Application Details

Research Associate Program: Application Details

Our Summer 2021 application cycle is now open! Applications are due by Monday, April 5 at 11:59 PM PDT.


The SLC Research Associate Program provides full-time support for a select group of undergraduates to propose and pursue their own research projects. Designed explicitly for low-income, first-generation junior transfer students, our program offers each fellow a highly structured environment in which to develop critical inquiry methods and grow both creatively and intellectually. Each fellow will leave the program with a 15-20 page research paper reflective of their deep engagement in the research process.

Benefits of the program include:

  • mentorship by learning specialists with subject-matter expertise
  • membership in a tight-knit learning community supported by SLC professional staff
  • writing coaching and comprehensive guidance to produce a strong piece of research-based writing
  • resources and protected time to conduct research
  • opportunity to present on original research in a public forum
  • networking and connection to future opportunities for research and project-based learning

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We welcome applications from first-generation, low-income* junior transfer students who have completed at least one semester at Berkeley, hold at least a 3.0 GPA, and are able to commit 40 hours per week to the program for a full eight weeks. Priority will be given to students who have had limited opportunities to conduct formal research.

*If you report an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) of $4,500 or less, you meet this criterion. To find out more about this calculation, please visit or speak with a member of Berkeley's Financial Aid and Scholarships Office.

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Program Commitments

RAP fellows are expected to devote themselves to the program full-time and must be prepared to forgo additional obligations such as summer employment, concurrent research fellowships, or enrollment in Summer Sessions classes.

Fellows can expect to spend approximately 40 hours on the program per week, dividing these working hours between seminar meetings, individual writing activities and writing workshops, one-on-one mentoring sessions, project-related reading and fieldwork, and presentation design. In order to make the most of the program, each fellow's commitment to this workload must be firm.

Successful completion of the program will include:

  • writing and refining a 15-20 page paper that reflects original research
  • delivering a presentation at the SLC’s Fall 2021 research symposium

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Each fellow receives a $6,500 stipend designed to cover eight weeks of housing and living expenses, as well as minor research-related expenses. Stipends will be disbursed in two $3250 increments, at the beginning and midpoint of the program.

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Application Requirements

All applicants must submit the following materials in order for the application to be considered complete:

  • online application form
  • two recommendations, at least one from an academic instructor
  • current UC Berkeley transcript (unofficial accepted)*
  • an academic writing sample of any length that reflects your best writing to date

*If you are in your first semester at UC Berkeley, you may submit your final transcript from your previous institution.

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Dates and Deadlines

All application materials must be received by 11:59 PM PDT on Monday, April 5, 2021. This includes all recommendations.

A shortlist of applicants will be selected by Friday, April 16 and invited to an interview via Zoom. Final decisions will be made by Friday, April 30.

The program will run for eight weeks, concurrent with the eight-week 2021 Summer Sessions timeline. Consequently, the program will begin on Monday, June 21 and conclude on Friday, August 13 with the research symposium to follow. Fellows will also be expected to attend a virtual orientation prior to the start of the program, pending individual availability.

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Submission Guidelines

All applications MUST be submitted online through our Summer 2021 Application Form. As this form will not allow you to save your work-in-progress, we encourage you to develop your responses outside the form and transfer them in when you are ready to submit. To help you with this process, you can access a PDF version of our application here:

Recommendations must be submitted separately by each applicant’s listed recommenders. You may review and share our online recommendation form with your recommenders via this link:

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Application Support

To support you in your application process, we are holding application workshops and by-appointment office hours via Zoom. Each application workshop will offer brainstorming and drafting support for the application, as well as provide a forum for applicants to ask questions about the program and overall application process. Our next workshops will be held at the following times:

Wednesday, March 31, 12-1 PM (PDT)

To RSVP for a workshop and receive the Zoom link, please click here. Additional times will be added each week through the deadline.

To schedule a one-on-one office hour visit, please write to Dr. Eleonor Castillo at and share a few blocks of time that would work well for you.

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Is the program held in-person or online?

Our Summer 2021 program will be held online via Zoom.

Do I need to be a junior in order to apply?

Not necessarily. We use the term "junior transfer" to refer to those who transferred to Berkeley from a community college and have been at Berkeley since the start of their junior year. If you will still be a registered Berkeley student in Fall 2021 (the semester after our program ends), you are eligible to apply even if you no longer hold junior standing.

Do I need a faculty sponsor?

No. While we do ask that you provide at least one recommendation from someone who can testify to your academic performance and fitness for research, you do not need any sponsors for your project.

Can I apply to pursue research (or a research question) that I am already working on?

In general, no. The program is designed to support participants in their pursuit of an original research question from start to finish. For this reason, priority will be given to candidates who have not yet explored their topic of interest, and who have had few opportunities to pursue research projects while at Berkeley. If you have already received significant formal research mentorship, particularly with respect to an original project or question, this program may not be the best fit for you.

Will housing be provided?

While we will not be providing housing directly, our stipend is designed to cover each Research Associate’s independent living expenses for the duration of the program. Those who would like our assistance in finding summer housing will be invited to connect with us upon their acceptance into the program, and applicants with unique living or working situations should let us know via the initial application form.

Who should write my recommendations?

We ask that one of your recommenders be a current or former instructor capable of speaking to your academic engagement. While a Berkeley faculty member is preferable, we would also accept a lecturer, graduate student instructor, or anyone else who has taught you recently. The second recommendation may come from whomever you see fit. We encourage you to seek recommendations from those who can best testify to your work ethic and intellectual curiosity.

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Please direct all program inquiries to:

Eleonor G. Castillo, Ph.D.
Director | Students as Scholar-Practitioners