Undergraduate Programs

Center for Opportunity to Maximize Participation, Access and Student Success (COMPASS)

COMPASS is a resource within Life Sciences designed to invite, enrich, and engage a diverse student body within the STEM disciplines across the UCLA campus. This resource is especially relevant to students from backgrounds traditionally under-represented in the sciences; first-generation college students, students with socioeconomic hardships, and students who have faced significant life challenges.

COMPASS cares about helping students improve their overall educational success and university experience by connecting them with mentors, alumni, study clubs, scholarships, jobs and research programs on and off-campus.

By connecting undergraduate and graduate students to active alumni, professor-mentors, and varied research opportunities within the scientific communities, COMPASS aims to increase diversity, improve communication, and prepare students for impactful careers within the sciences.

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Program for Excellence in Education and Research in the Sciences (PEERS)

The UCLA Program for Excellence in Education and Research in the Sciences (PEERS) is an intensive, 2-year program for incoming freshmen that promotes academic excellence and professional development for students pursuing degrees in the life sciences, physical sciences, or mathematics. The primary objective of the program is to increase the success and persistence of underrepresented and underserved students in the sciences. Despite coming from backgrounds where success in science is limited, PEERS students outperform their counterparts in GPA, engagement in undergraduate research, STEM persistences, time to graduation, graduation rates, and admissions to graduate schools.

UCLA-HHMI Pathways to Success

Pathways is a 4-year, intensive, honors-level program, committed to the academic success and professional development of highly motivated undergraduates from diverse backgrounds, who intend to pursue a career in the life sciences. All HHMI Pathways students engage in cutting edge research with world-class professors, participate in high-level academic collaborative learning workshops, and are a part of a mentoring community to support their success and persistence in STEM.

VIDEO: Life Sciences’ Inclusive Education and UCLA-HHMI Pathways

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Maximizing Access to Research Centers (MARC)

Maximizing Access to Research Careers (MARC) MARC at UCLA is an honors program for third/fourth year undergraduates who want to pursue a PhD or MD-PhD dual-degree in the biomedical sciences. By providing research training, financial support, mentoring, networking opportunities, and academic preparation– the MARC program seeks to increase the number of highly-trained underrepresented biomedical and behavioral scientists in leadership positions to impact the health-related research needs of the nation.

MARC pays for a portion of tuition and fees; provides stipends to undertake research projects in UCLA faculty laboratories during the academic year; provides stipends to undertake research projects at other universities during the summer; provides funding for conference attendance and participation; and provides mentoring and preparation via honors courses, journal clubs and workshops.

UCLA’s transfer students represent over a third of all undergraduates, and they contribute significantly to the overall diversity our undergraduate population: 34% of transfer students come from underrepresented minority groups, >40% are first-generation college students, and half are (or have been) federal Pell grant recipients.

The UCLA Building Excellence for STEM Transfers (BEST) program has been helping our transfer students by:

  • Building faculty awareness around the specific challenges faced by transfer students
  • Restructuring Life Sciences core curriculum to align coursework with community college courses, and creating opportunities for course-based research experiences and apprenticeship-based research opportunities.
  • Establishing a course for transfer students (LS 110) that provides skills in time management, knowledge about academic culture, lab tours, research talks (by other transfer students and faculty), structured learning and advising activities designed to raise awareness of research opportunities on campus and research as a career option, as well as a broader exploration of STEM careers.
  • Establishing Academic Excellence Boot Camp for Bruins in STEM, to introduce transfer students to UCLA on Day 1, and foster the development of student learning communities. For more information, please contact the program coordinator, Dr. Debra Pires (debpires@g.ucla.edu).

UC-HBCU Initiative

UC-HBCU programs provide undergraduates from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) with immersive summer research experiences and mentorship at University of California  schools. Participating HBCU undergraduates who enter PhD programs at UC schools can receive funding for their PhD as part of the University of California–Historically Black Colleges and Universities (UC–HBCU) Initiative Fellowship.

Life Sciences UC-HBCU programs include: