Students walking past UCR sign with bell tower in the background on a sunny day.

Graduate Prep Programs

Undergraduate Summer Research Program 

Mentoring Summer Research Internship Program (MSRIP)

Established in 1987, MSRIP is an eight-week summer research program designed for rising juniors, seniors (and some rising masters students) from educationally and/or economically disadvantaged backgrounds. Participants work under the supervision of a faculty mentor on the mentor’s research project. The MSRIP is intended to encourage outstanding students from diverse backgrounds to pursue their PhD by strengthening their academic and professional development. The program provides an opportunity for these students to develop a competitive profile with which to seek admission to the UC Riverside and the University of California in general, as well as colleges and universities nationwide. The program’s primary objectives are to: 1) provide preparation for graduate studies through a variety of workshops; 2) provide a mechanism that fosters faculty/student interrelationships; 3) give the students a first-hand look at graduate opportunities at UCR; 4) assist the students in realizing their potential for graduate studies both at UCR and at other institutions; and 5) provide the faculty mentors a recruitment pool through which to bring interns into their departments as graduate students. Many MSRIP alumni have successfully completed their doctorates here at UCR or at other Ph.D.-granting institutions. Though state law prohibits selection with preference based on race, color, national origin, or gender, students from minority backgrounds and women in underrepresented fields who meet the eligibility criteria are strongly encouraged to apply. 

Program Term 2020:  June 22 - August 14, 2020.  Eight weeks.


  • U.S. citizen, permanent residents and AB540
  • Students from community college, four-year institutions who are entering their Junior or Senior years, or first-year master's students enrolling at UCR in the Fall
  • Students interested in pursuing a graduate degree (i.e., master's doctoral)
  • First-generation college students, those from socioeconomic hardship backgrounds, or students qualified by other pertinent criteria
  • Minimum 3.0 GPA required of all students
  • Undergraduates must be enrolled full-time at a university or community college

Research Areas Available

  • Physical, biological and agricultural sciences
  • Chemical/environmental, electrical, mechanical and bioengineering
  • Computer sciences
  • Mathematics
  • Social sciences
  • Humanities and education

Program Activities

  • GRE prep courses
  • Weekly professional development workshops on topics pertinent to the graduate school application process
  • Guidance in developing a research abstract
  • Graduate student experience workshop
  • Making a successful presentation workshop
  • Some cultural and social activities available
  • Research Symposium

Program Provisions

  • Stipend (generally $3,000)
  • Room and board (as appropriate)
  • Out-of-state transportation (up to $500)

Program Prohibitions

Employment, as well as enrollment in other courses is not allowed during the term of the program.

Application Procedure, Deadline and Notification

  • Complete and sign the MSRIP Application 
  • Familiarize yourself with the MSRIP 2020 Faculty Research Projects and indicate the faculty mentors with whom you would like to work on the first page of the application
  • Application requires biographical information, education information and a one-page statement of purpose

Application Deadline:  Monday, February 17, 2020                                 Notification Deadline:  TBA

  • Submit unofficial college transcript(s) from all higher education institutions you have attended, including Fall 2019 grades
  • Submit two faculty letters of recommendation (forms available with MSRIP application)
  • Submit a Financial Aid Transcript from your institution (where available).  This can be a form or a letter, often printed from your campus' online system, which outlines the financial aid you have received each year of your schooling.  Alternatively, you may write a letter stating that you have not received any financial aid if this is the case.

2020 MSRIP Application 

List of Faculty Projects (2020)

Contact:   Maria Franco-Gallardo   •  Program Director   •   •   (951) 827-3680     •

UC Leadership Excellence through Advanced Degrees (UC LEADS)                                                                                    

The UC Leadership Excellence through Advanced DegreeS (UC LEADS) Program is a 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.  

Program Provisions

Undergraduate Mentorship Experience:  Students are matched with UC faculty mentors who will assist the scholar in developing and completing a plan of action.  This plan includes research experiences, graduate school preparation, as well as attendance and participation at regional or national professional and scientific society meetings and conferences.  Students selected will participate in two summer research experiences, one at UCR, the second at another UC campus.

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

The 2020-2022 Application is Now Available HERE

Application Deadline:  March 9, 2020                                 Notification Deadline:  TBA

Contact:   Maria Franco-Gallardo   •  Program Director   •   •   (951) 827-3680     •

Graduate Preparation Programs for International Students

Sally Casanova Pre-Doctoral Program 

The Sally Casanova Pre-Doctoral Program (CPDP) is intended to enhance the probability of educationally and/or economically disadvantaged juniors, seniors or master’s students from CSU campuses gaining entrance into University of California doctoral programs. A joint advisory committee of CSU and UC representatives selects approximately 70 scholars to participate in CPDP during each academic year through the following summer. Cal Pre-Doc scholars have participated in UCR summer research programs, and many have continued into our Ph.D. programs in science, math, humanities and social sciences. One or two CPDP students participate in the MSRIP program at UCR each year. 

Monthly "Get Connected" Meetings 

Monthly “Get Connected” meetings serve as a venue for graduate students and APO staff to network and provide students with a supportive and enriching environment geared toward professional development. During these meetings, students present their research to their peers in order to refine their presentation and communication skills. These meetings are student-driven and the topics change quarterly based on what our students express a need for. 


APO staff conduct workshops at UCR and regionally neighboring campuses to inform undergraduates about the graduate program application process. Staff advise undergraduates about what is required for admission consideration, as well as to prepare them to put together a strong graduate application. One-on-one counseling appointments are also available with the APO director upon request.