The UC LEADS program prepares promising undergraduate students for advanced education in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). This program is designed to identify educationally or economically disadvantaged undergraduates enrolled in UC San Diego who are likely to succeed in graduate school, and to provide these students with undergraduate educational experiences that will prepare them to assume positions of leadership in industry, government, public service, and academia following completion of a doctoral STEM degree.

Once chosen as UC LEADS scholars, the students embark upon a two-year program of scientific research and graduate school preparation guided by individual Faculty Mentors. Scholars are provided with an excellent opportunity to explore their discipline, experience a research environment, and improve their opportunities for future study in their chosen field. The scholar gains valuable educational experience, the University a better prepared and more diverse graduate applicant pool, and the state, well-educated future leaders. Each scholar is mentored by a member of the UC faculty, who assists the student in designing a plan of research and enrichment activities fitted to the individual interests and academic goals of the scholar.



  • Research experience (all year)
  • Attending research symposiums and conferences
  • Professional/scientific meetings
  • Academic enrichment activities
  • Paid summer research experience at another UC campus
  • Seminars and workshops


  • Opportunity to meet other students interested in STEM on campus but also across the UC system.
  • GRE preparation
  • Graduate school application help
  • Source of letters of recommendation
  • Financial stipends and funds available for travel to conferences


  • In a science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM) major
  • Seasoned UC sophomores or rising junior standing. This is a two-year program and the scholar will need to be available to spend one summer doing research at UCSD and the second summer doing research at another UC campus
  • Students must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident or AB540
  • Minimum 3.0 GPA for consideration
  • Educationally and/or economically disadvantaged
  • Interested in scientific research


The application for the 2020 cohort will open up on January 1, 2020.


  1. Statement of Purpose
  2. Letter of Recommendation 
  3. UCSD transcript


Please direct questions to:

Edgar Beas

UC LEADS Campus Coordinator