Research develops your practical skills while providing you with the ideal venue to prove your mastery of what you've learned in class. Regardless of if you plan to attend graduate school, wish to become a doctor, or are transitioning directly to the workforce, engaging with research opportunities will enhance your resume and provide you with contacts who can write powerful letters of recommendation.

Similar to internships and full-time outcomes, students get selected when they can clearly explain what they will bring to the new role and how it will impact the organization. Have you set a meeting with you professor to learn about their lab? Where did your friends spend their summer research experience? Have you considered writing a short research report to highlight your interests?

Research is available on and off campus, in every field imaginable – from biology, chemistry, engineering and physics to sociology, music, economics and history. Check with each program for eligibility and hours requirements.

Below is a non-exhaustive list of some opportunities to gain this type of experience. Contact professionals and professors, and talk to your network of friends, family, and colleagues for insight on other ways to observe, volunteer, intern and train in your intended field.

  • Hundreds of opportunities are listed in the Research Experience & Applied Learning (REAL) Portal, providing research, internship, international, service learning, entrepreneurial, leadership, and other co-curricular opportunities that help students build real-world skills by applying knowledge gained in the classroom.
  • The Academic Enrichment Program (AEP) offers a huge variety of opportunities to obtain research experience during the school year and during the summer under the guidance of UC San Diego faculty mentors and to present research findings at noted undergraduate research conferences in any academic major in preparation for pursuing a Ph.D., health or other advanced degree. For some programs, funding is available
  • The Career Center's online portal, Handshake, has thousands of job and internship postings specifically for UC San Diego students, and many involve research. On campus academic departments, major UC San Diego labs, and local/state/national companies post paid and unpaid research positions daily. Check back often for one that’s right for you.
  • Sponsored by the Academic Internship Program and funded by the National Science Foundation, Pacific Rim Experiences for Undergraduates (PRIME) students participate in research internships in Pacific Rim countries with the theme of improving the international cyber-infrastructure. Participants also receive academic credit.
  • And don't overlook the UC San Diego LinkedIn Alumni Network. Searching by keyword like lab research, PhD, etc. can provide the seeds for connections that may lead to research opportunities.