The Undergraduate Summer Research Award provides funding for UC San Diego undergraduate students majoring in the physical sciences (chemistry & biochemistry, mathematics, physics) to conduct a summer research project under the guidance of a UC San Diego faculty member. The program immerses students full time in a research topic for 10 weeks (Summer 2024). Students are awarded a $7,500 stipend in support of their time and efforts conducting a summer research project.

Scholarships are competitive. Students applying for this program are required to work with a faculty member to develop and endorse a research proposal. Women, military veterans, and students from underrepresented groups are strongly encouraged to apply.

Undergraduate Summer Research awardees are expected to provide a written report of their accomplishments at the end of the 10-week term, as well as participate in a public poster session presenting their research. 

2024 Program Dates: 

Start: Monday, June 24th

End: Monday, September 2nd

Poster Session: Friday, September 6th

Please send inquiries to

Information Session

If you are interested in learning more about the eligibility requirements, financial aid, the application, or the review and selection process, watch the 2024 information session by clicking here.   

  • The summer research program accepts applications from undergraduate students with majors in any of the departments of the School of Physical Sciences (Chemistry & Biochemistry, Mathematics, Physics).
  • Previous recipients of the Undergraduate Summer Research Award are eligible to apply; however, applicants who have not previously received an award will be prioritized. 
  • Applicants must be enrolled UCSD students during the research term in July-August 2024.
    • Enrolled UCSD student meaning you were registered for SP24, are planning on enrolling in FA24, and/or enrolled in Summer Session 2024.  
    • If applicants will be graduating in Spring 2024 and are no longer in attendance at UCSD, they are not eligible to apply. 
  • Financial Aid Disclaimer

    • Students are awarded a $7,500 stipend in support of their time and efforts conducting a summer research project.  
    • Awards are intended to be allocated specifically during summer months for research and will not displace financial aid for the academic year unless the student is enrolled in Summer Session and receiving financial aid.
      • Please note that if you plan to enroll in Summer Session and receive Summer financial aid, you may not be eligible to receive the $7,500 award from the School of Physical Sciences. Per Federal regulations, each student is subject to a limited amount of aid (which includes this summer research award). Students should discuss potential impacts on their financial aid with a counselor at, (858) 534-4480.
  • Students applying to this program need to provide the name and a nonconfidential endorsement letter of a faculty member who commits to serve as a mentor and host for the summer research.
  • Mentor faculty can be affiliated with any department or school at UC San Diego. They do not need to be affiliated with the School of Physical Sciences.
  • For the mentor endorsement letter, it is sufficient to include a simple statement that the faculty agrees to host the student for research on the project over the summer. The faculty letter is not confidential and does not need to contain an evaluation of the student. (Statements from the faculty letter will not be considered for award review and selection)
  • Applications are reviewed by a faculty committee with participation from previous years’ awardee mentors.
  • Review is done by one of three committees, depending on the subject area, consisting of faculty from, respectively, the departments of chemistry & biochemistry, mathematics, or physics.
  • Applications are evaluated in 5 categories:
    • The Personal Statement is evaluated for expressing awareness and motivation for the importance of individual research experience.
    • The Research Plan is evaluated for 1) sufficient description of the broader background for the project, 2) a clear statement about the activities the student will perform, 3) description of the expected outcomes, and 4) whether the project goals are realistic for the summer research period.
  • Each application is reviewed by at least 2 faculty.
  • Start early to identify a mentor for your summer research. Faculty often has ideas about summer research projects. Before preparing an application, speak to the faculty and discuss possible research projects.
  • Do not submit an application without approval by the mentor faculty mentioned in the application.


Initially conceived and started with funding from UC San Diego alumnus Bill Lee, MS 79, PhD 82, the Undergraduate Summer Research Awards provides substantial stipends to enable students to conduct research under faculty mentorship during the summer. Launched in 2018, the program places students in the role of a private investigator, designing and pursuing new research, and learning not only from their successes but also from experiencing failure as an intrinsic element of the scientific process.