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Undergraduate Research Options

Historically, UC Irvine students from a number of different academic backgrounds have become undergraduate researchers in the Department of Epidemiology.  Examples of past student undergraduate majors have included statistics, biological sciences, public health sciences, computer sciences, informatics, earth systems science, chemistry, mathematics, physics, engineering and others. Our students have overwhelmingly reported that their research experience in the Department of Epidemiology has proven helpful in refining their intellectual and scholarly interests, and in improving their critical reasoning skills.

Since academic coursework must be your highest priority as a student at UC Irvine, the department’s faculty recommends that students maintain  a minimum cumulative UC GPA of 3.0 in order to participate in our "199" research program. The department's faculty is especially interested in UC Irvine undergraduate students who are planning, upon their graduation, to pursue an advanced degree (e.g., MS, MPH, PhD, MD) in epidemiology or a related discipline such as medicine, public health, biostatistics, biomedical science/engineering, earth science or environmental science.

How do students interested in acquiring a research experience get started?  For the Department of Epidemiology, you should first try to match your particular academic interest with that of one or more faculty members in the department.  This can be accomplished by reviewing individual faculty research interests. When you find faculty who have a shared intellectual and research interest, you should e-mail that faculty member directly by using the contact information provided in their respective faculty profile.  In that e-mail please state your major, what year of study you are in, what elements of their research you have an interest in and your reasons for wanting an undergraduate research experience.  You should also state if you are looking for a research experience for academic credit, work-study or as a volunteer research assistant.  Other than an existing Work-Study grant held by the interested student,  other paid positions are rare. 

Research experiences for undergraduates can be arranged independently, as detailed above, or through several organized campus programs. Individually, you can make arrangements directly with an epidemiology faculty member to receive academic credit via the campus’ 199 course program.  In addition, the Department of Epidemiology actively participates in several organized on-campus programs geared towards helping students enhance their overall research experience as follows:

  • The University Research Opportunities Program (UROP) is a campus-wide program that is available to all UC Irvine undergraduates.  This program integrates your research experience with broader discussion sections, workshops and an annual journal publication of student work.  UROP can also assist students in finding a research experience appropriate for them.
  • The UCLEADS Program is a competitive UC system-wide program that is available to students in the sciences, mathematics, engineering and technology disciplines who are completing their sophomore year of study and plan to attend graduate school after earning their Bachelor’s degree.  It is an excellent program designed to educate California's future leaders and seeks to attract individuals from a broad range of socioeconomic, cultural, and ethnic backgrounds. Scholars participate in two summer research experiences. The initial experience takes place on the UC Irvine campus. The second summer research experience occurs at another UC campus. Students receive housing and modest living expenses paid for by UC Irvine 's Graduate Division.
  • The Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship Program (SURF) offers undergraduate diversity students with outstanding academic potential an opportunity to work closely with faculty mentors on research projects. This competitive summer program provides undergraduate students planning to pursue a PhD degree with both research experience and the information needed to facilitate the application, admission and enrollment process for graduate school. This program is open to those interested in epidemiology as well as other academic fields.
The Department of Epidemiology maintains an EEE website for the EPIDEM 199 courses we offer to undergraduates.  You can login and review our EEE course websites by using your UCInetID.  You do not need to be enrolled in a particular course or section to view the website.