The Undergraduate Research Apprentice Program (URAP) provides an opportunity for Berkeley undergraduates to work with faculty members and research staff on the cutting-edge research projects for which Berkeley is world-renowned. Students meet regularly with mentors for research mentoring and may earn 1 unit of academic credit for each 3 hours of research work (limited to 4 units per term). Fall 2021: Some projects will continue to be held remotely unless noted otherwise. (Please note that some projects at UCSF will require commuting. Please see the Student Transportation Handbook for more information). The program is designed to stimulate awareness of advanced research and interest in graduate study. Students are not paid for their participation. The program is open to UC Berkeley undergraduates only, students enrolled in the UC Extension Concurrent Enrollment program are NOT eligible to apply unless enrolled through BISP or BESAP.
You may submit applications to no more than three URAP mentors (if you submit more than three applications, those won’t be activated and will not be seen by mentors), so please read the descriptions carefully and choose the project or projects that best suit your interests and abilities. IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR STUDENTS APPLYING DURING THE EXTENDED APPLICATION: Please only submit applications if you know that one or more of your original applications are no longer being considered. You should not have more than three actively pending applications at a time. PLEASE DO NOT CONTACT MENTORS WITH QUESTIONS ABOUT THEIR PROJECTS AT THIS TIME (unless they invite you to do so in the project description). Please contact Stefanie Ebeling at urap@berkeley if you have any questions.
You can work on only ONE URAP project in a semester. If you are selected for more than one project, you should make your choice quickly and advise faculty immediately of your plans so that another student may be engaged to work on the project you decline. You will gain more by spending additional time on a single project, and going into greater depth in your research involvement, than by spreading yourself thinly by working on several projects.
Step 1: Prepare Your Application:
- Read the project proposals carefully to see if you have the required skills and qualifications – they vary greatly from project to project. Make a serious assessment of your interests and abilities. Do you find the project truly interesting? Be sure to also look for opportunities outside your major. Many professors’ research projects are multidisciplinary – you may be able to find a project matching your skills and interests in an unexpected place.
- Ask yourself about your time commitments for the coming semester – are your course or extracurricular commitments already unusually heavy? Research apprenticeships are not easy units. To benefit from the program you need to be able to devote at least 3 to 5 hours a week to the project, over the course of the entire term. Be realistic in your assessment of your availability.
- Apply only for projects to which you are prepared to commit yourself, and for which you are qualified (some require only diligence and enthusiasm). Remember that you can only participate in ONE project, even if you will be accepted to more than one. There is little latitude for “shopping” here. You could jeopardize the research project or your potential relationship with the professor by applying to, or accepting, apprentice positions that you cannot carry through the end of the semester.
- Make sure you are eligible. The program is currently open to registered students with a GPA of at least 2.8. (UC Berkeley GPA). Incoming freshmen should enter N/A, incoming transfer students should use their community college GPA. Students in any college and any class level are welcome to apply, although they may not be qualified for every project. A few projects require completion of upper division courses. Please read the qualifications listed along with each project description carefully.
- Return to this site and enter your application information ONLINE. You will be asked for contact and academic data, as well as a statement of interest for each project. In your statement, make sure that you address each project specifically: Why are you interested? Why are you qualified? What skills can you bring to the project, how can you contribute? What classes have you taken that relate to the project? What do you hope to get out of this research experience? Each statement of interest should be about 400 words long (this is a guideline; your statement won’t get cut off if it is longer). Tip: You’ll be cutting and pasting your statement into the online application once you’ve started the application process, so be sure to have it readily available when you begin the online application process.
Step 2: Entering Your Application
- Once you have decided which project(s) you’ll be applying to, and prepared a statement of interest for each project, you are ready to begin the online application process. Go to the URAP application page (the link is at the bottom of this page) and follow the prompts. You’ll receive some instructions, and then be asked for contact information. Please note that you must use your berkeley.edu address. After you have entered your contact information, you’ll be taken to a screen listing all the mentors with open projects. If a professor’s name appears twice, with two different departments, this means that his or her project is cross-listed; you can select either entry. Your selection will in no way affect your application. Please note: If a mentor has multiple projects open and you are interested in more than one, you only need to submit ONE application, but you should indicate your preferences in the statement of interest. If there is really only one project that interests you, say so.
- Next, you will be taken to a screen where you can enter your statement of interest. Paste only the statement of interest that refers to the project to which you are applying; each individual project requires a separate statement of interest and application (except when you are applying to several projects by the same faculty mentor; in this case, you only need to submit one application – see above).
- Now you will be asked to provide information about up to ten college-level classes you have taken that are relevant to the project you are applying to. This is an opportunity for faculty to view your grades, as well as a chance for you to demonstrate your understanding of the skills needed to successfully work as an apprentice on a given project. Do not include information about AP or any other classes at the high school level. Don’t be concerned if you have not yet completed ten relevant courses – this is a maximum number you can provide information about, not a minimum request.
- Click the Save and Continue button. You will now have the opportunity to review your application, then submit it. After submitting the application, you can apply for additional projects (up to 3 total). PLEASE NOTE: If you see the following: “Your application to this professor is now complete!”, you do not need to submit anything else – you are done.
- Some faculty may instruct you to submit a copy of your academic summary/unofficial transcript as part of the application. If so, you will see: “You are almost done, but you have one step left to complete your application!”. In this case, you must also provide a PDF of your academic summary (CalCentral>My Academics>View Academic Summary) to complete your application to this mentor. Instructions for this additional step will be included in the confirmation email you receive after you submit your regular application.
Step 3: After You Submit Your Application
- You will receive a website link to each faculty member’s Message Board. KEEP THIS LINK! URAP mentors will begin using their Message Board to notify applicants of their status as early as August 31st, so please check this link daily! Please check your email during this time as well; some mentors may contact you via email as well as through the Message Board.
- Do not contact faculty or their departments (unless the instructions on their message board explicitly direct you to do so, or your name is posted on the board but you did not receive further instructions). It is your responsibility to check the message board and your email daily. If you do not see a listing by the end of the THIRD week, and you have not received an email from the faculty mentor, you can inquire about the status of your application then.
- Schedule a meeting with your prospective mentor as soon as possible if your name appears on their interview or selection list. If your faculty mentor contacts you by e-mail, respond promptly. (It is recommended to bring your unofficial transcript(s)/academic summary to a first interview. This includes community college and UC Berkeley transcripts). NOTE for Fall 2021: Interviews may be held remotely.
- If you are not selected for a project this semester, check back later in the fall semester for new listings for Spring 2022! Occasionally, some projects may be re-opened after the regular deadline for additional applications; updates will be posted in the Announcements section.
Step 4: If You Are Selected
- Discuss and agree on a Learning Contract with your mentor.
Meet with your URAP mentor as soon as possible to set up a research schedule, to discuss research requirements, and to agree on your Learning Contract. Your mentor will then submit the contract online.
- Confirm and file the contract electronically.
When your mentor submits the contract, you will receive an email message alerting you to the fact that the contract has been submitted. In the same message, you will also find a link to a website, your contract. Go to the website and follow the instructions to review, confirm, and submit the electronic contract. You MUST submit the contract to the URAP office by 9 AM on Wednesday of the fourth week of classes, September 15th!
- Enroll in UGIS 192 for units via CalCentral by Wednesday of the fourth week of classes.
After you file the contract, you will receive an email message from the URAP office with the enrollment information for UGIS 192 (class number and permission number). Use your Permission Number promptly to enroll in UGIS 192. One unit of UGIS 192 is available for every 3 hours of research work you do for your mentor. If you wish to have your research experience annotated on your transcripts, you will need to enroll for at least one unit of UGIS 192. All the changes to your class schedule must be made by Wednesday of the fourth week of classes. This includes adds, drops, and changes in unit value for variable unit courses, so make a realistic assessment of the time you will devote to URAP. To make the deadline, you will need to submit your Learning Contract before 9 AM on Wednesday of the fourth week of classes, September 15th.
- File your Learning Contract by Wednesday of the fourth week of classes, even if you are NOT signing up for units!
Filing a Learning Contract documents your participation in the program and allows us to release some research funds to your faculty mentor to support your research (for books, journals, chemicals, organisms, etc.), and these funds cannot be released until you file your contract! Filing your contract also makes you eligible for a summer stipend or funding for your own research later.
- Submit an online evaluation before the end of exams.
All apprentices are required to complete an online report evaluating their experience as an apprentice, regardless of their enrollment status in UGIS 192. More information about this requirement is emailed to apprentices near the end of the semester. You should expect to spend about 45 minutes completing the report.
IMPORTANT: Remember that you can participate in ONE project per semester. Should you be invited to join more than one project, you need to make a decision and inform the mentors quickly. Questions? Please contact Stefanie Ebeling at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Fall 2021 application will be available August 18-30, 2021.