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Student Engagement Opportunities in Biological Sciences

transform your future

The division's student engagement opportunities in biological sciences complement and enrich undergraduate scholarship with experiential learning and a greater connection to the community and to student resources. These divisional programs help prepare students transform their future for today’s global, cross-disciplinary workplace. Students will learn about 21st century skills needed to successfully compete in the contemporary job market through offering professional development opportunities, critical training in communication, leadership and networking.


  • Educate students on how to become successful, engaged students
  • Enrich and complement undergraduate scholarship with discovery-based, experiential learning, including research, internship and international study opportunities
  • Empower students to successfully compete in the contemporary job market by offering professional development opportunities, critical training in communication, leadership and networking


  • Provide a Compass:
    empower students to find their own educational paths and encourage them to take risks and discover
  • Develop Scholarship:
    support students to become engaged learners and share tools for academic excellence
  • Prepare for real world success:
    introduce students to 21st century skills and provide opportunities to experience and hone these skills
  • Foster Community Connections:
    introduce students to the on-and-off-campus community and to the alumni network

21st Century Skills

21st Century Skills

It takes more than just book knowledge to succeed as a global citizen and professional. Experiential learning opportunities prepare students for real world success by introducing them to 21st century skills and by creating opportunities to hone those skills through practical experience. All undergraduates should acquire general transferable skills, or soft skills, that employers are looks for in a competitive job candidate and professional schools are seeking in applicants to their programs.

Top Twelve Real World Skills

  1. Critical thinking and complex problem solving skills: Skill in analytic reasoning and systems thinking in real-world settings, resulting in innovative solutions within desired constraints
  2. Proactive ability for research: Ability to identify reliable sources of, and to access and evaluate information, including images and visual media, for life-long supplementation of initial knowledge base
  3. Communication skills: Effective oral and written communication skills that anticipate and adapt to the needs of diverse audiences and contexts (including digital environments)
  4. Teamwork and cross-cultural collaboration: Effective interdisciplinary teamwork and interpersonal skills and cross-cultural collaboration in diverse settings
  5. Understanding global context: Demonstrated understanding of global context and issues, and their implications for the future
  6. Leadership: Demonstrated initiative, effective decision making, informed risk taking; ability to motivate and inspire others to a shared purpose
  7. Professionalism & Integrity: Demonstrated integrity and ethical responsibility, and how to apply it in real-world settings
  8. Self-Reflection: Demonstrated ability for self-reflection and self-improvement, ability to seek and use feedback
  9. Career Development: Accesses information and opportunities for career development, and understands and articulates the importance of transferable skills in the job search process
  10. Digital Information Fluency: Demonstrates technological literacy and skills, and ethically and effectively uses technology to communicate, problem-solve and complete tasks
  11. Civic Engagement: Demonstrated local and global civic engagement and social responsibility
  12. Innovation & Entrepreneurial Thinking: Synthesizes existing ideas and concepts in innovative and creative ways to develop new ways of thinking or working, and engages in divergent thinking and risk taking

Experiential Learning Opportunities

Undergraduate Research Program

Undergraduate Research Programs help to foster faculty-student collaboration within and outside the university. Students have the opportunity to share in a professional researcher's work, to learn how he or she formulates a significant question, evolves a procedure to investigate it, obtains research funding and other resources, gathers and examines evidence, follows hunches, detects loopholes, and evaluates and shares results with the scientific community.

The Undergraduate Research Program conducts info sessions and workshops to inform and prepare students for undergraduate research. Students can select from several credit bearing research courses that allow students to conduct research with faculty inside and outside the division, including the research institutes located in the La Jolla Mesa. Specific competitive research scholarships allow students to participate as  Eureka! Scholars during the summer months in leading life sciences laboratories. Undergraduate research is communicated via the annual Student Research Showcase and the  Saltman Quarterly Journal.

Internship Opportunities

International educational experiences

To succeed in today’s global research enterprise and economy, students must have - in addition to excellent technical skills - strong intercultural knowledge and competence. The International Education Program for Biologists allows biology majors to participate in significant international activities. To create these opportunities, the division has partnered with UC San Diego’s International Center and has also created its own program

Undergraduate Instructional Apprentice Program

Teaching is an invaluable experience. It develops communication and leadership skills, and provides an opportunity to better understand how people learn. Furthermore, being an undergraduate instructional apprentice allows undergraduates to get to know and work with faculty outside the classroom settings. Learn more about the undergraduate instructional apprentice program.

Information Sessions and Workshops

Calendar under construction. Check back soon. 

Student Organizations

The Division works directly with three student organizations: BioScholars, BSSA, and SQ.

Contact Us

Elaine Scott
Student Engagement Coordinator
Division of Biological Sciences
Staff will respond in 1-3 business days. Current UC San Diego students with advising questions should send a message via the Virtual Advising Center (VAC).