About UBRP

The Undergraduate Biology Research Program (UBRP) is an educational program designed to teach students science by involving them in biologically related research. Students are paid for their time in the lab, where they develop an understanding of the scientific method, receive a realistic view of biological research, and are mentored by faculty. They also acquire the tools necessary to be successful in post-graduate studies in biology should they choose careers related to biology or research. Students begin UBRP with a full-time summer research apprenticeship, and then have the option to continue in UBRP on a part-time basis during the academic year, to accommodate classes.

Explore hear about UBRP students’ experiences! Learn more about the origin of UBRP here and funding here.

UBRP Eligibility

To be eligible for UBRP, students must:

Picture of UBPers on a field trip

  • Be a current degree-seeking University of Arizona undergraduate, enrolled in a minimum of seven credit hours. Accelerated Master’s Program (AMP) undergraduates are eligible for UBRP prior to completing the Bachelor’s degree. AMP students who have completed a Bachelor’s degree are no longer considered undergraduates and are not eligible for UBRP.
  • Be in good academic standing; students who have a minimum GPA of 3.0 in science and math courses will be given preference.
  • Have an interest in biological research.
  • Be an American citizen, permanent resident or in the case of foreign nationals hold a visa allowing him/her to work in this country. Students who do not fall into these categories are permitted to participate in UBRP on a voluntary, unpaid basis.
  • Be able to commit to a full time summer research position (35 hours/week for 12 weeks of the summer) and attendance at UBRP Orientation (Monday, May 17, 2021 from 8:00am – 5:00pm).

How Does UBRP Work?

Students selected to participate in UBRP begin the program by interviewing with potential mentors of interest during the spring semester. Participation in the UBRP is contingent upon finding a faculty mentor with whom to work.

After securing their mentors and being hired as UBRP research assistants, students attend a day-long UBRP Orientation and then begin full-time research with their mentors in mid-May after finals. Students conduct research for 35 hours per week for a minimum of 12 weeks during the summer to become immersed in their projects. As the summer is roughly 14 weeks long, students can take a break during the summer and still fulfill program expectations. New UBRP participants are paid wages at the rate of $12.50/hour, provided 50% by UBRP and 50% by their mentors.

Students also attend weekly professional development meetings to hone their communication skills as scientists (how to create a scientific poster, how to give an “elevator speech” about their research, etc.) and seminars to learn more about the breadth of biological research being conducted on campus. All UBRP students are expected to present their experimental results at the annual UBRP Conference held each January. UBRPers have additional opportunities to participate in optional field trips, community service opportunities, and social events to become involved with a community of scholars.

Picture of Makayla Freitas in the lab

Students participating in UBRP are not allowed to take summer school classes because this reduces the time and effort they can commit to their research.

Students who satisfactorily complete their summer UBRP experiences may continue in UBRP for the following academic year if they are able to devote 15 hours/week to their research. During the academic year, paid positions are provided for undergrads who are eligible for federal work-study or whose mentors can cover 100% of their wages for the academic year.  Students who fall outside of these categories may continue in UBRP for academic credit (as arranged through their major departments) or as volunteers. Students who continue in UBRP during the academic year, regardless of paid or unpaid status, are given priority for paid UBRP positions for the following summer.

Application Process

Students may only begin UBRP during the summertime, in mid-May. Each year, applications are made available on the UBRP website beginning on October 1, and the deadline for applications is February 1 at 5:00pm (Arizona time). The application requires that you provide grades for your high school and college science and math courses, explain your research interests and any previous research experience you have, and write a 800-word personal statement as a part of the application. A committee composed of UBRP faculty mentors evaluates all of the applicants and selects those students who appear to be able to benefit most from this experience. Selections take place during the month of February, and students are notified of their application status by March 1.

To Apply to UBRP

Download and complete a Summer 2021 UBRP Application Form, save it as YourLastName, YourFirstName_UBRP.pdf and e-mail it directly to Jennifer Cubeta, UBRP Director, at cubeta@arizona.edu by 5:00pm (Arizona time) on February 1, 2021. Late or incomplete applications will not be accepted.

A letter of recommendation is not required, unless you have prior independent research experience, in which case a letter of recommendation from a member of the research group (preferably the primary scientist) is required. Please direct your recommender(s) to e-mail letter to Jennifer Cubeta, UBRP Director, at cubeta@arizona.edu. Letters must be received by 5:00pm on February 1, 2021 to be considered.

Applicants will be notified of the status of their applications by March 1, 2021. If you have questions, please contact Jennifer Cubeta, UBRP Director at cubeta@arizona.edu.