Bioscholars Program


The  BioScholars Program is designed to give students the opportunity to pursue their interests as part of a smaller community of scholars. The program connects students to the resources of a large university, but also provides an intimate collegiate atmosphere where students work closely with peers and professors in small group settings, research laboratories, and special programs and activities. BioScholars provides challenging intellectual and leadership opportunities for academically excelling undergraduates majoring in the biological sciences.

BioScholars is a learning community dedicated to providing undergraduate students:

  • support for student transition to UC San Diego and the Division of Biological Sciences
  • exploration of issues and opportunities in the sciences and professions
  • understanding of the diversity of UC San Diego and the field of science
  • opportunities to enhance leadership skills
  • guidance to resources to assist students on their science journey

BSSP Student Organization

The division works in collaboration with students in the official BSSP student organization to create networking, leadership, and social opportunities. See the BSSP student organization website for further details.


Participation in the program is via invitation only. Regents Scholars and high achieving high school students will be given priority.  Scholars must maintain a 3.7 GPA to continue with the program.

Program Components and Opportunities



  • Phage Genomics Research Initiative: an exciting and innovative opportunity for freshmen to acquire hands-on research experience.
  • Volunteer opportunities in faculty labs
  • Biology Honors Seminar (BILD 96) (fall): provides an opportunity to meet with biology faculty and fellow scholars once per week to explore the academic life and educational opportunities in the division and university
  • Introduction to Research Seminar (winter): develops library research and information literacy skills


  • Research opportunities for lower-division students  (BILD 99)
  • Applying for competitive scholarships such as Goldwater, Churchill, Rhodes, etc.


  • Research opportunities for upper-division students  (BISP 199)
  • Help in identifying labs and applying for senior honors thesis program  (BISP 196)


  • Continue research via the Senior Honors Research Program; Graduate With Distinction noted on transcript
  • Participation in the annual spring quarter Biological Sciences  Research Showcase
  • Special recognition at the annual Senior Reception  

Cocurricular Enrichment

  • Lab tours
  • TeaTime with Professors and Researchers
  • Lunch with visiting scholars, industry representatives and other divisional events
  • Pizza with a Prof
  • Student-lead events
  • STEM Outreach to local schools
  • Seminar Planning Committees


Faculty and staff advising will allow students to:

  • explore academic and career goals
  • understand prerequisites, requirements and expectations of scientific academic programs and careers
  • identify appropriate internship, volunteer and research opportunities
  • identify valuable resources to assist students in their pursuit of a science education
  • supplement information students receive from other advising professionals

Faculty Academic Advisor

Dr. Kathleen French

The Faculty Academic Advisor can assist active BioScholars with the following areas:

  • provide academic and career advice
  • provide support and advice with matching students with research labs
  • coach students to become competitive applicants for prestigious scholarships such as Goldwater, Churchill, Rhodes, etc.

Staff Coordinator

Jaime Estepa

The role of the Staff Coordinator is to provide event and logistical support and guidance for the BioScholars student steering committee. The Staff Coordinator is available to assist the steering committee with the following:

  • event planning and funding options for BioScholars events
  • assisting students leaders with logistics and interpreting protocols as they relate to student programs
  • identify valuable resources to assist in event coordination

Community Service and Leadership

Networking and Socializing

  • Connect to the Biological Sciences community; meet the faculty and fellow students via fall reception
  • Visits to museums
  • Visits to the San Diego Zoo/Safari Park
  • Plenty of other unique experiences!