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, attend workshops and browse the online resources available through Powell Library, and explore other opportunities here and here.
Pursue a research position
- If you have not started researching your options yet please refer to the suggestions listed in the Summer/Fall Quarter section above. Do not worry if you have not already explored these options. You have time, however if you are interested in graduating in two years and/or applying to graduate school after graduating with 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 , and explore other opportunities here and here .
- Contact the STEM Transfer Community if you are interested in meeting other transfers interested in STEM research.
- Brainstorm topics or areas of research that you may find interesting and find professors who are doing this research.
- Read academic journal articles in your major or an area of interest.
- Look at the faculty profiles on UCLA departmental websites to learn more about faculty research projects.
- 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! The worst that could happen is that they are too busy to meet. More often than not, however, professors are over the moon to meet with curious and interested students. So do not be afraid to search out opportunity.
- If you have already applied for a position, you may start working in a lab this quarter.
Look into earning academic credit
- You can earn academic credit for your research by enrolling in Student Research Programs (SRP) ( STEM and Humanities, Arts, Social Sciences ) course. 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 ).
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 (3.5 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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