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Amgen Scholars Program

The UCSD Amgen Scholars Program is a 10-week, full-time research experience for undergraduates, supported by the Amgen Foundation.

Program objectives

  • Provide students with the skills to become research scholars
  • Stimulate students' serious consideration of graduate study
  • Increase learning and networking opportunities for students committed to pursuing either a professional or academic research career in biological sciences or bioengineering.

Program dates and deadlines

As of September 2014, UC San Diego is no longer an Amgen host institution.  We strongly support the goals of the program and encourage you to visit www.Amgenscholars.com to find out more information about current Amgen host institutions.


Applicants must be:

  • U.S. citizens or U.S. permanent residents
  • Undergraduates enrolled in accredited 4-year colleges and universities in the U.S., Puerto Rico, and other U.S. Territories (students at community colleges are not eligible)
  • Sophomores (with 4 quarters or 3 fully completed semesters of college experience by the time they apply to this program), juniors, or non-graduating seniors who are returning in the fall to continue their undergraduate experience
  • Enrolled in one of these preferred majors:
    • Biochemistry
    • Biochemistry and Cell Biology
    • Bioengineering
    • Bioinformatics
    • Biological Sciences
    • Biology
    • Biotechnology
    • Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering
    • Chemistry
    • Developmental Biology
    • Immunology
    • Microbiology
    • Molecular and Cellular Biology
    • Molecular Biology
    • Molecular Genetics
    • Neurobiology
    • Neurosciences
    • Pathology
    • Physiological Science

Applicants must also have:

  • A cumulative G.P.A. of 3.2 or above; and
  • A serious interest in pursuing a Ph.D. or M.D./Ph.D. (not M.D. — there are many other programs available for M.D. ONLY students)
Note: If your school is on a semester or quarter system with a fall 2014 start date earlier than the UC Amgen Program ends, you will need to obtain a letter, sent by mail to us as part of your application process, indicating permission for beginning your fall quarter or semester late, should you be selected as a finalist. The 10-week period of the program is mandatory, and there are no exceptions. Obtain the permission letter from the Dean of your college/ university or your academic advisor.


  • A $3,600 stipend for the 10-week program
  • On-campus housing and a board allowance
  • A $500 travel allowance is offered to non-UCSD students for travel to/from San Diego

Research project requirements and previous mentors

When finalists are offered a place in our program, they may investigate possible mentors for the summer via the list below. They may also cross-reference this list with past research projects listed on our Alumni or Student Profiles pages, as well as studying specific UCSD departments in the Biological Sciences to determine ongoing research projects which correspond to their own field of study. If they prefer, the finalist may choose to be assisted with their mentor search by our staff.

  • Mentor list (PDF): Includes previous Amgen faculty mentors and their areas of research (list updated on March 24, 2014)

Research projects are designed and supervised by faculty mentors in conjunction with students' research interests. The program activities are substantial, requiring a full-time commitment from each student (students cannot work, take classes, participate in any other summer research program, or go on vacation while in the program).

Attendance at meetings and seminars is mandatory.

Each student will be asked to write a research abstract, proposal and paper, presenting his or her paper in the form of a PowerPoint presentation at the UCSD Summer Research Conference.

Students are expected to comply with the:

  • UCSD Code of Conduct
  • Safety rules and regulations of research laboratories where they work
  • GRE preparation course rules
  • Mentoring procedures set forth by the UCSD Amgen Scholars Program faculty and staff

Application procedure

Each Amgen Scholars Program application is considered complete only when it includes all 3 mandatory components:

  • Online application narrative,
  • Scanned collegiate transcripts, and
  • Letter of recommendation.

Only completed applications, including transcripts and letter of recommendation, submitted by the deadline at Pacific time, will be considered for evaluation and scoring.

To continue working on your application or to check the status, you can sign in at the top-right corner of the application page.

Video testimonials




Fred GageThe Amgen Scholars program not only provides outstanding emerging scientists with first hand experience in an active research lab, but because of the quality of the students, they effectively contribute to the labs in which conduct their research."
– Fred Gage, Amgen Mentor; UCSD Professor of Biology, Salk Institute Laboratory of Genetics

[What did you like MOST about the Summer Research Program?] "The opportunity to be intellectually stimulated every day, whether in the lab or through discussions with program peers. I am of the belief that there are few occupations where employees can be stimulated to think critically on a daily basis. However, as I have learned, science research is certainly one of the few. Oftentimes, the most interesting parts of my day would be the journal articles I would read to supplement my research, or the discussions about lab research matters which arose from time to time. Essentially, there were no boring days at the bench."
– Zachary Rotter, 2012 Alumnus, College of Wooster, OH

"My plans have not necessarily changed, nor did I speak with my mentor extensively about graduate school. However the program in general has increased my interest in pursuing research and showed me that it can be a very interesting career path. I was always interested in research but my summer cemented that interest."
– Mohammed Abdelrahim, 2012 Alumnus, Columbia University, NYC

"I trained a lot of undergraduate students and enjoy working with them. Without hesitation, I can state that Nikki was one of the best, in her enthusiasm, interest, work ethics and skills."
– Dr. Djurdjica Coss, 2011 Mentor, UCSD Reproductive Medicine Dept.

"Ms. Choi could easily get into the best biological chemistry programs in the country. She is at a graduate level now and only a sophomore."
– Kim Janda, Professor, 2012 Mentor, The Scripps Research Institute

"I really enjoyed the networks I created with my fellow interns. I loved doing the research and the conference, but the friendships I made this summer were my favorite part."
– Brenda Campbell, 2012 Alumna, Cal Poly Pomona

"I got to know some really great and supportive people through the AMGEN program, mentors and peers alike. I know that the connections I made will be invaluable throughout my careers as a student and a professional. Plus the conference is tons of fun!!"
– Caroline Broaddus, 2011 Alumna, UCSD

"Edward is a truly exceptional undergraduate student. He is intelligent, responsible and has a great work ethic. Even when I was out of town or on medical leave and we had to communicate over email, the quality of his work does not suffer. He is always eager to learn. You can count on Edward to not only get things done but to do them well. His writing is of excellent quality and he also has given very clear and well-prepared talks. He is also modest and a great team member. We are fortunate to have him in the lab."
– Dr. Ayse Saygin, 2012 Mentor, UCSD Cognitive Science Dept.

"I looked at my personal statement from my application and realized that I really did accomplish everything I hoped to achieve through this program."
– Cassi Callmann, 2011 Alumna, West Chester University of Pennsylvania

"The AMGEN Scholars Program gave me the invaluable opportunity to conduct my own research project for the first time. In the process of planning, executing, and troubleshooting my experiment, I learned how to think like a scientist beyond just participating as a lab technician. "
– Sherine Cheung, 2011 Alumna, UCSD

"Ms. Ho is an outstanding student. She is interested in pursuing a combined MD/PhD degree, and she is a strong candidate for the Medical Scientist Training Program at major research medical schools.
– Dr. Jean Y. J. Wang, 2009 Mentor, UCSD Medicine Dept., Moore's Cancer Center

"I came into this program thinking that I had done research before. I came out of the Amgen Scholars program with a strong sense of where I want to go in the future, along with the tools and contacts necessary to get me there. The friendships and countless memories that I made in the process will stay with me for a lifetime."
– Revathy Sampath-Kumar, 2011 Alumna, UCSD

"I have participated in internship experiences before at other Universities, but my experience as an AMGEN Scholar at UCSD was undoubtedly the best I have ever had. I was looking for a summer in which I could participate in a lab of my choosing to gain valuable preparation for graduate school, and I got just that, but just as valuable were the opportunities I didn't realize I would receive until participating in the program. What I also received was a scientific environment with leaders in their field who are willing to meet with you if only you ask, a campus focused on giving students opportunities in science, and a community of other students whose career goals are as lofty as my own. Another integral part of the summer was the ability to meet with other AMGEN Scholars at the National Symposium at UCLA to hear about their research and the campuses at which they were working. All of these have ascertained my interest in going to graduate school and have helped me to identify both my areas of interest and where I will apply. And oh, you're in San Diego for the summer. The cumulation of all the factors make this summer one I will always fondly remember, and one that will get me noticed; what's better than that?"
– Michael Parker, 2011 Alumnus, Millersville University of Pennsylvania

"Clearly, she has what it takes to succeed in whatever field she chooses. We have extensively discussed graduate school and my laboratory and I will support her through the application process."
– Dr. Andrea Chiba, 2008 Mentor

"I hope Britni will go ALL the way. She will be excellent as a researcher."
– Hilde Cheroutre, 2009 Mentor, Professor, UCSD Medicine Dept.

"The program allowed me to do research beyond what my smaller home institution could offer, and the environment assured that I benefitted from all the opportunities at hand. Everything from the program coordination, other Amgen scholars, my mentors, and my research, far exceeded my expectations."
– Andrea Cyr, 2010 Alumna, Chapman University

"Send me more students like her!"
– 2011 Mentor

"For a Midwest native, living on the west coast for the summer was absolutely fabulous, but what really made the program an experience like no other were the wonderful people I was surrounded with, the exciting research I was exposed to, and the mentorship I received — I'm sure under your direction, Amgen scholars in coming years will have the same wonderful experience that I did."
– Stephanie Berger, 2011 Alumna, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

"I have not the slightest doubt that Cody will succeed in any graduate program."
– Dr. Thomas Hermann, 2009 Mentor, Professor, UCSD Chemistry & Biochemistry Dept.

"Her write-up displayed remarkable perspective — better than what I normally see from a postdoc."
– 2011 Mentor

"Being part of the 2009 Amgen-UCSD Program was a great experience. I had the chance to conduct research in Dr. McCulloch's Cardiac Mechanics Research Lab where I learned many skills in the bioengineering field. I became very fascinated with this research from the start and it was a great learning experience. After this program, I realized that I wanted to attend graduate school. [I am currently working on my Masters degree and will be applying to doctorate programs in the field of tissue engineering.]"
– Ana Rioja, 2009 Alumna, University of South Florida

Acknowledgement for ASP support

The Amgen Scholars Program is funded by the Amgen Foundation, the philanthropic branch of the Amgen Corporation that seeks to advance science education, improve quality of care and access for patients, and support resources that create sound communities where Amgen staff members live and work. The Amgen Scholars Program provides hundreds of undergraduate students with the opportunity to engage in a hands-on summer research experience at some of the world's leading institutions. Amgen Scholars is a program that provides pivotal research experiences for undergraduate students interested in pursuing a graduate degree and a career in science.

An acknowledgment for support by Amgen Scholars Program (ASP) must appear in publications, posters, and oral presentations of any material, whether copyrighted or not, based on or developed under ASP-supported projects, such as:

Thanks for the financial support provided through the Amgen Scholars Program.


UC San Diego Amgen Scholars Program, support provided by the Amgen Foundation

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Sophia Tsai
Program Coordinator
(858) 534-9014
Student Center
Building B, 2nd Floor East (map)


Tonya Jarrett
Program Assistant
(858) 534-9925
Student Center
Building B, 2nd Floor East (map)