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Mind the Gap: MSRIP for Graduating Seniors

MSRIP For Graduating Seniors (Mind the Gap) 

The APRO office at UCR's Graduate Division is dedicated to supporting underrepresented and/or under-resourced seniors who are considering graduate school but who were not able to gain much research experience during their four years of undergraduate study. Mind the Gap (or our Mentoring Summer Research Internship Program (MSRIP) for seniors) is an eight-week summer research program available for seniors  from educationally and/or economically disadvantaged backgrounds who will be graduating the fall, spring, or winter quarter preceding the start of the summer program (i.e. Spring 2024 graduates may apply for Mind the Gap for Summer 2024). Participants work under the supervision of a faculty mentor on the mentor’s research project in the summer following their final quarter at UCR. Mind the Gap is intended to encourage outstanding students from diverse backgrounds to pursue their PhD by strengthening their academic and professional development and preparing them for the possibility of a gap year. The program provides an opportunity for students to develop a competitive profile with which to seek admission to graduate school at UC Riverside and the University of California in general, as well as colleges and universities nationwide.

At the end of MSRIP's summer program, MSRIP participants participate in our annual Symposium where students have the opportunity to present their research to staff, faculty, and peers.

The program’s primary objectives are to:

  • Provide preparation for graduate studies through a variety of workshops.
  • Provide a mechanism that fosters faculty/student interrelationships.
  • Give the students a first-hand look at graduate opportunities at UCR.
  • Assist the students in realizing their potential for graduate studies both at UCR and at other institutions.
  • Provide the faculty mentors a recruitment pool through which to bring interns into their departments as graduate students. 
  • Prepare graduating seniors to potentially take a successful gap year (or years)
  • Eligibility
    • Must be a U.S. Citizen, Permanent Resident, DACA, or AB540 [NC1]
    • Must be a student from UCR, including prospective transfer students (those in the process of transferring to UCR) or recent UCR graduates
    • Must be enrolled full-time (except for recent graduates applying to Mind the Gap)
    • Must be in good academic standing 
    • Must be interested in pursuing a graduate degree (i.e. master's, doctoral)
    • Must not be applying to medical school, law school, or other professional degree programs
    • Must not have already applied and/or been accepted into a graduate degree program
    • Must not be planning to enroll in summer coursework during the 8-week summer program
    • First-generation college students, students who have never had a research experience before, students who have experienced socioeconomic hardship, and/or students qualified by other pertinent criteria* are especially encouraged to apply

    *Though state law prohibits selection with preference based on race, color, national origin, or gender, students from minority backgrounds and women in underrepresented fields are strongly encouraged to apply. 

  • Research Areas Available (will be based on faculty availability)

    To view the list of participating faculty for the 2024 academic year, please see https://apro.ucr.edu/2024-faculty-research-list

  • Program Activities
    • Weekly professional development workshops on topics pertinent to the graduate school application process
    • Guidance in developing a research abstract
    • Graduate student experience workshops
    • Successfully presenting your research workshops
    • Cultural and social activities
    • Research Symposium


  • Program Provisions
    • Stipend ($4500); please note stipend is subject to income tax)
  • Program Prohibitions
    • Outside employment during the term of the MSRIP program is not recommended.
    • Summer classes are also discouraged as program is a full-time commitment. 


  • Application Procedure, Deadline and Notification
    • Familiarize yourself with the program and indicate research area(s) you are interested in (please try to be as specific as possible).
    • Application requires biographical information, educational information, recommender information, and a one-page personal statement (see prompt below).
      • Submit unofficial college transcript(s) from all higher education institutions you have attended, including most recent grades. This option will be available on the MSRIP application. 
      • Submit one faculty (preferred) recommender contact information. Applicant will enter recommender's information on the MSRIP application, and they will be sent a recommendation form to fill out.
    • Complete and sign the application.

    MSRIP Personal Statement Prompt:

    The Personal Statement is required of all applicants. Please describe the strengths and challenges of your preparation for graduate study, your reasons for undertaking graduate study at the doctoral level and your career objectives. Provide your personal insights as to why you should be selected for participation in this program and what you expect to gain from this experience. You should address each of these topics in a statement not to exceed 1,000 typed words. (Please double space your statement)

    Application Deadline:  Applications will be open from December 1st, 2023 to March 1st, 2024
    Notification Deadline:  We are currently short-staffed. Please be patient and expect a notification of your status late April to early May.

  • Student Testimonials

    "Participating in the MSRIP program this summer has been an amazing opportunity that granted me access to unforgettable experiences. Being able to meet various students with an array of diverse backgrounds was truly inspiring to me and grew my appreciation for UCR." 

    -MSRIP '23 participant Rae Liu


    "Sometimes, it is easy to give in to imposter syndrome. This research experience provided a space for me to confront those feelings and commit to pursuing a PhD."

    - MSRIP for Transfers '23 participant Nicholas Torres


    "My research experience gave me direction and the skills/resources necessary to pursue said direction. It has honestly been one of the greatest experiences that UCR has offered me."

    -MSRIP/ Latinx & The Environment '23 participant Daniel Gonzalez II

  • FAQ
    1. Are international students eligible?

      • Yes. There will be additional paperwork to fill out, but they are eligible to apply! For more information please contact UCR International Affairs

    2. Are undocumented students eligible?

    3. What are some tips for the personal statement?

      • Read the question carefully, create a rough draft first and have someone read/edit it. We can review your personal statements! Make an appointment with us.

    4. What are some tips for reaching out to potential faculty mentors?

      • Ask peers about their experiences or search faculty lab websites/research publications for areas of research that you may be interested in joining. You can also look on our website for a list of potential mentors. There is an e-mail template provided to help get you started!

    5. Do I have to find a mentor myself?

      • Acceptance into the program is contingent on being matched to a faculty mentor. Also, you will benefit more from the program if you work with a mentor whose research you’re actually interested in. For this reason, we recommend that you at least browse our faculty mentor list and identify the NAME of a faculty member whom you might like to work with. Please list this on your application. Ideally, we recommend that you also reach out to this faculty member and let them know that you are applying.

    6. What is the time commitment?

      • Full-time 40 hour-a-week commitment. Schedule to be worked out with a faculty mentor. Mandatory workshops Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. Occasional workshops/social activities outside of these days.

    7. What does the symposium look like? Do we have to complete our research project in 8 weeks?

      • You don’t have to “finish” your research in 8 weeks. You and your faculty mentor should come up with a plan that would enable you to make enough progress in 8 weeks that you can present something at the symposium - even if it’s inconclusive.

    8. What do the workshops consist of?

      • Preparation for applying to graduate school! Mostly surrounding personal statements, networking, choosing a program, succeeding with research, etc.

    9. Can we take summer classes?

      • It is STRONGLY recommended to NOT take summer classes. Workshop attendance is mandatory. In rare cases, we can make exceptions for transfers or seniors who might be unable to graduate without them. But please contact us directly to discuss your unique case. Also note that if you take out a loan for summer classes, financial aid will automatically apply your stipend towards your loan balance. We have no control over this.

    10. Where do I start with applying?

      • You can fill out the application found under the MSRIP or UC LEADS page on our APRO site. Applications open in Fall 2023.

    11. What is the time commitment for faculty mentors?

      • The actual time spent with the student conducting research will depend on the project. Typically, faculty mentors are expected to meet with their mentee at least once per week (or more often, if needed to check the student's progress and to communicate weekly goals). However, if faculty mentors are busy/traveling, they can deputize a grad student to work with the MSRIP student.

    12. Can students from other UC campuses apply for MSRIP/UC LEADS?

      • For MSRIP, yes - but housing is not paid for and they will be given lower priority. For UC LEADS, we want them to come to UCR for their second summer.

    13. Can seniors apply?

      • Yes, but only to MSRIP. The UC Leads program is a 2 summer commitment so it does not accept current seniors. For MSRIP, we have a specialized track designed for seniors graduating the Spring before MSRIP begins!

    14. What type of research do students do?

      • All kinds! Visit our website to view research projects from years prior

    15. Is housing provided?

      • No. UC Leads scholars have housing paid for during their second summer experience at another UC. UC Leads students do not have their first summer housing at UCR paid for, and for MSRIP there is no housing provided.

    16. Does the stipend continue past the summer?

      • No, it will all be dispersed in the summer. There will be no mandatory programming after the summer program ends.

    17. Can someone with no prior research experience apply?

      • Yes, students with no prior research experience are especially encouraged to apply.

    18. Do I need a letter of recommendation?

      • You need a recommender - they will be sent a form with prompts they will need to answer about you. They will not be able to fill out the form until after you’ve applied. We recommend that your letter come from a faculty member, but a TA or employer is fine too. Whoever can best speak to your dedication, responsibility, and potential as a future researcher.

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