REAL (Research Experience and Applied Learning) opportunities allow you to apply academic knowledge in real-world settings. There are many places to find research and applied learning opportunities if you are proactive in your search. Here are some ideas and resources to help you get started.
- Search REAL Portal
- Discover opportunities on and off campus
- Get involved with co-curricular opportunities on campus
- Connect with your professors, academic department, or other faculty members
- Discover professional organizations/societies, government research agencies, and other networks to find research and internship opportunities
- Create and maintain a profile to have opportunities find you
Use your UC San Diego Student SSO credentials to search the REAL Portal.
- Use the filters to narrow opportunities based on your criteria
- Keeping in mind your interests and goals, search available opportunities on this Portal. Be mindful that some opportunities may be eligible for academic credit, a stipend, or part-time salary.
- Explore these opportunities further by visiting faculty or company websites, reading recently published work, or getting firsthand information from your friends, teaching assistants, and academic advisors.
- Identify one or more opportunities aligned with your interests and goals.
There are many places to discover opportunities and get involved both on an off-campus. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Contact a faculty member by email or during office hours to discuss or express interest in their work
- Make a list of faculty members with whom you have taken courses and whose work has influenced your academic interests
- Attend lectures on campus to familiarize yourself with faculty members outside your major
- Check departmental websites for up-to-date information on faculty research and publications
- Look at recent course listings for both undergraduate and graduate in relevant departments to find out what faculty members are teaching
- Do your homework before you go to office hours to understand the faculty member's interests. Read an article and think of a couple interesting questions.
- Utilize campus resources to find research opportunities and funding:
- Undergraduate Research Conference and Conference for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH)
- Faculty Mentor Program
- Frontiers of Innovation Scholars Program (FISP) Symposium
- McNair Program
- Summer Research Conference
- Summer Research Program
- UC Scholars Program
- Undergraduate Research Scholarships
- Review academic department or program resources to find research and applied learning in a particular discipline
- Find research and internship opportunities with government agencies in your field or discipline:
- National Science Foundation (NSF) funds a large number of research opportunities for undergraduate students through its REU Sites program.
- National Institutes of Health (NIH) is a US government agency advancing biomedical and public health research.
- Find other co-curricular opportunities on campus.There are many places to get involved on campus, here are just some:
You can create and maintain an online profile to have opportunities find you. The REAL Portal connects you to UC San Diego faculty, research scientists, industry partners, and the public. Maintaining an up-to-date profile on the Portal will increase your visibility to potential advisors and employers.
- Login to the profiles page.
- Enter the requested information or, if you have a LinkedIn or Portfolium account, import your profile information.
- Keep in mind:
- your profile should clearly present your relevant experience, competencies, and future goals;
- the statement of purpose or other narrative should be authentic, thoughtful, and concise; and
- typos and grammatical errors reflect poorly on an applicant’s professionalism and attention to detail.
- LinkedIn provides additional guidance on creating a complete online profile.
Determine your eligibility and consider timelines.
Look for eligibility requirements, including GPA, academic standing, citizenship, or other conditions of participation. International students may need to confirm work authorization.
Make sure to consider the application deadlines and the time commitment.
Apply to opportunities that match your interests and goals.Apply for those positions using the method and style indicated within the posting (e.g. email, PDFs, online application).
UC San Diego's Career Services Center offers:
Use the Engaged Learning Tools to help capture and share your experience with future employers and graduate programs:
Co-Curricular Record (CCR): Capture your activities, achievements, and skills developed outside the classroom on a verified record.
Enhanced Electronic Transcript: Review your academic history with helpful contextual details like instructor name and grade distribution.Portfolium: Showcase your honors, achievements, skills, and abilities in a electronic portfolio.