Reesearch Information and Opportunities
Starting Your Research Career
Your first research experience may have a huge impact on your future career plans. Thus, it is very imperative that you start off on the right foot. Treat your search for a research position as one of the most important job searches in your academic career.
The first step is determining your research interests. Ask yourself:
"Why do research?" : http://www.ugresearchsci.ucla.edu/researchintro.htm
The next step is finding a faculty mentor.
Finding A Faculty Mentor
One of the biggest challenges that students face in starting research is finding a faculty mentor. Who you choose to contact depends on your interest. Take the time to identify faculty members on campus whose research is of interest to you.
"Finding Faculty" URC-Sciences page: http://www.ugresearchsci.ucla.edu/findmentor.htm
Some students find their faculty mentors through classes they take, i.e., their professors. If you had a positive learning experience in one of your classes, you may want to ask your professor if he/she is accepting undergraduates to their lab. You may also want to consult your teaching assistants about finding a research position on campus.
Interested in doing research with a faculty member from the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology? Below is a handout with the names and contact information of faculty who are currently available as research mentors.
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Faculty Research Interests [download PDF]
Research Opportunities And Programs On Campus
- Student Research Program (SRP): http://www.ugresearchsci.ucla.edu/srpintro.htm
- Howard Hughes Undergraduate Research Program: http://www.ugresearchsci.ucla.edu/howardhughes.htm
- Biomedical Science Enrichment Program (BISEP): http://www.ugresearchsci.ucla.edu/bisep.htm
- Minority Access to Research Careers (MARC): http://www.ugresearchsci.ucla.edu/marc.htm
- CARE Fellows/Scholars: http://www.ugresearchsci.ucla.edu/care.htm
- Undergraduate Research Scholars Program (URSP): http://www.ugresearchsci.ucla.edu/ursp.htm
- Undergraduate Research Fellows Program (URFP): http://www.ugresearchsci.ucla.edu/urfp.htm
- Amgen Scholars: http://www.ugresearchsci.ucla.edu/amgenscholars.htm
- UC LEADS: http://www.ugresearchsci.ucla.edu/ucleads.htm
Conferences/Presenting your Research:
- Science Poster Day: http://www.ugresearchsci.ucla.edu/confspd.htm
- Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR): http://www.ugresearchsci.ucla.edu/curpoh.htm
- Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS)-UCLA Chapter: http://www.ugresearchsci.ucla.edu/sacnaschapter.htm
- Undergraduate Science Journal (USJ): http://www.ugresearchsci.ucla.edu/usj.htm
- Research Needs Award: http://www.ugresearchsci.ucla.edu/rna.htm
Undergraduate research courses are offered by all academic departments. These courses allow students to obtain academic credit for their research experience. Course numbers for research courses in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology include 99, 198A-D and 199.
Enrolling in a Research Course
A research course is considered a CONTRACT COURSE. Prior to enrolling in a research course, students must find a faculty mentor and receive his/her approval. Once approval from a faculty mentor has been obtained, students must create a Course Contract through My.UCLA.edu to generate the 9-digit SRS (registration number) for the course.
There are both lower division (Student Research Program [SRP] 99) and upper division (EE BIOL 190, 191, 196, 198A-D, 199; PHYSCI 191, 195, 196, 198ABC, 199) research/independent study courses. If you do have prior laboratory research experience, your faculty mentor may require that you enroll in at least one quarter of SRP 99; the number of quarters of SRP 99 you enroll in is at the discretion of your faculty mentor. For upper division research/independent study courses, your faculty mentor will determine which is the appropriate course for you to enroll in.
The Student Research Program (SRP) 99 is administered by the URC. Contracts for SRP 99 must be submitted to the URC office by Friday of Week Two. Each department has different policies and different submission deadline for your research contracts. You are responsible for being aware of these deadlines. Research contracts are created via MyUCLA (click here for more information on contract courses).
To create a contract:
- Login to my.ucla.edu
- Click on "Contract Courses", which is located on the left column under "MyUCLA Features"
- Click on "Submit a new contract" under "My Contract Courses"
- Select year and term
- Select the course you wish to enroll in, e.g., Directed Research (199) or Honors Research (198)
- Select the "Subject Area," which is the department that your faculty mentor is affiliated with
- Choose your faculty mentor and the number of units that you wish to enroll
- In "My Research Plan," write a brief description of your project
- Complete any other areas as requested and print out the contract
All students who participate in a research contract course MUST complete the Laboratory Safety Fundamentals workshop before being allowed to enroll in a research course. Proof of completion (e.g., print-out of e-mail confirmation) must be submitted with the research contract. For information on how to enroll in a workshop, please visit: https://www.ehs.ucla.edu/training/schedule. Search for "Laboratory Safety Fundamental Concepts" under the Laboratory Safety heading.
To be enrolled in your contract course:
- Obtain your faculty mentor's signature
- Bring the signed contract to the department that your faculty mentor is affiliated, e.g., Dan Blumstein, EE BIOL – bring signed contract to EE BIOL advising office
- The advising office will obtain the signature of the authorized departmental representative and process the enrollment
NOTE: Students who enroll in contract courses with faculty from the School of Medicine or from the School of Dentistry must submit their contracts to the Office of the Registrar for enrollment after all necessary signatures have been obtained.
Departments have different deadlines for submission of contracts. Check with each department for these deadlines.
Contracts with faculty from the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology must be submitted to the EE BIOL Undergraduate Office no later than Wednesday of Week Two.