Research Opportunities

Research Opportunities

Our Research section lists ongoing research projects within or in conjunction with the Department at this time. Research ranges from Astrophysics to X-ray Optics. If your research interests are still vague, use this site to help you familiarize yourself with current projects. Many of the faculty members in our Department have research opportunities for undergraduates to get involved in. Unit credit is an option for students conducting research under physics faculty supervision. In some cases, research support as a lab assistant may also be possible, both during the academic year and during the summer, although it is common for students to develop some expertise in the research area before they are paid. Check with one of our Undergraduate Advisers, on who has or has had undergraduates in their group in the past.

Finding Research

There are a lot of resources on campus listing research opportunities for undergraduate students. Check for opportunities and listings on the boards outside of the Student Services Office, 368 LeConte Hall.

The Berkeley Physics Undergraduate Research Scholars Program is designed to encourage Physics majors to engage in research. The Physics Department will award a monetary stipend to several physics majors involved in research with Physics faculty. Interested students must apply. Berkeley Physics Undergraduate Scholars will be selected for the program by a committee of Physics faculty, based on evaluation of the student's enthusiasm and record, quality of the project, and level of involvement of the professor. Students selected for this program will be called the Berkeley Physics Undergraduate Research Scholars. Faculty take their mentoring roles very seriously, and will only sign-on students who are committed to their physics projects. The project may be a research paper, authorship on a published paper, or a senior thesis. For additional information and a copy of the application, stop by either Undergraduate Student Services Office in 368 or 376 LeConte.

The Office of Undergraduate Research is an on-line clearinghouse for information about the undergraduate research opportunities on the UC Berkeley campus. Their web site provides up-to-date information on undergraduate research programs, as well as links to summer opportunities and extra-campus programs. They are located in 5 Durant Hall. 

The Undergraduate Research Apprentice Program

Highly motivated undergraduates may apply for semester or year-long opportunities to work closely with faculty mentors on faculty-led research projects. Undergraduates with a 2.0 GPA or above are eligible to apply and those selected may enroll in Undergraduate and Interdisciplinary Studies (UGIS) 192 (1-4 units, P/NP). Descriptions of projects are available during the semesters. Applications are due the first day of the second week of classes. 

Consult other departments and programs for literature regarding their ongoing research projects.

Nonacademic Centers

Two nonacademic centers where students may find research opportunities are:

Space Science Laboratory (SSL)

Located at the top of Centennial Drive.

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL)

One Cyclotron Rd., in Berkeley
Call (510) 486-4372 or (510) 486-5369 for more information.

Research Experiences for Undergraduates

All National Science Foundation REUs
COINS Undergraduate Internship Program in Nanotechnology (summer apprenticeship) 
UC LEADS Mathematics, an engineering and science research program (2 summer apprenticeship and advising to get into PhD programs) 
Center for Energy Efficient Electronics Science (paid summer apprenticeship)
Haas Scholars Program (up to $12,600 to pursue an independent project IN ALL MAJORS; we have funded a number of physics majors over the years; last year we funded Yu-Dong Sun and Jason Ross).
SURF/Rose Hills (up to $6,000 to either pursue an independent project starting summer before final year, OR to pursue a research experience in the summer before the junior year). This is brand new this year! 
McNair Scholars Program This program is for under-represented OR first generation college/low-income students who intend to pursue a PhD.  It funds an independent project and coaches them through the grad application process. 

Contact the Office of Undergraduate Research or the Undergraduate Student Services Office for new information and special opportunities.

Other Summer Opportunities

Visit the Career Center website for internship opportunities on campus or to access the current "Cal Internship Directory". This directory compiles the many Berkeley campus sources from which students can learn about internship opportunities. It includes resources for community service, fieldwork, paid jobs and volunteer positions.

The Segre Internship

The Segre internship is designed for undergraduate or graduate students who have taken the advanced laboratory course (Physics 111). It is a full-time eight-week commitment (during the summer) to work with faculty and professional staff in the laboratory; the goal is to develop new experiments to be used in future semesters in the Physics 111 laboratory. A modest amount of experience with electronic and laboratory equipment and experimental practices is necessary.  Applications for the Segre Internship are available mid-April and due at the end of April every year. For more information and applications please contact Amin Jazaeri, (510) 642-5515.

Workforce Development and Education at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Workforce Development and Education at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory offers Science Undergraduate Lab Internships (SULI) for students. The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory is always to good place to check for research opportunities both in the summer and during the regular academic year. 

The National Science Foundation (NSF)

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Programs. REUs support undergraduate research participation and encourage students to join research projects each summer at universities around the country. Detailed information is available at the NSF website. Search the general REU site and or narrow your search for REU sites in the field of physics

SURF: Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships

SURF: Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships (for L&S students - physics is under their jurisdiction) - The Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship program (SURF) is designed to allow Berkeley undergraduates in the College of Letters and Science to spend the summer doing concentrated research in preparation for a senior thesis or another major capstone research project. Fellows will receive a summer stipend, which is intended to cover basic living expenses for two months.

Summer Research Opportunities Program (Graduate Division)

The SMART Program at the University of California, Berkeley, was established to promote access to graduate education among undergraduates who have been educationally or economically disadvantaged, and who may not have had exposure to the academic environment of a research university. 

Contact program administrators in a timely manner; deadlines are usually highlighted and are as early as beginning of spring semester (January)!!  Always plan ahead.