Department of Physics & Astronomy

Support for Undergraduate Research

Support for Undergraduate Research

This page lists some of the sources of support that you can apply for to facilitate your participation in undergraduate research.  Many students make arrangements for support directly with their faculty research mentor.  In either case, the first step is to become involved in research by approaching professors and asking about opportunities to join their research efforts.  Don't be shy! 

  • The Chancellor's Research Fellowship (CRF) :  This fellowship awards up to $5,000 to be used for materials, supplies, and travel related expenses in order to conduct research.  Applications are due in April.  This application requires some time to prepare, so don't wait until the last minute.
  • Student Mini-Grants : These grants support undergraduate participation in faculty mentored research.  Applications are accepted three times a year, each for the following academic quarter.
  • The Mentoring Summer Research Internship Program (MSRIP) : This is an eight-week summer research program designed for rising juniors and seniors from educationally and/or economically disadvantaged backgrounds.  The goal of the program is to help prepare you for graduate school.  Applications are due in early February.
  • UC Leadership through Advanced Degrees program (UC LEADS) :  This is a two-year program designed to support undergraduates from educationally and/or economically disadvantaged backgrounds who wish to pursue a PhD after earning their bachelors degree.  Applications are due in late February.
  • The Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship (MMUF) : This fellowship provides an academic year stipend of $3600 and a summer stipend of $3900 to permit fellows to engage in a rigorous research program.  The purpose is to help diversify college and university faculty by mentoring and preparing members of traditionally under-represented groups and/or those with interests in studies aimed at eliminating racial and ethnic inequalities.  Applications are due in early February.
  • The STEM Pathway Program : This program provides support and advancement opportunities to Hispanic or low-income students who are pursuing bachelor's degrees in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics [known as STEM] fields.  Current students who fit the eligibility requirements can apply.  The program pays up to a $1,200 stipend for each quarter.   Applications are accepted every quarter.  See this page for details.
  • CNAS Scholars Fellows :  Students that successfully complete the Freshman Learning Communities program and have a strong interest in a research career are encouraged to apply for a paid, summer research position with a CNAS faculty member as a participant in RISE as a CNAS Scholars Fellow for the summer following their first year.  CNAS Scholars Fellows will receive a $5,000 stipend.  Applications are due April 8th.
  • MARC U STAR ProgramMARC U-STAR awards provide support for undergraduate students who are underrepresented in the biomedical and behavioral sciences to improve their preparation for high-caliber graduate training at the Ph.D. level.  Don't be discouraged by this description.  Physics students have been supported by this program.  The period of appointment to the MARC U-STAR program is a consecutive 24-month period at the final 2 years of undergraduate training, typically called the junior and senior years.  Applications are due in April.

The programs above are offered by the UCR Undergraduate Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity Student Success Programs and the UCR Graduate Division.


Off-campus research programs

If there's an area of research not covered by our faculty that you are interested in or if there's a particular laboratory that you would like to work in, you should browse these opportunities for off-campus research.

  • National Science Foundation (NSF) Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) programs : There are dozens of sites across the country that offer summer research programs funded by the NSF.  To find a list of programs, Google "NSF REU physics" or try the link in the heading of this bullet.  These programs are typically for about 9 weeks in the summer, cover travel and housing expenses, and include a stipend.  They are competitive and you need to apply in the late Fall or early Winter (February).
  • Department of Energy (DOE) Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internships (SULI) programs :  Apply for a 10-week summer internship at one of 17 DOE laboratories, including the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, and the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory.
  • Many others :  There are many other off-campus programs you can apply for that don't fall in the two categories above, including internships at NASA, JPL, and other large government funded labs and organizations.  Most private companies that perform technological research and development have summer internship programs, such as INTEL.  Think of your dream job and where you would be working.  Then start googling for internships.  For some excellent advice on how to plan and execute your search, see the SPS Careers Toolbox.


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Physics & Astronomy
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Main Office Tel: (951) 827-5331
Main Office Fax: (951) 827-4529
Maynard, Bonnie; Chair's Assistant, Academic Personnel
E-mail: bonnie.maynard@ucr.edu