Graduate Division

Competitive Edge

“…….I applied because of all the work we did in Competitive Edge. ……and the workshops gave me the confidence to do it. I definitely wouldn’t have been prepared if I wasn’t in  the Competitive Edge program.”

Former Competitive Edge Participant and 2018 NSF GRFP Awardee


The Competitive Edge Summer Research Program is designed to support entering graduate students from diverse backgrounds who plan to pursue a doctoral or M.F.A. degree and prepare for an academic career. Participants are provided with an opportunity to work on exciting research projects during an six-week summer research program. 

The Competitive Edge program will run from August 3, 2020 - September 11, 2020.

At this time, Graduate Division does not plan to cancel Competitive Edge 2020. Given the fluid nature of COVID-19 we are exploring alternative formats in the case that we are unable to continue with in-person programming come August.


  • Advanced introduction to UCI faculty
  • Advanced introduction to UCI campus resources
  • Early move-in to graduate campus housing
  • Acquisition of critical teaching skills through workshops and lectures
  • Early mentorship from UCI faculty and peer mentors
  • A community-like experience with support from a peer cohort and the UCI Graduate Division
  • Summer stipend of $5,000


  • Priority is first given to students receiving a Graduate Division Diversity Recruitment Fellowship which includes a Graduate Opportunity Fellowship (GOF), a Euguene Cota-Robles Fellowship (ECR), a Diversity Recruitment Fellowship (DRF), or a Nevin Fellowship. 
  • Departments may sponsor participation into Competitive Edge for students who did not receive a Graduate Division Recrutiment Fellowship. Participants do not directly apply to the Competitive Edge program.  
  • All participants must be doctoral or M.F.A. students entering their first year of graduate study at UCI.
  • Participants must be meet the UC Definition of Diversity
  • Student must be U.S. Citizen, Permanent Resident or AB540 eligible


Participants must commit to a full-time, six-week summer research program the summer prior to their enrollment as a doctoral or MFA student at UCI. Summer program commitment includes about 35-40 hours of research per week, along with workshops, lectures, and other preparatory events to be held throughout the duration of the program.


An application for current students interested in participating in the 2020 Competitive Edge Summer Research Program as a peer mentor for an incoming doctoral or M.F.A student will be available in Spring 2020. 


Claudia Campos
Diversity and Fellowship Coordinator
Graduate Division
Tel.: (949) 824-1281
Fax: (949) 824-9096