National Institutes of Health (NIH) Undergraduate Scholarship

Fields of Study

Eligibility by UCI School: Biological Sciences, Engineering, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Physical Sciences, Public Health, and Social Sciences

The UGSP does not have specific major requirements, however, one’s area of study must be applicable to an aspect of research being conducted within the NIH intramural program and related to STEM and health. While biology, chemistry, and psychology are the most common majors, many public health, social science, physics, engineering, and mathematics majors have also been selected for participation in the program.



To be eligible for an NIH Undergraduate Scholarship, a student must:

  • Be a U.S. citizen or U.S. permanent resident;
  • Be enrolled or accepted for enrollment as a full-time student at an accredited 4-year undergraduate institution located in the United States of America;
  • Achieve an undergraduate university Grade Point Average of 3.3 or higher on a 4.0-point scale or within the top 5 percent of your class;
  • Have ‘Exceptional Financial Need’ as certified by your undergraduate institution financial aid office. Please see the NIH Undergraduate Scholarship website for details.


Service Requirement

For each full or partial scholarship year, you are committed to two NIH service obligations. The obligations are actually benefits of the UGSP, providing you with invaluable research training and experience at the NIH.

  • 10-week Summer Laboratory Experience. After each year of scholarship support, you will train for 10 weeks as a paid summer research employee in an NIH research laboratory. This employment occurs after the receipt of the scholarship award. Each scholar will work directly with an NIH Principal Investigator or an NIH Postdoctoral Fellow, who will serve as mentors.
  • Employment at the NIH after Graduation. After graduation, you will continue your training as a full-time employee in an NIH research laboratory. You must serve 1 year of full-time employment for each year of scholarship.
  • The UGSP does not provide housing for the service obligations.


Scholarship Benefits

The NIH UGSP will pay up to $20,000 per academic year in tuition, educational expenses, and reasonable living expenses to scholarship recipients. Scholarships are awarded for 1 year, and can be renewed for up to 4 years.



Recent Recipients & Honorable Mentions

NIH reviewers seek to identify undergraduates who demonstrate a passion for research and who exhibit the creative spark that will make them leaders in their fields.

  • In 2023, Serena Wu (Pharmaceutical Sciences) received a National Institute of Health Undergraduate Scholarship



Strong applicants are able to demonstrate their commitment to a research career. Applicants are most able to demonstrate this commitment if they have already participated in laboratory research, been involved in extracurricular science activities, or have taken advanced courses relevant to their field.

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