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UCLA Graduate Division

2014 UCLA Summer Programs for Undergraduate Research (SPUR)

Program Purpose

The UCLA Summer Programs for Undergraduate Research (SPUR) offer upper division undergraduate students with outstanding academic potential the opportunity to work closely with faculty mentors on research projects. The programs are designed for students who wish to learn more about the graduate school experience and possibly pursue an academic career in teaching and research. Opportunities are available in virtually all academic fields (e.g., arts, humanities, social sciences, life sciences, health sciences, physical sciences, etc.).

Each student participant will be working with a faculty mentor with special expertise and interests matched, as closely as possible, to the student's research interests and career goals. Students will either assist the faculty member in an ongoing research project or work collaboratively with the mentor in designing a new project of mutual interest.

A directory of UCLA faculty research interests is available online should you wish to suggest a faculty member with whom to work. Note that this would only be a suggestion. Each program makes the final decisions about the faculty mentor assignment.

The program features seminars on:

  1. writing and research skills
  2. strategies for enhancing success in applying to graduate school
  3. graduate school funding opportunities
  4. opportunities for informal discussion with UCLA graduate students
  5. academic career opportunities
  6. GRE test preparation
  7. cultural and educational activities

For further details about specific programs, please refer to the UCLA Summer Programs for Undergraduate and Graduate Research Booklet

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

Most programs run eight weeks, Sunday, June 22, 2014 to Saturday, August 16, 2014. Some programs in the sciences, technological, engineering and mathematics fields run 10 weeks, Sunday, June 22, 2014 to Friday, August 29, 2014.



All application materials and supporting documents must be received by March 31, 2014 unless otherwise stated in the program description. Preference will be given to applications that are completed by the program’s deadline. Notification of decisions will be made by the end of May 2014.


Participating Programs

Eight programs are associated with UCLA SPUR. One focuses on the arts and humanities; four deal with the sciences, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields; one focuses on nursing; one is a partnership with the California State University Sally Casanova Pre-doctoral Program; and one is open only to current UC LEADS students. Below are brief summaries of each program. The summaries include the specific program components, eligibility requirements and length of the summer program. Please view the chart of participating summer programs at UCLA for a quick reference of programs and their related academic fields.

Please click on the links to learn about each program. You will be able to apply to a maximum of two (first choice and second choice) in our online application.

  1. Amgen Scholars Program
    Application Deadline: Friday, February 3, 2014 (No Longer Accepting Applications)

    The Amgen Scholars Program is a national program to increase learning and networking opportunities for students committed to pursuing a career in science or engineering. UCLA will host 24 Amgen Scholars. 12 will be undergraduates from UCLA and 12 will be from other 4-year colleges and universities. Students interested in summer research in any area of biomedical science, chemistry, bioengineering or chemical engineering are encouraged to apply. Students will be paired with a UCLA faculty mentor if the student does not already have one. Program includes: stipend; housing; meals; 3-day Biotechnology Conference in Los Angeles, California; GRE test preparation; luncheons with faculty; workshops; seminars and poster presentations.
    1. For undergraduates enrolled in four-year colleges and universities in the U.S., Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories.
    2. For Sophomores (with 4 quarters or 3 semesters of college experience), Juniors and non-graduating Seniors (who are returning in the fall to continue their undergraduate experience).
    3. Must have a cumulative G.P.A. of 3.2 or above.
    4. Must be interested in pursuing a Ph.D. or M.D./Ph.D.
    5. 10 weeks (All participants must be able to attend the program for its entire duration. Be sure to check your fall term start date before applying).
    6. To learn more about how to apply to this program, please contact Cindy Mosqueda at
  2. Brain Research Institute Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (BRI-SURE)
    Application Deadline: Saturday, March 1, 2014

    The UCLA Brain Research Institute (BRI) sponsors a summer undergraduate research experience (BRI-SURE) pathway program for students currently participating in the Minority Access to Research Careers (MARC) and other honors research programs whose goal is to increase diversity. This program solicits applications from students from universities and colleges across the nation. BRI-SURE Pathway is an 8-week, intensive summer research-training program for exceptional students interested in pursuing research careers in Neuroscience or Physiology. The program is designed to provide a rigorous, in-depth research experience to prepare participants for top-quality Ph.D. and M.D./Ph.D. graduate programs. The BRI-SURE residential program offers a summer stipend of at least $2000.
    1. Applicants must be in good academic standing with a minimum GPA of 3.0;
    2. Applicants must submit the following: 1) UCLA SPUR Online application form, 2) Academic transcript, 3) Personal statement (limit to 1000 words) that describes your past, present or future leadership in and commitment to research and diversity in science, 4) Summary of prior research, if any (limit to 1000 words), 5) Two letters of recommendation from science faculty, and 6) Paragraph (500 words or less) summarizing your interest in neuroscience or physiology;
    3. In a separate file, applicants need to rank in order of preference, the top three research training areas: Neuroendocrinology, Sex Differences, and Reproduction; Neural Repair; Neural Microcircuits; Neurobehavioral Genetics; Molecular and Cellular Neurobiology; or Molecular, Cellular and Integrative Physiology;
    4. Submit additional application materials directly to
    5. To learn more about how to apply to this program, please contact Dr. Dwayne D. Simmons or Mr. Benjamin Ha at
  3. Bunche Center Summer Humanities Institute (SHI)
    Application Deadline: Friday, November 15, 2013

    This eight-week preparatory program is designed to enhance the competencies of students who plan to pursue an MA or Ph.D. in the humanities or humanistic social sciences (African American studies, anthropology, art history, cultural/critical studies, ethnomusicology, history, literature, political science, sociology). Students will write a research paper and present a conference paper. Program includes seminars, skills workshops, research, field courses in Los Angeles African-American culture, stipend, funds toward travel, meal allowance and on-campus housing.
    1. Students must complete the online application and submit it to the UCLA Graduate Division (SPUR). Links for all supplementary materials are found on the Bunche Center/SHI website and must be submitted directly to SHI. See the Bunche Center for more information and deadlines.
    2. U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
    3. Primarily directed toward students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and toward other historically underrepresented students.
    4. Must have relevant undergraduate training.
    5. Submit two-page research proposal and six- to eight-page writing sample in addition to other supplemental materials.
    6. Must be available for a phone interview.
    7. One letter of recommendation from faculty member that is familiar with student’s research and writing skills.
    8. SHI does not accept students who plan to go into law, business, science, psychology or medicine.
    9. 8 week residential program from June 22 through August 16, 2014.
  4. California State University (CSU) Sally Casanova Pre-Doctoral Scholars Program
    Application Deadline: Contact the program representative for your campus' CSU Sally Casanova Pre-Doctoral Scholars Program

    This program is restricted to undergraduate and master's-level students in the California State University Sally Casanova Pre-Doctoral Program. The Program is designed to increase the pool of potential university faculty by supporting the doctoral aspirations of CSU students who have experienced economic and educational disadvantages. Each of the selected CSU Sally Casanova pre-doctoral scholars works closely during the academic year with a CSU faculty sponsor to develop an overall plan leading ultimately to enrollment in a doctoral program. Each of these plans is tailored to specific goals and educational objectives of the student. The Program places special emphasis on increasing the number of CSU students who enter doctoral programs at one of the University of California institutions. Summer Program includes: stipend, on-campus housing or housing allowance, meal allowance, funds toward roundtrip transportation cost, GRE test preparation, workshops and oral presentations.
    1. Open to all current CSU Sally Casanova Pre-Doctoral Scholars, both graduate and undergraduate.
    2. 8 week program.
    3. CSU Scholars complete only the UCLA SPUR on-line application after they have approval from the UCLA SPUR Coordinator; do not submit supplemental materials.
    4. To become a CSU Sally Casanova Pre-Doctoral Scholar, please contact the program representative on your CSU campus.
  5. CARE Science, Engineering and Math (SEM) Summer Research Program
    Application Deadline: Friday, March 14, 2014

    The Center for Academic & Research Excellence (CARE) SEM Summer Research Program offer hands-on research experience working in the laboratory of a distinguished UCLA faculty member. Student's must identify a faculty mentor who is willing to write a letter of recommendation for their application to the program. Program includes: stipend, housing or housing allowance, GRE test preparation, workshops, seminars and poster presentations.
    1. For UCLA students only who are interested in pursuing research careers in the life sciences, health sciences, physical sciences or engineering.
    2. Students entering junior or senior year with a GPA > 3.0.
    3. Must be U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
    4. A goal of the CARE SEM Summer Research Program is to increase the number of students from underrepresented groups in biomedical and behavioral research who progress towards the attainment of a Ph.D. degree. African American, Hispanic American, American Indian and Pacific Islander students are encouraged to apply.
    5. 10 weeks.
  6. Summer Nursing Program: School of Nursing
    This program offers nursing undergraduates in their junior year with outstanding academic potential the opportunity to work on research projects with School of Nursing faculty mentors. It is designed for students who plan to pursue the PhD degree and enter academic careers in nursing. Program includes stipend, on-campus housing, meal allowance, funds toward roundtrip transportation cost, GRE test preparation, formal and informal discussion on career options and other activities. Each student participant will be assigned to a faculty mentor matched as closely as possible to the student's research interests and career goals. Participants will either assist the faculty member in an ongoing research project or, with approval of faculty, work collaboratively with the mentor in designing a new project of mutual interest.
    1. Research areas: Biobehavioral Sciences, Biologic Sciences, Health Disparities/Vulnerable Populations and Health Services Research.
    2. U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
    3. For qualified nursing students currently holding undergraduate junior status.
    4. Preference given to first-generation college students.
    5. Cumulative, minimum GPA of 2.80.
    6. 8 weeks.
  7. Summer Programs for Undergraduate Research: Life and Biomedical Sciences (SPUR-LABS)
    Application Deadline: Monday, March 3, 2014

    The SPUR-LABS summer program provides a rigorous eight or ten week research training experience for undergraduates with interests in a broad range of bioscience disciplines—from molecules to organisms and from basic to translational science. Exceptional research training, integrated with professional development activities, will prepare students to succeed in leading Ph.D. and M.D./Ph.D. programs. The program is designed for students participating in honors research programs that promote diversity in bioscience fields (e.g., Minority Access to Research Careers, MARC). Participants receive a $3,500 summer stipend, lodging on the UCLA campus, and travel support.
    1. For outstanding students whose goal is to pursue a career in bioscience research. The program aims to prepare and inspire a diverse population of undergraduates for graduate study in the biosciences and students from underrepresented or economically disadvantaged backgrounds are encouraged to apply.
    2. Participants will be matched with an appropriate faculty member based on research interests. There are over 300 faculty mentors in ten bioscience research areas.
    3. Supplementary application includes two letters of recommendation and a personal statement that describes your bioscience research interests and any research experience, including how these interests and experiences have shaped your personal and professional goals, and how SPUR-LABS would help you meet these goals. See program website for full details of supplementary application materials.
    4. Selection criteria: academic preparation and achievement; leadership potential; relevance of research interests and experience; potential for the program to help the applicant achieve his/her career goals; and potential to contribute to the diversity and excellence of the bioscience research enterprise.
    5. From additional information see program website or contact the Program Directors, Drs. Gregory Payne and Jeffrey Goldman at
  8. University of California Leadership Excellence through Advanced Degrees (UC LEADS) 2nd Summer
    This program is restricted to current University of California undergraduate students in the UC system-wide UC LEADS Program. In line with the goals of the two-year program, the 2nd summer research program seeks to develop the students by providing research and educational experiences to further prepare them to assume positions of leadership in academia, industry, government and public service. UC LEADS students who are considering UCLA for graduate studies/PhD should seriously consider applying to UCLA's summer program as a way to familiarize themselves with the campus and to network with potential mentors. The UCLA UC LEADS Summer Program includes: GRE test preparation, workshops and seminars, and the opportunity to present summer research findings at the end of summer symposium/poster session.
    1. Academic Level: Open to 2nd-Summer UC LEADS students (those from other UC campuses who have completed their first year in the program).
    2. Open to Depts/Disciplines: Open to all departments and disciplines in Science, Engineering & Math.
    3. 8 or 10 weeks
    4. It is the UC LEADS scholar's responsibility to secure a commitment from the UCLA faculty host BEFORE applying to the program. Questions about the process should be addressed to the student's UC CAMPUS UC LEADS Coordinator.
    5. UC LEADS Scholars complete only the UCLA SPUR on-line application after they have approval from the UCLA SPUR/GR Coordinator; do not submit supplemental materials.

For Further Information Contact

Please contact Graduate Outreach & Diversity at or (310) 206-8743. Also, please read the UCLA Summer Programs for Undergraduate and Graduate Research Booklet.


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.


Additional Opportunities

Other Summer Programs for Undergraduate Research at UCLA.