The Learning-Aligned Employment Program (LAEP) offers students paid research positions that may relate to their major, career goals, or the exploration of career options. LAEP is funded by the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC) to support underrepresented students with financial need. Participants in this program will be hired as Research Assistants and will be paid hourly wages to conduct research with UC San Diego faculty. You can learn more about the program and funding development at More information about the program at UC San Diego can be found at

You are eligible to apply if you meet the following criteria:

  • Enrolled at least half-time at UC San Diego as an undergraduate student.
  • Have demonstrated financial need.
  • Are a CA resident.
  • Are eligible to work in the U.S.
  • Be in good academic standing with your school and major.
  • Maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) requirements.
  • Priority will be given to eligible students who are first-generation college students, current/former foster youth, homeless, or at risk of being homeless. Further priority will be given to students who are majoring in a science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) discipline.

Find a Mentor
Students must have a faculty member who has agreed to be their mentor prior to finishing the LAEP application. Students are responsible for finding and contacting their own mentor, but the LAEP coordinator can help if you’re having a hard time. Start looking for a mentor early—be proactive!

  • Students should reach out to potential mentors and discuss their project ideas before adding a faculty member’s name and email to the LAEP application.

Supplemental Questions
  1. LAEP Mentor Information

    Please enter the Faculty Mentor's information below.
  2. LAEP Personal Essay

    Your personal statement should include the following:
    (1) Tell us about yourself and briefly describe any previous experience with research, jobs, extracurricular activities, or community service that has prepared you for this position.
    (2) Please describe your educational and career and life goals and how this position may prepare you for meaningful work.
    (3) Building on your values, identities, and previous experiences, how will you contribute to creating a diverse, inclusive, and supportive environment in the Learning Aligned Employment Program? (maximum 500 words)
  3. LAEP Research Project Title

  4. LAEP Project Description

    Please describe the research you would like to conduct in terms that can be understood by a non-expert audience.
  5. Short Answer: Why research?

    Why do you want to do research? Please include any information that might aid the selection committee in evaluating your interest in and potential for doing research. (max: 200 words)

  6. LAEP Employment

    Are you currently employed on campus?
  7. Is there anything else that you'd like to clarify or share? (500 words or fewer)
  8. LAEP Acknowledgements

    I acknowledge I have discussed this research opportunity with the Faculty Mentor named above. I attest that I will be enrolled as a full-time or half-time student at UC San Diego and this research will NOT conflict with my academic year studies.
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