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UC Leads

UC Leadership Excellence through Advanced Degrees

The UC Leadership Excellence through Advanced DegreeS (UC LEADS) Program is a UC system wide academic preparation, two-year program designed to identify educationally and/or economically disadvantaged undergraduates pursuing degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), who will conceivably complete doctorate degrees. This program provides students with educational experiences that prepare them to assume positions of leadership in industry, government, public service, and academia following the completion of a doctoral degree, preferably at the University of California. Sophomore students (or juniors planning on staying a complete fifth year) are encouraged to apply.  

Summer 2024 Dates: June 24, 2024- August 16, 2024

Please note: the Summer 2024 application is now closed. Please apply for next year's Summer 2025 program.

Potential Faculty Mentors

For Students: Students are encouraged to review the Potential Faculty Mentors list (on the right-hand side of this page under the 2024 Application button). This list includes the names, research interests, and labs of UCR faculty who students may wish to work with. 

For Faculty: Faculty who are interested in mentoring a UCR student participating in UC LEADS are encouraged to submit an interest form (on the right-hand side of this page). 

Note: The list is non-exhaustive, students may work with UCR faculty members who are not on the list. If a student requires assistance in reaching out to a potential faculty mentor (whether or not they are on the list) the APRO Office can assist. 

  • Components & Benefits
    • Two paid summer research experiences. First summer is spent at UCR, second summer is spent at a UC of your choice. 
    • Travel funding to attend professional meetings or scientific conferences.
    • Poster presentations at the annual UC LEADS Research and Leadership Symposium.
    • Poster presentations at the end of summer programs.
    • Research experience (all year).
    • Application fee waivers to UC graduate programs. 
    • Professional development opportunities.
    • Networking opportunities with other students interested in STEM from UCR as well as other UC's. 
    • Potential source for letters of recommendation and networking opportunities. 


  • Eligibility
    • Must be a current UCR student in a science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM) major.
    • Must be a U.S Citizen or Permanent Resident.
    • Must be a first or second-year undergraduate student or a third year with two or more years until graduation. This is a two-year program and the scholar will need to be available during those two full academic years. 
    • Must be in good academic standing in undergraduate degree program at UCR. 
    • Interested in scientific research and pursing a PhD degree after graduation.
    • Educationally and/or economically disadvantaged. 
    • Able to demonstrate potential for success in a graduate program. 


  • Research Areas Available

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

  • Program Expectations
    • Must commit to participate in the program for two-years.
    • Must maintain good academic standing while in the program. 
    • Cannot take summer classes during the summer sessions.

    All UC LEADS Scholars are expected to participate in the annual "Research & Leadership Symposium".  The event features:

    • Scientific and academic presentation by leaders in the STEM fields of study
    • Opportunity to present and receive feedback on individual work from faculty
    • Presentations about graduate programs of study with the University of California
    • Presentations by leaders in industry and government


  • Tentative Timeline for Program Participants
    • June
      • 1st years: Participate in full-time summer program at UCR.
        • Summer 2024 Dates: June 24 - August 16, 2024
      • 2nd years: Participate in full-time summer program at chosen UC Campus.
    • July
      • 1st years: Participate in full-time summer program at UCR.
      • 2nd years: Participate in full-time summer program at chosen UC Campus. Finalize a graduate school plan of action. 
    • August
      • 1st years: Present summer research at UCR symposium. 
      • 2nd years: Present summer research at chosen UC campus symposium. 
    • September
      • 1st years: Begin exploring second summer placements. 
      • 1st & 2nd years: Make plans to attend national research conferences. 
    • October
      • 2nd years: Apply to graduate schools and fellowships.
    • November
      • 1st years: Finalize second summer placements between now and mid-February.
    • January
      • 1st & 2nd years: Register for symposium and submit abstract. 
    • February
      • 1st years: Second summer placements should be finalized.
    • March
      • 1st years & 2nd years: UC Leads Research and Leadership Symposium (must present). 
    • April
      • 1st years: Confirm with faculty mentors about working with them during upcoming summer.
      • 2nd years: Accept graduate school offers.
  • Application 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 one faculty (preferred) letter of recommendation. Applicant will enter recommender's information on the application.
    • Complete the Application

    UC LEADS 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: 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

    "UC LEADS provided me with wonderful opportunities and insights regarding my future education and career goals. The program taught me the importance of independence and advocating for myself and others like me. Not only that, but it also provided me with a sense of community that inspired inspired me to help create supportive communities that provide similar opportunities and mentorship to others." - Queenie Lin, Current UC LEADS Scholar 


  • FAQ

    Please visit our summer programs FAQ page MSRIP FAQ

UC LEADS Summer 2024 Placements

UC LEADS second summer placements

Contact Us: apro@ucr.edu

Academic Preparation, Recruitment and Outreach

Graduate Division



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