Research Opportunities, Scholarships, and Funding

Research Opportunities, Scholarships, and Funding

Upcoming Events

Undergraduate Research Fair

Our third semesterly Physics Undergraduate Research Fair will be held (virtually) on Thursday, August 26th, 2021, from 4 to 6 p.m. on the platform. The RSVP form was emailed to physics majors and intended majors, and the specific URL will be emailed to physics majors and intended majors soon. Physics faculty will share about their research and available research positions (if applicable), and then students will have the chance to visit virtual office hours to learn more about professors' research and research opportunities. After the event, students can apply to available research positions via URAP and/or GoogleForm application that will be sent to all research fair participants. 


Looking for research? 

You are in the right place!  Our research section provides guidance in finding research within or in conjunction with the Physics Department. If your research interests are still vague, use this site to help you familiarize yourself with current projects.  Students can receive unit credit for conducting research under physics faculty supervision (if research is outside the department, it may still be possible to get units - check with a major advisor to understand your options). In some cases, paid research positions may also be possible during the academic year and over the summer.  Paid positions typically require students to have some experience in the group's subfield.  If you have questions about finding research and/or want more information about the resources on this page, please drop in to see Kathleen Cooney (374 Physics North) or Anna Hilke (368 Physics North).  

Finding Research

Many of the faculty members in our department have research opportunities for undergraduates.  To secure a position, students typically email several faculty members expressing interest in their research (please do some pre-reading to make sure you understand what they are working on!).  Don't worry if you don't hear back right away.  Faculty are very busy and it may require some polite follow-up to get a response.  You may also consider reaching out to graduate students that you know.  Many of them are in research and will likely know if there are positions available in their group.

Other common places for students to find research are at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab (LBNL), Space Sciences Lab (SSL), and Advanced Light Source (operated by LBL).  You can learn more about these resources below.  Our students also find research outside of the department in areas such as Chemistry, Nuclear Engineering, and Astrophysics.  Consult other departments for literature regarding their ongoing research projects.  

Finally, there are a lot of more general resources on campus that list research opportunities for undergraduate students.  Many are listed below (including a few "off campus" resources).  Don't forget to check your email!  We often send out research opportunities for students as well as post to the boards outside of the Student Services Office on the 3rd floor of Physics North.


Research Opportunities for Undergraduates


The Pi2 Summer Scholars Program

Berkeley Physics is proud to launch the Physics Innovators Initiative (Pi2) Scholars Program. This program provides funding for undergraduates to perform research, learn to design the tools that enable such research, develop their scientific independence, and realize their potential as physicists. 

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. Click here for REU sites in the field of physics. 

SULI/Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internship 

SULI is a research program for undergradutes that is sponsored by the Department of Energy.  There are three separate internship terms (Fall/Spring/Summer).  Each term has its own deadline.  Click here for term deadlines.  Applicants will need to supply a transcript, essay, and two letters of recommendation.  You can learn all about the SULI/LBL application process here.

Space Sciences Lab (SSL)

SSL is located just up the hill from campus at the top of Centennial Drive.  Click here for a list of the active research projects at SSL.  

Pathways to Science

Database of lots of different opportunities - REU, Post-Bacc and Internships.  Click here to start looking!

Office of Undergraduate Research and Scholarships (OURS)

OURS is an online clearinghouse for information about undergraduate research opportunities and funding 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. 


Undergraduate Research Apprentice Program (URAP)

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). Limited funding is available over the summer as well.  Check the URAP website for Fall 2020 opportunities in late June.  Applications are due the first day of the second week of classes.   

Undergraduate Laboratory at Berkeley (ULAB)

ULAB works to make the transition into research at UC Berkeley less formidable and more accessible. Over the course of an academic year, program participants develop and execute a research project of their choice with the guidance of experienced undergraduate mentors. ULAB offers student positions to those interested in starting research and staff positions to those looking to get more involved in the research community.

N3AS Undergraduate Research Program

The Network for Neutrinos, Nuclear Astrophysics, and Symmetries (N3AS) is a multi-institutional collaboration dedicated to recruiting and training postdoctoral and undergraduate researchers interested in neutrino physics and astrophysics, nuclear astrophysics topics ranging from supernova and neutron star modeling to dark matter, and fundamental symmetries.  N3AS offers a paid research and mentorship program that pairs undergraduates with N3AS mentors to participate in research, and explore their academic and career goals.  The program accepts students in the fall and spring.  

Space Sciences Laboratory (SSL)

SSL is located just up the hill from campus at the top of Centennial Drive.  Click here for a list of the active research projects at SSL.  

Office of Undergraduate Research & Scholarships (OURS)

OURS is an online clearinghouse for information about undergraduate research opportunities and funding 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. 

Opportunities at Other Universities

A very comprehensive guide to Summer REU opportunities outside the Berkeley community was put together by Tiffany Reardon in the College of Engineering.  Please note, nearly all of these opportunities are available year-after-year, so please disregard "2017" in the document title.

Research Scholarships and Funding for Undergraduates

The 2021 Pi2 Summer Scholars Program

Berkeley Physics is proud to launch the Physics Innovators Initiative (Pi2) Scholars Program. This program provides funding for undergraduates to perform research, learn to design the tools that enable such research, develop their scientific independence, and realize their potential as physicists. $5500 summer stipend will be provided for Pi2 scholars.

Each Pi2 scholar will work closely with dedicated graduate student and/or postdoc mentors on their projects. Pi2 Scholars will also participate in a number of activities with their cohorts which could include lectures, roundtable discussions and hiking excursions. Final projects will require a written report and a poster presentation open to the whole department at the end of the summer.

The Berkeley Physics Undergraduate Research Scholars Program (BPURS)

BPURS 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. Participants 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 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 see Kathleen Cooney (374 Physics North). 

1) Only declared and registered Physics majors are eligible.
2) A student must find a professor in the Physics Department who will act as a sponsor. The professor and student should complete the application form and commit to a proposed deliverable. Students accepted into the program will be notified ASAP.
3) At the end of the semester, the professor will sign off if the deliverable is complete. The deliverable  must be submitted to 368 or 376 Physics North by the last day of finals. The student must participate in the Undergraduate Poster session in the Spring. The $500 stipend will be awarded after the event.
4) A poster must be presented at the Undergraduate Poster Session to be held in early April.

Application and Deadline information:
Applications will be sent out to students on the Physics major email listserv before the fall and spring semesters. The deadline for the fall application is always the second Friday in September. The deadline for the spring application is always the first Friday in February. 

Some students opt to apply for BPURS in both the fall and the spring semesters, in which case they would earn a $1000 stipend after the April poster session. 
Check out this list of projects by past BPURS Scholars!


Cal Nerds is home to many programs to encourage and support STEM undergraduates in research.  Click here to learn about scholarship and fellowship opportunities (and many other programs for students in STEM!). 

Haas Scholars

Students who are selected as Haas Scholars receive upwards of $12,600 to conduct their research.  Recipients are considered from all majors.  Three physics majors were selected as Haas Scholars in the 2018-2019 cycle.  Click here to learn more about the application process.  

SURF/Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships

The SURF program offers four different fellowships each with particular eligibility requirements. Learn more about the different fellowships here.

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. Apply here.


Looking for an internship?

Career Center

Use the Career Center's career database Handshake for internship opportunities. You'll need to create an account and input a few details (major, expected grad date, etc.).  You can search by location, job title, company, industry, or particular skill.  Please make an appointment with Kathleen Cooney ( or Anna Hilke ( if you'd like your resume/CV reviewed in advance of your internship search.

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.


Mentoring Opportunities

Berkeley Career Network

This is a cool new service offered by the Career Center.  Once you make an account, you can browse over 1,000 Berkeley Alumni who've expressed interest in mentoring undergrads.  Find someone with a job you want or experience you are interested in and start a conversation.  Remember, these are alums who want to be mentors so don't be nervous about making contact!

Student Mentoring and Research Teams (SMART)

SMART is a program that enables doctoral students to create mentored research opportunities for undergraduate students at UC Berkeley. The program provides summer funding for both graduate and undergraduate participants and opportunities to share research results on campus and at national conferences.  Click here to learn more and apply.