Pre-Health and Society

Undergraduate Research Program


The Operation Twelve Undergraduate Research Program (URP) is a 22-week Research Experience for Undergraduates designed to engage students in diverse and exciting research in psychology, economics, biology, public health, global health, social sciences, cognitive sciences, behavioral sciences and neuroscience.

In particular, the URP seeks to increase the diversity of students successfully prepared to pursue STEM career pathways, and to recruit individuals from institutions with limited undergraduate research opportunities.

Applicants of any race, ethnicity, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, age, dis/ability or veteran status are welcome. Students who are members of a group that is historically under-represented in social sciences, including students who are Hispanic/LatinX, Black or African American, Asian, Pacific Islander, Middle Eastern, American Indian or Alaska Native, and LGBTQIA+ are strongly encouraged to apply. Students who are first-generation, nontraditional, economically disadvantaged, veterans, or parents and students with disabilities are also strongly encouraged to apply.

Research Tracks

  • Health Economics

  • Patient and Hospital Care

  • Health Environmental Sciences


The following are minimum requirements to participate in this program. Most requirements must be met at the time you apply. If you have questions, please feel free to reach out.

Early November to Early April

Class Eligibility

Junior or Senior in an accredited College or University

Minimum GPA


Pre-requisite courses

Applicants must be majoring in and have a strong academic background in one of the eligible majors. Excellent relevant academic record required, and at least two years of university course work (high school AP credit does not count).

Eligible Majors (by track)

Health Economics

Health economics, Public health, Global Health with an economics background, Economics with a health background, Business and/or management with a health background or any related majors*.

Patient and Hospital Care

Public health, Global health, Health administration, Ethnic studies with a background in health sciences, Business and/or management with a health background or any related majors*.

Health Environmental Sciences

Health science, Environmental science, Public health, Community health and global health with a health environment background or any related majors*.

Language pre-requisites


* Pre-med, Pre-PA, Pre-Nursing or any major related to medical and or health sciences.



  • To familiarize students with the steps involved in developing a research project, from initial motivating ideas to a rough design, design of materials, pilot studies, draft final design, tuning of parameters, and execution of the experiment.

  • To familiarize students with the problems of discovering patterns in the data. This will involve learning about the various data summarization and statistical analysis tools of public health research.

  • To provide practical experience in carrying out research projects, analyzing data, and writing up and presenting results in meetings (including experience in using specialized tools at each stage of this process).


  • Attending Lab meetings

    • General lab meetings are held weekly. Individual meetings between people involved in particular projects and the principal investigator are held weekly on a different day from the general lab meetings. All members of the laboratory, including staff and interns, are expected to attend all scheduled meetings.

    • Presentations at general lab meetings. Each lab member is expected to present a summary of a relevant research article at least once every three weeks. The presentation will summarize the main points of the article and its relevance to the work the student is conducting in the laboratory. Lab members are also expected to give periodic brief reports on the project on which they are working.

  • Readings and library research

    • A set of principle and secondary readings are provided at the start of the Internship. The principal readings are general articles on the theme of the laboratory’s work and interns are expected to have read them within a few weeks of starting their internship. Students are expected to become proficient in the use of the various library resources, including on-line materials.

    • Acquiring research skills

Students are expected to acquire certain research-related skills and in some cases will be aided in this process by lectures given by staff and by the PI. These include:

  • Appreciating the ethical issues in human research. All students are required to pass the Human Subjects Certification Program, an on-line course required of individuals running experiments involving human subjects. This is a requirement imposed by NIH and by the UC San Diego Internal Review Board.

  • Students will become familiar with a number of computer tools used in data collection, sufficient for using these tools, though not necessarily for programming new original experiments. These will include:

    • The use of computer based experiment-running software, such as rudiments of MatLab sufficient to appreciate how to explain requirements to our programmers and to make simple modifications to existing programs.

    • First-level knowledge of the use of tools for data-summarization, graphing, analysis, and presentation. These may include Excel, SPSS, PowerPoint and graphics software.

    • Acquiring experience in analyzing data and presenting results


More Information coming soon



Applications open on August 4, 2022 and close on October 4, 2022


Under Eligibility, you can find the minimum requirements for this program. Most requirements must be met at the time you apply. If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at


Complete the online application. You may need to upload transcripts, or other documents. You will need a reference so please make sure to contact you referee before hand to make them aware of your application*.

* Applications with no answer from their reference will not be considered.


After the Undergraduate Research Committee reviews your electronic application and decides to move forwards with it, you will receive an invitation for a virtual interview by October 10, 2022 at 11:59 PST.


Private interviews will be held from October 12 to October 18, 2022 by invitation only. The 25 minutes interview will allow the Undergraduate Research Committee to go over your application material in details and for us to get to know you better.


After the Undergraduate Research Committee reviews your full holistic application with your interview, final application decisions will be posted on November 7, 2022 at 11:59 PST.