Research Opportunities

Undergraduate research is a signature feature of the UC Santa Barbara experience. Students have the opportunity to initiate their own research projects with faculty mentorship. In addition, over 56% of UCSB undergraduates work with faculty, assisting them on innovative research in the humanities, social sciences, arts, and sciences. As a Minority Serving Institution, UCSB is dedicated to providing undergraduate research experiences that are inclusive of the sociocultural identities and intellectual interests of students from diverse backgrounds.

The Division of Undergraduate Education has 2 programs supporting undergraduate involvement in research: The Faculty Research Assistance Program (FRAP) and the Undergraduate Research & Creative Activities (URCA) grant. 

Benefits of Research

College is a time to ask questions and get the answers to questions you have always had. This process can happen through your classes but you can take critical thinking to the next level in out-of-class research experiences. Research means discovery, and integrating discovery into the college experience moves you from being a consumer of knowledge to a creator of knowledge. Employers and graduate schools specifically look for and value these skills.

Doing research as an undergraduate student gives students insight into what being at a research university is all about. It is likely that you learned about research in your classes and many of you may have already conducted a research project as part of your classes. Doing research outside of the classroom can offer you an inside perspective as to what research really is. Whether you are working in a lab, reading archival material, or giving a performance, you will learn the particulars of the research process in a particular area of study.

Learn more and read student blogs on the Office of Research’s Undergraduate Research Site

Faculty Research Assistance Program (FRAP)

Through FRAP, students can apply to work with faculty on existing projects.

Undergraduate Research & Creative Activities (URCA)

Through URCA, students can receive funding for independent research projects or creative activities.

Other Research Opportunities

Additional UCSB and non-UCSB opportunities are listed in the Other Research Opportunities section.

Undergraduate Research Colloquium

Undergraduates can present the results of their research at the Undergraduate Research Colloquium, held each spring at UC Santa Barbara.

Undergraduate Research Slam

The Undergraduate Research Slam offers students the chance to give dynamic, 3-minute oral presentations of their research or creative activity to a panel of judges.

Other Research Awards for Undergraduates

Students are also eligible to apply for awards honoring outstanding undergraduate research, including: The Chancellor’s Award and the UCSB Library Award for Undergraduate Research.