RIPS is a program for students who are enrolled in or have just completed an undergraduate (bachelors) degree. Students with a strong background in mathematics, some programming experience, and an interest in seeing how mathematics is used in the real world are encouraged to apply. Competition is high for the limited slots available. International students are eligible to apply for RIPS-LA
Most summer research experiences focus on an academic problem where students work closely with an academic mentor. RIPS is unique in that students apply their mathematics knowledge to a real-world industrial problem, with an emphasis on problem solving using whatever methods are appropriate. In this way, RIPS is a cross between an REU and an internship. Secondly, RIPS students work on teams, with one student serving as project manager. For many students, this is their first experience working in a team environment. In addition, RIPS provides students an opportunity to explore careers in mathematics, science and technology. They learn about the company that is sponsoring their project through interaction with their industrial mentor, and about the other industry sponsors through discussions with other RIPS students about their projects. Finally, RIPS students learn report writing and public presentation skills that will be invaluable to them as they continue with an academic or professional career in an industrial setting. These skills, combined with real-world research experience, give students an edge that makes them more competitive in today’s career marketplace.
RIPS students live, work and socialize together over the summer, so they form close professional and personal relationships. Students have an office with a computer and meeting space at IPAM. IPAM provides technical support as well as daily “tea time” and occasional guest lectures. Students stay in university housing within walking distance of IPAM and eat most meals on campus. UCLA is located approximately four miles from the Santa Monica beaches and is within close proximity to many popular tourist destinations. Students work hard, but they can also take surfing lessons, tour Hollywood studios, take weekend trips to national parks, and find other ways to enjoy their summer in LA.
The program emphasizes research, of course, but this is just part of it. You will experience group work, perhaps for the first time, and learn to navigate the team environment. In addition, there is a significant emphasis on the presentation of your research. You will write a formal final report for your “client” (the industry sponsor) as well as prepare and give midterm and final presentations of your work to an audience that includes students, faculty, industry professionals, and others. The last two weeks of the program are devoted to the final report and presentation, culminating in “Projects Day” and your site visit to your sponsor’s office, lab or facility.
One student on each team will serve as project manager, whose role includes leading team discussions, coordinating individual team member efforts, monitoring the team’s progress in meeting milestones, and communicating with the industry sponsor and RIPS director. It is a worthwhile opportunity as well as a challenging responsibility. The RIPS director provides the project managers with regular coaching and support. The RIPS director and your academic mentor will choose the project manager during the first week of RIPS.
Travel (airfare or mileage reimbursement) to IPAM is covered, subject to certain rules and limits. Housing in the dorms is included. Most meals are covered as well. In addition, participants receive a stipend of $3000.
Not exactly. It is a research experience, but the projects come from industry rather than academia, so it is essentially a cross between an REU and an internship. Furthermore, IPAM is independent of the UCLA math department, so RIPS students do not have regular interaction with the math department. That said, IPAM arranges occasional lectures given by UCLA postdocs and faculty of math and related disciplines, and many of the academic mentors are UCLA math postdocs. There are no classes during RIPS; the focus is entirely on the research projects, and ultimately presenting the results.
The backgrounds of successful applicants vary quite a bit. Most have taken some upper-division math and some computer programming classes. We will consider the courses you have completed to decide which project is right for you; since students work in teams, if you haven’t covered a subject that is relevant to your project, chances are one of the other students have.
Yes, we will accept applicants who will complete their bachelor’s degree between December and June of the current academic year.
Yes, your application will be considered for RIPS-LA. If you are a full time student at your current institute and plan on returning to that institution full-time after the summer, you will already be on an F-1 visa, in which case you may have to register for “Curricular Practical Training” (CPT) through your home institution.
Yes, your application will be considered for RIPS-LA. You must be the equivalent of an undergraduate student enrolled in a bachelors degree program; if you are not sure if you qualify, please email your resume to firstname.lastname@example.org in advance of the application due date. If you are chosen to participate, UCLA will sponsor your J-1 visa.
Reference letters need to be uploaded on our website either by the referee or by you. In order to upload any references or supporting documents you will need your application reference code. This code is given to you once you complete your online application. Make sure to write it down and pass it to the people who will be uploading your reference letters. The webpage where you (or your referee) can upload all supporting documents is here. Acceptable formats are PDF, Word document, or JPG image.
A transcript or academic record (listing your classes and grades) from your undergraduate institution is required, but it can be unofficial. The same submission procedure as mentioned above can be used for transcripts. If you can’t print out your own unofficial transcripts, and if your school will not give them directly to you, they can be mailed to our address on the front page. Transcripts are the only documents that can be mailed to us; everything else needs to be uploaded on the website.