The Cal State Fullerton Research Careers Preparatory (RCP) Program provides freshmen, sophomores/juniors, and new transfer students the opportunity to explore research as a career through a specially designed pro-seminar course, a laboratory skills training course, and field or laboratory research activities. Senior year students may be considered in some instances.

Why join the RCP program? The goals of the RCP are to: 1) raise student awareness of research careers and mentoring opportunities at CSUF and elsewhere in the country; 2) provide students with the hands-on experience and skill sets they need to be successful in their chosen career especially in research; and 3) move more CSUF graduates into research-based graduate or professional programs in the U.S., or into the workforce within Orange County and throughout California. Participants in the program receive extensive research mentoring and academic support (see below for details).

Please note that RCP participants must take 2 units of BIOL 280S (RCP Laboratory Skills) class during spring, and 1 unit of BIOL 280R during fall and spring. The one lab unit gained from BIOL 280S will count towards the Biology major UD lab requirement.


Participants will carry out undergraduate research with a faculty member in the Departments of Biological Science, Chemistry/Biochemistry, Psychology, or other departments undertaking biomedicine- or science-related research (e.g. Health Science, Computer Science, or Mathematics). Specific benefits include:

* Recommendation letter from faculty (mentor and/or RCP Director)

* Recognition through a Certificate of Completion               Sample Certificate of Completion for RCP program

* Increase competitiveness for any advanced research scholarship or fellowship program here at CSUF and elsewhere

* Enrollment in courses especially designed to prepare students to conduct research and become effective scientists, physician-scientists, or other professionals

* Mentoring from various faculty in the NSM, HSS, or HHD college

* Academic guidance on: enhancing communication skills, as well as analytical and critical thinking skills; information on undergraduate research opportunities, culture of science, career prospects, graduate schools, etc.

* Conference attendance to a local or national scientific meeting, when possible and if funds are available

* Entry point to BIOL 499L (Independent Research) for Biology majors; CHEM 395/495 for Chemistry/Biochemistry majors; entry point to PSYC 498/499 for Psychology majors

What's next after the RCP program? Students who successfully completed the program are strongly encouraged to apply to other fellowships, and a good number of former RCP students have been accepted into the following research scholarships or fellowships:

1) MARC: The Maximizing Access to Research Careers (MARC) Program is sponsored by a grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Its goal is to prepare students underrepresented in the biomedical sciences for success in a PhD program and research career. Students in this program are typically in their late Sophomore or early Junior year.

2) SCERP: The Southern California Ecosystems Research Program (SCERP) is an NSF-funded program that prepares students for careers in environmental industry, government agencies, and graduate programs in Biology or Environmental Science. Students in this program are typically in their late Sophomore or early Junior year.

3) MHIRT: The Minority Health International Research Training (MHIRT) Program is an NIH-sponsored program that provides minority students with the opportunity to carry out research during the summer under the direction of world-renowned biochemists and molecular biologists at the Universities of Cambridge, Oxford, York, and London in Great Britain, the Chiang Mai University in Thailand, and Institutes of Basic and Clinical Research in Argentina.

4) BSCR: The Bridges to Stem Cell Research is a one-year program that provides students with research experience in Molecular and Cell Biology in the areas of stem cell and regenerative medicine. Students are immersed in various cell biology techniques while at CSUF, and then the following year, they will undertake an internship in one of four participating research institutions (USC, UCI, CHOC, UCR). Students in this program are typically in their Junior or early Senior year.

6) LSAMP: The Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation helps minority students participate in research during academic and summer months.

7) BURST: Scholarship for students who are biology majors and are actively participating in research.

8) McNair Scholarship: Scholarship for students who wish to become academic researchers as a career