“Can I graduate on time?”: Q+A with UCLA Samueli Academic Advisors

Apr 30, 2019

By UCLA Samueli Newsroom

UCLA Samueli has 13 full-time academic advisors on staff to help answer your questions (they have heard it all, so don’t hesitate to ask).  Here, the advising team answers some of the most common questions they receive.


Q: Can freshmen really graduate in four years, and transfer students in two?

 Absolutely. Our curriculum is designed to allow students to graduate within four or two years, even without AP credit or summer school. If students take longer, it’s usually because of a double major or minor or they have opted to study abroad. Meet with us early and let us know how you want to shape your academic journey. Let’s work together to make sure you graduate on time!


Q: How do I find research opportunities?

There are many great options at UCLA Samueli to get you started. All students are assigned a faculty advisor, so an easy first step is to simply ask your advisor if you can join their lab. If it’s not the right fit, you can easily switch to another faculty advisor who matches your research interest.

In addition, all new students are paired with peer mentors, generally third- or fourth-year students, who can assist with research opportunities. Our Undergraduate Research Program is also a great resource. It lists on and off-campus research openings, workshops, and drop-in advising.


Q: How do I land an internship?

Needless to say, but we’ll say it anyway, UCLA Samueli students are in high demand. The school and our amazing student groups have built solid relationships with some of the world’s leading companies and startups. Our network is strong and our students have no issue landing an internship.

We also host quite a few science and technical fairs on campus where only select companies are invited. Faculty members also actively assist students, and another great resource is our Undergraduate Internship Program.


Q: Is it tough for undergrads to compete with grad students for research opportunities?

Not at all. Undergrads and grads are on different academic levels and their research opportunities will vary based on experience. Freshmen can get research positions as early as their first year, and transfer students can definitely join a lab as soon as they start at UCLA Samueli.


Q: I’m ready to go big and launch a startup. What resources are available?

There are many opportunities to channel your entrepreneurial energy at UCLA since we have a unique campus ecosystem. The engineering school is located between two of UCLA’s highly-ranked professional schools: Anderson School of Management and David Geffen School of Medicine. The synergy between engineering, management and health is unbeatable and we have witnessed many successful startups take advantage of this on-campus talent pool.

In addition, engineering students can minor in entrepreneurship at UCLA Anderson, which also hosts a startup accelerator. Many of our students are involved with Bruin Entrepreneurs, Startup UCLA and similar organizations on campus. Pitch competitions are held frequently on campus and attract top venture capitalists, industry partners, not to mention potential team members.


Q: How do I get hands-on experience at UCLA Samueli?

Get involved with a student group. We have more than 40 groups to choose from and their main objective is to get students involved with projects outside of class. Take a look at Bruin Racing, UCLA ACM, Rocket Club, IEEE’s UCLA chapter and the Biomedical Engineering Society at UCLA (the group recently built electrocardiograms!), just to name a few.

If you want to work on a personal project, take advantage of our 9,000-square-foot makerspace that is jam-packed with all sorts of tools and 3D printers. Many of our student-led Engineering 96 design classes use the makerspace to build anything from go-karts to virtual reality experiences.


Q: Do students have time to get involved in non-engineering activities, such as Greek life and club sports?

Definitely, and time management is key. We’ve noticed that students who are the busiest are also the best with optimizing their time. Quite a few students are involved with the Greek system, including serving as rush chairs and presidents of sororities or fraternities. Some of our students are involved in Division 1 and club sports. This year, two of the drum majors in the UCLA Bruin Marching Band are bioengineering majors!

Also, during zero week in fall quarter make sure to check out the Enormous Activities Affair where every club and organization on campus is represented.

If you have additional questions, swing by 6426 Boelter or, better yet, use MyUCLA to message your academic advisor for a quick response.

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