Students showing off their lab experiments

The University of California Leadership Excellence through Advanced Degrees (UC LEADS) program is designed to engage and educate California’s future leaders by preparing promising students for advanced education in science, technology, mathematics, and engineering (STEM). UC LEADS is designed to identify upper-division undergraduate students with the potential to succeed in these disciplines but who have experienced situations or conditions that have adversely impacted their advancement in their field of study.

Program Director

Amount & use
  • Academic year research
  • Paid summer research experience ($3500 during the summer & $1200 housing stipend)
  • Participation in the University-wide UC LEADS Symposium
  • Funded participation in professional or scientific society meetings
  • Travel to another UC campus for the second summer
  • Academic enrichment activities, including preparation for the Graduate Record Examination (GRE)
  • Enrolled in, or about to be enrolled in, a UC undergraduate degree program in the sciences, technology, engineering, or mathematics
  • On track to receive a bachelor’s degree at the conclusion of the second year of the UC LEADS program (i.e. should apply prior to junior year or prior to the fourth year if on a five-year plan)
  • GPA of >3.0
  • Able to demonstrate potential for success in a graduate program
  • Interested in pursuing graduate studies in STEM after graduation
  • U.S. citizen, permanent resident, AB540, and DACA students are eligible to apply
The annual application deadline to apply for the UC LEADS program is the second Friday of every February.
Selection criteria
Applications will be reviewed by a panel consisting of staff, faculty, and students. Selected candidates will be invited for an interview with staff and current scholars. Applicants will be evaluated based on a holistic review process of their applications, education/career goals, and aspirations.

How to apply

You can apply to the MARC, UC LEADS, and CAMP Programs simultaneously with one application. Only COMPLETED applications will be reviewed.

The application for the STEM Diversity Research Programs will be available in December of every year.

Click here to access the application

The application components include:

Online application & supplement documents (to be uploaded with the online application) – Due Second Friday of February

  • Completed online Application (this includes essay questions, see questions below)
  • Resume or CV (Career Center Resume Guide)
  • Copy of Your Unofficial Transcripts (UCSC and/or community college, just print them from your student portal) 
  • Copy of Your Unofficial Financial Aid Support (if you do not get financial aid, you ARE still eligible for the programs, please state in the online application)

Two letters of recommendation – Due Third Friday of February: from a faculty or staff member (These should be emailed directly from the recommender to

Essay Questions: Please limit your responses to 200 words for each question.

Click here to view the application essay questions

For questions and additional information about the application process, please contact our office at 831-459-4770 or send an email to