There are many great reasons to engage in research, and you do not need to have previous experience in research to do so! The Transfer Research Timeline outlines a basic plan of action for transfers who are interested in getting involved in research while they are at UCLA.
If you are considering graduate school and would like to graduate in two years, it is best to start exploring your research options during your first couple of quarters at UCLA. You can adjust this timeline accordingly if you are planning to stay three years rather than two, and/or if you are planning to do research in more than one field.
Research is going to look different in every major and in every lab. If you are unsure what research is, why to get involved in research, and/or how to get started in research be sure to visit the Undergraduate Research Centers for the Sciences and Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, attend workshops, and browse the online resources available through Powell Library.
- Start exploring areas of research you are interested in. Read scientific journal articles and attend public seminars.
- Visit office hours to speak with your professors and TAs. Let them know of your research interests and ask questions about their work.
- If you plan to apply to the Biomedical Research Minor, be sure to take one of the introductory courses.
Pursue a research position
- If you are interested in graduating in two years and/or applying to graduate school after earning your bachelor’s degree, now is the time to pursue a research position.
- Visit the Undergraduate Research Centers, attend workshops, and browse the online resources available through Powell Library.
- Contact the STEM Transfer Community if you are interested in meeting other transfers interested in STEM research.
- Look at the faculty profiles on UCLA departmental websites to learn more about faculty research projects.
- Visit the Undergraduate Research Portal to search for available opportunities.
- It is also smart to talk to your professors, TAs, and other students because more often than not opportunity may happen through word of mouth.
- If there is a professor who is doing work you are interested in go speak with them. Ask for an informational meeting, express your interest in their research, you never know what might happen! More often than not, professors are over the moon to meet with curious and interested students. So do not be afraid to search out opportunity.
Look into earning academic credit
- You can earn academic credit for your research by enrolling in Student Research Programs (SRP) courses. There are two options SRP 99 and SRP 199, see an Undergraduate Research Center Advisor or a departmental advisor to find out which is the best fit for you.
- Other upper division contract courses also offer both research opportunity and class credit. These are generally course numbered in the 190’s and they are contract courses so must be arranged with a faculty advisor before Friday of week 2 (see ‘Enrollment in Contract Courses’ on the Registrar’s Office Website).
Apply to programs and grants
- Apply to programs and grants to get you started in research (STEM, Humanities, Arts, Social Sciences).
- Apply to participate in the UCLA Undergraduate Research Week (happens every Spring quarter) to showcase your work!
- If you are interested in doing research over the summer, apply to summer programs for undergraduate research for funding.
General Transfer Tips on Research
Participate in student research experiences
- Participate in student research experiences like summer research opportunities, volunteer work, etc. A good letter of recommendation from one of these sources will make you a strong candidate for university research positions and graduate schools.
If you are thinking about starting lab on your first quarter…
- Most transfer students would be discouraged from starting lab in first term at UCLA since time is needed to get used to the new environment, the fast-moving ten-week quarter system, and the UCLA academic load.
- The exception to this group would be someone who has research experience and/or has a high transfer GPA (3.75 and higher).
Maintain a high GPA
- In order to stay competitive, especially in science and math courses, try to maintain a high GPA (minimally 3.0).
Try to get two years of research experience
- Generally, at least two years of research experience is considered proper preparation for graduate programs.
Utilize the resources available at UCLA
- Visit the Undergraduate Research Centers , attend workshops, and browse the online resources available through Powell Library .
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