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Undergraduate Research Scholarships (URS) - Summer

Find information about UC San Diego's undergraduate research scholarship (URS) program. Several different scholarships are available across multiple research areas.

Application Cycle:

The application cycle for 2018 Summer is currently closed and will open mid-November. You can look at available URS opportunities at our application site and begin a pre-application (General Application) now. Please note the deadline for all applications will be due February 1, 2018 at 11:59 PM. All applications, even if already submitted, will be able to be updated until February 1. Application website: http://ucsd-research.academicworks.com

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Project requirements

The research project must be work above and beyond the normal course of study. Students should have a project where their role is defined and that they can take ownership of, even if it is part of a larger project. The subject matter does not have to be related to the student's major, minor, or other coursework, although preference may be given to those that do have a major related to specific scholarship goals, depending on the scholarship(s) the student is applying to.

If awarded:

  • Students must not be in the process of completing a 5-year BS/MS or BA/MA degree.
  • Students must not be graduated by Summer 2017. 
  • Students may not take classes (either session 1 or session 2) during the scholarship period (June 26-September 15).
  • Students may not hold an outside job during the scholarship period, and must sign a form indicating they have ended all employment for the summer period. 
  • Student may not be paid through their research group for work done during the summer.


All current UC San Diego undergraduates in any major who will be enrolled the following school year are eligible to apply.

Students who plan on graduating mid-year may also apply, provided the project and final report are completed before graduation.

Applicants must be U.S. citizens, permanent residents, or eligible under AB540 "California Dream Act".

The project must be completed while the applicant is a UC San Diego undergraduate. Students will not be eligible if they will have graduated before summer. Students also cannot be part of a BS/MS program during the award period. 

Applicants submit one research proposal per scholarship. The same proposal may be used for multiple research scholarship applications, as indicated on the application form. If chosen for more than one scholarship, a student may only accept one scholarship during the summer research period.

Applicants may re-apply for the scholarship, even if they've been awarded a scholarship in previous years. There is no guarantee to receive the scholarship, even if you've been awarded in the past -- all applicants are considered against the applicant pool of that year only. 

Please note that if awarded, students will not be allowed to take additional courses or get paid through a job during the duration of the scholarship. We would like all awardees to be able to focus on the research full-time. 

For more information about Undergraduate Research Scholarships (URS), contact Sophia Tsai, stsai@ucsd.edu or (858) 534-9014.

Available scholarships

Chancellor's Research Scholarship for Arts and Humanities

Gives consideration to proposals designed to pursue special studies and projects in the general areas of Arts and Humanities.

  • Area of study: arts and humanities.

Chancellor's Research Scholarship for Social Sciences

Gives consideration to proposals designed to pursue special studies and projects in the general areas of Social Science.

  • Area of study: social sciences.

David Marc Belkin Memorial Research Scholarship for Environment and Ecology

Gives consideration to those proposals designed to pursue special studies and projects in the general areas of environmental and ecological issues.

  • Area of study: environmental and ecological

David Jay Gambee Memorial Research Scholarship for Governance and Social Impact projects

Gives consideration to those proposals which involve the student as an active citizen in university governance, the local community, or national and international affairs. Also receiving preference are projects which lead to a heightened awareness of the relationship between the environment and society. Service in the community through volunteer activities or participation in programs related to the Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation are encouraged.

  • Area of study: as an active citizen in university governance, local community, or national and international affairs

Doris A. Howell Foundation Research Scholarship for Women's Health

Gives consideration research proposals designed to improve women’s health. Preference is given to applications that study disease prevention in, for example, diabetes, obesity and cancer. Proposals may describe an approach to examine biological, medical, cultural, economic, behavioral, psychosocial, or cross-cultural influences.

  • Area of study: women's health

Eureka! Scholarship for Biological Sciences majors

Promotes engagement in basic and translational biology by facilitating students' participation in research opportunities both at the UC San Diego campus and at research facilities on the San Diego Mesa (located north of UC San Diego). Successful proposals will show evidence that the scholarship will provide the students with an opportunity to have a significant research experience.

  • Area of study: basic and translational biology; student must have a declared major in the Division of Biological Sciences

IME-Becas Scholarship for Mexican-Americans

Eligibility: For students of Mexican origin. Open to all citizenship statuses. 
The IME-Becas Program is an intense summer research opportunity for undergraduate students that are interested in doing a summer research project.

Students in this program participate in 10 weeks of full-time faculty-mentored research. 
In addition, participants receive training in how to write and present a scholarly paper, and participate in Summer Research Program (SRP) activities. Students in the IME-Becas program will receive free GRE training during the program. 

  • Area of study: open to ALL FIELDS.

Julia Brown Research Scholarship for Health and Medical Professions

Gives consideration to students whose career objectives are in health care, medicine, medical research, pharmacy, pharmaceutical sciences, or public health. Preference may be given to students with extenuating circumstances or financial need, although this is not a requirement for consideration. 

  • Area of study: health care, medicine, medical research, pharmacy, pharmaceutical sciences, or public health career objectives

Ledell Family Endowed Research Scholarship for Science and Engineering

Gives consideration to proposals designed to pursue special studies and projects in physical science, biological science, or engineering.

  • Area of study: physical science, biological science, or engineering

NEW Scholars Program for Undocumented Students

Eligibility: AB540/California Dream Act eligible students ONLY. 

The NEW Scholars Program is an intense summer research opportunity for undocumented undergraduate students that are eligible for AB540/California Dream Act Financial Aid. Students in this program participate in 10-12 weeks of full-time faculty-mentored research. Preference may be given to students who have not received the NEW Scholars Research Scholarship in the past.

  • Area of study: ALL fields

Research Scholarship for Physics

Gives consideration to those proposals designed to pursue special studies and projects in physics. Preference is given to students with a physics major. 

  • Area of study: physics

Starbucks Sustainable Solutions and Learning Opportunities Research Scholarship

Gives consideration to those proposals designed to pursue special studies and projects in sustainable food production and distribution, resource conservation, or agricultural environmental practices

  • Area of study:  sustainable food production and distribution, resource conservation, or agricultural environmental practices

Please apply for any of the above scholarships at: http://ucsd-research.academicworks.com

Award terms and amounts

The research project should be completed during summer. Receipt of an award does not disqualify students from applying in future application cycles, so long as they maintain eligibility as an undergraduate student. 

The amount of the research scholarship was established to recognize and encourage undergraduate research, and can cover project costs, and/or any education-related expenses, including summer living costs. All research scholarships are summer awards up to $5,000.

Awards will be paid by early June and will not replace academic-year financial aid. This award is considered a budget add-on to cover project-related costs.

A final report and faculty appraisal must be submitted at the conclusion of the project (see below for details).

Research proposal and personal statement

Each scholarship application (opportunity) will require a research proposal to be submitted. You can submit the same proposal to multiple scholarships, since each scholarship is reviewed by a different committee. Please follow the following guidelines:


Overview / Abstract of Project (250 word limit) 

Detailed description of the project: (1000 word max)

  • Research question
    • the goal of the work
    • the potential significance of the project
  • Preliminary work accomplished and/or relevant experience
  • Methods or theoretical/critical frameworks you will use, with appropriate citations
  • Timeline of the work you expect to accomplish over three months (Summer 2015)
  • Statement noting if IRB approval is needed or not
  • List of references cited (not included in the 1000 word maximum)

Personal statement: describing how carrying out this summer research project would advance your academic and professional goals (600 word max)

Points to include

  • academic and personal achievements
  • talents, experiences, interests (related to your field of interest/research)
  • academic and professional goals – the kinds of contributions you would like to make and how this research will advance your academic and professional goals
  • (if applicable) Role models, influences (related to your field of interest/research)
  • (if applicable) Special circumstances you feel the committee should consider as part of your application. This could include personal or academic challenges you may have overcome to get you where you are today.

Recipient selection

The scholarship selection committee may include: the Faculty Committee on Undergraduate Scholarships and Honors, department faculty, program affiliates, or judges selected by sponsoring donors. The scholarship selection committee is chosen based on criteria set forth by sponsoring donors associated with each individual scholarship. This committee selects the winners, who will be notified by e-mail or letter in late April.


  • Students not awarded will not be notified.
  • Students will not receive more than one research award.
  • Students cannot be part of a BS/MS program during the award period.
  • If the student's project changes significantly between the application and the award period, the review committee reserves the right to request and review an updated proposal. 

Final report

Upon completion of the project, the recipient of a research scholarship must submit a summary report, minimum of 5 pages, via online submission. Directions for this will be emailed to the student at the start of the Fall Quarter. If there are any problems with submission, please e-mail Sophia Tsai (stsai@ucsd.edu) with any questions you may have. Please note these reports may be shared with your donor(s). 

The final report is due in mid-October following the award and must include:

  • 5 page (minimum), single-spaced report on the research done this summer (late June through mid-September)
    • Your name, PID, name of the scholarship donor (e.g. Chancellor's Research, Eureka!, Ledell Family) in the header section of Word
    • Title of the project
    • Summary of your research over the summer including any results, and how things may have changed since the last proposal submitted. This should be similar to a peer-reviewed research paper written in your field. Check with your mentor if you're unsure of how this should look.
    • Appendix that includes:
      • A brief statement of the purpose of the project, the benefits to the project and/or the benefits of your participation in the project. 
      • A short summary statement of how the funds were used (exact amounts and receipts are NOT required)
      • A statement that indicates the approximate hours spent doing research per week (average). 
    • Figures and graphs may be included in the 5 page minimum.
    • Citations are not included as part of the 5 page minimum.
    • Font: minimum 10 point font. Can be Arial, Times New Roman, Calibri, or a similar sized font.
  • Will be submitted via Dropbox (link to be sent in an email to the student)
  • Must be read and approved by the student's lab mentor (if applicable) and PI before final submission -- due in mid-October.


Failure to submit a final report will result in billing the recipient for all funds received. Failure to repay the scholarship will result in future registration and transcript holds.

Faculty appraisal

Upon completion of the project, the faculty sponsor of the student receiving the research scholarship must submit a faculty appraisal via online submission, which will be sent to the student to forward to their faculty member. If there are any problems, send an e-mail to Sophia Tsai (stsai@ucsd.edu). Please note the faculty appraisal may be shared with the student's donor(s).

The faculty appraisal is due in mid-October following the award and must be included on department letterhead or the template emailed to scholarship recipients:

  • The student's name, ID#, and name of scholarship. 
  • A brief statement confirming the project was completed as proposed.
  • A brief statement confirming the faculty sponsor read and approved the final report written by the student. 
  • A few statements on any of the following:
    • value of project
    • value to student
    • comments on student’s performance.
  • A statement about the approximate hours the student spent doing research per week (average).
  • A statement confirming the funds were used appropriately (research-related expenses)
  • If the student's project has changed significantly from the proposed work, a statement regarding the circumstances surrounding that change. 
  • The faculty member's printed name and signature.

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