Research Opportunities in Physics


Berkeley students are lucky to study at a research university: new knowledge is being produced around us all the time. Many students would like to make research part of their undergraduate experience, but some aren’t sure how to begin. Recently, graduate student mentor Micah Brush led Berkeley Connect Physics students through a discussion of how to get involved in laboratory research.

Brush encouraged students to prowl through faculty pages and attend physics colloquia for exposure to research subjects. Some other tips students shared with each other were to attend professors’ office hours, apply to many programs, and send proposals between semesters.

The class compiled a list of resources for aspiring researchers (or simply curious lifelong learners) who want to begin exploring the academic landscape. Learn more about these research opportunities below:

Physics@Berkeley In addition to providing course requirements and degree guidance, the UC Berkeley Physics website has compiled a Berkeley-specific list of information for students interested in pursuing research on campus.

Office of Undergraduate Research and Scholarship OURS seeks to connect undergraduate students with research at UC Berkeley. The website summarizes core research programs and prestigious scholarships. The most popular programs offered by the OURS office include URAP and SURF.

The Undergraduate Research Apprenticeship Program (URAP) pairs students with faculty members to assist with pre-determined research projects.

The Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) provides a stipend of $4000 to $6000 for students to research a topic of their own interest through the summer. Fellows are assigned to research clusters, led by a SURF Program Advisor, enabling them to collaborate and learn from a community of like-minded peers.

Society of Physics Students The SPS is a national organization for students interested in Physics. The organization offers internships for undergraduate SPS members. Students may get involved with SPS through the Berkeley SPS Chapter.

National Science Foundation The NSF may funds research opportunities for undergraduate students. This is a great place to look for research for students who  have developed specific research interests or hope to research at a specific host institution.

Local or afar, there is no lack of research opportunities for Physics students. As Brush counseled his Berkeley Connect students, don’t miss out! Participating firsthand in a research project is a great addition to your undergraduate education.

posted by Gloria Choi

Berkeley Connect Communications Assistant