How To Get Involved In Research as an Undergrad at UCLA


Yours truly presenting at the Undergraduate Research Fair in May (I was too excited to take a normal pic!)

1. UCLA Grand Challenges 

The UCLA Grand Challenges is an Undergraduate Research Scholars Program that is open to second and third years (fourth years and above can apply to be project consultants) and it is open to all majors. This research program focuses on finding sustainable solutions for Los Angeles to reduce CO2 emissions. The course is open to all majors, not just South Campus majors, since you will be working in interdisciplinary groups. For example, when I was a part of this program last year, I worked with people in engineering, art, and biology majors, while I am an international development studies major. We all had different roles in the group depending on our strengths. For example, I focused a lot on the possible policy recommendations that could lead Los Angeles down a more sustainable path.

2. Departmental Honors

This is a great way to meet faculty in your department and get honors credit while doing it. Different departments have different requirements, but a departmental honors will usually require you to work on your thesis and select a faculty member to help you through the year-long process.

3. Capstone majors’ and minors’ requirements 

Many of the majors and minors at UCLA already have research requirements which can make it easier for those who want a little more guidance when working on research. Usually the student academic officers in your department will have an idea of the requirements and will be able to help you through the process.

4. Ask around!

If you feel like the above options are not the right fit for you, you can always ask a professor if they are working on any research that you could assist in. Professors often talk about their cool research projects during class, and if something sparks your interest, don't hesitate to ask! Professors are usually thrilled that someone is interested enough to help. This will give you some research experience, while also giving you the freedom to choose based on your interests.