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Research Experiences at UC San Diego

Explore our opportunities below

In order to be a competitive graduate school applicant and a more rounded scholar, research is one of the most important things you can do for yourself. Undergraduate research experiences can improve your chances for graduate school as well as enhancing your likelihood of admission to a graduate program. 

If UC San Diego interests you for graduate school, we invite you to check out the opportunities below which are ideal for undergraduates outside of UC San Diego. These programs are intentionally designed to introduce you to research by immersing you into the Triton way of life. What better way to experience how life as a graduate student at UC San Diego might be like! 


STARS: Summer Training Academy for Research Success (All majors)

An eight-week summer research academy for community college students, undergraduate students, recent college graduates, and masters students. Opened to all disciplines, STARS offers student participants a rigorous research opportunity with esteemed UC San Diego faculty, informative transfer and graduate school preparation workshops, and educational, cultural, and social activities in sunny San Diego.

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ENLACE (All STEM Majors)

The ENLACE bi-national summer research program at UC San Diego aims to encourage the participation of high school students, college students, and researchers/teachers, in research in the sciences and engineering, while promoting cross-border friendships in the Baja California/San Diego region.

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Engineers for Exploration (Engineering)

Engineers for Exploration (E4E) is a one of a kind program centered around multidisciplinary and collaborative student research projects with the broad goals of protecting the environment, uncovering mysteries related to cultural heritage, and providing experiential learning experiences for undergraduate and graduate students. 

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IRACDA SURF Program (San Diego Community College Students)

San Diego IRACDA fellows develop and direct a SURF Fellowship Program for students underrepresented in science. The SURF program is an exciting 8-week research internship for San Diego City College students that work with an IRACDA Postdoctoral fellow on an ongoing research project and participate in weekly professional development workshops, directed by IRACDA fellows. 

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MPL Summer Internship Program (Various STEM majors)

The Marine Physical Laboratory (MPL) at world-renowned Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO) seeks inquisitive motivated undergraduates with exceptional aptitude for quantitative science, majoring in engineering, physics, applied mathematics, chemistry, biology, geology or related majors.

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MSTP: Medical Scientist Training Program (Students interested in Medical School)

The Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) is a multidisciplinary program in medicine and biomedical research.  Its mission is to provide students with the breadth and depth of training necessary to excel as academic physicians. The curriculum combines classroom and clinical training in the UCSD School of Medicine  with research in a Graduate Department. 

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Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Program in Biomaterials

The Jacobs school of Engineering (JSOE) at UC San Diego hosts a summer Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) summer program in Biomaterials. The objectives of the program are to train undergraduates in basic research through challenging biomaterial-related engineering projects performed with research mentors from engineering departments across JSOE. Research areas include tissue engineering and 3D printing, bio-inspired biomaterials, biomaterial-stem cell interaction, nanoparticles and drug delivery.

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San Diego Nanotechnology Infrastructure (Engineering)

The San Diego Nanotechnology Infrastructure (SDNI) offers users from academic, industry and government laboratories open, affordable access to a broad spectrum of nanofabrication and characterization technologies and expertise that enable and accelerate cutting edge scientific research, proof-of-concept demonstration, device and system prototyping, product development, and technology translation.

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Summer Program for Women in Philosophy

SPWP is a ten-day program for undergraduate women who are interested in pursuing graduate study in philosophy. SPWP is hosted by the UC San Diego Philosophy Department, and features philosophy seminar courses taught by visiting and UC San Diego faculty, along with a variety of workshops taught by faculty and graduate students — all geared towards providing an engaging philosophical learning experience and helpful preparation for applying to and succeeding at graduate school in philosophy and beyond.

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SURF | Scripps Institution of Oceanography (Ocean and Earth Sciences)

The Scripps Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) is a 10-week summer Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) designed to engage students in diverse and exciting earth, ocean and atmospheric sciences research at a world-renowned institution.

In particular, the SURF program seeks to increase the diversity of students successfully prepared to pursue Earth and ocean sciences career pathways, and to recruit individuals from institutions with limited undergraduate research opportunities.  

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Department of Pharmacology SURF (Biomedical Sciences)

The Pharmacology Department at the UCSD School of Medicine offers an 8-week research training program to undergraduates after their sophomore and junior years.

This program is specifically designed for students who are interested in a career in basic research and who are seriously considering Ph.D. training in the basic biomedical sciences. This program is not designed for pre-M.D. or pre-Pharm.D. students.

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UC San Diego undergraduate students can visit this website to find research programs on campus specifically for you. Also you can visit this website to find opportunities at other UC campuses.