REAL Portal

Interested in REAL experiences? Use the Research Experience & Applied Learning (REAL) Portal!


Find Opportunities

Use the REAL Portal to help you find opportunities related to: research, internships, global and service.


Opportunities Find You

Create a brief profile and link to your LinkedIn and Portfolium.

Faculty and staff can search through profiles and suggest that you apply for their opportunities.

What Is It?

The Research Experience & Applied Learning (REAL) Portal offers research, internship, international, service learning, entrepreneurial, leadership, and other co-curricular opportunities. There are many benefits to being involved in REAL opportunites. Hands-on experience assists you in acquiring real-world skills, increasing your professional network, applying classroom knowledge in real-settings, building your resume, and more.

You can engage in REAL opportunites at any stage, freshman to senior. Depending on your professional and academic pursuits, the type of experience will vary. Are you available to study oversees? Would you like to volunteer for a community-based organization? Are you interested in conducting research in a faculty lab? These are some questions you can ask yourself to get started. Then figure out the type of opportunity, timeframe (sophomore year, year-round, summer), compensation method (paid, volunteer), location (on/off campus) and other details. You can visit the What is Research? and What is Applied Learning? of this website to get ideas and use the opportunities to find current opportunities.

How to Get Started?

1. Create and maintain an online profile.

This Portal provides a database of student profiles to UC San Diego faculty, research scientists, industry partners, and the public. Maintaining an up-to-date profile on the Portal will increase your visibility to potential advisors and employers.
  • Login to the profiles page.
  • Enter the requested information or, if you have a LinkedIn or Portfolium account, import your profile information.
  • Keep in mind:
    • your profile should clearly present your relevant experience, competencies, and future goals;
    • the statement of purpose or other narrative should be authentic, thoughtful, and concise; and
    • typos and grammatical errors reflect poorly on an applicant’s professionalism and attention to detail.
  • LinkedIn provides additional guidance on creating a complete online profile.

2. Explore available opportunities on the portal.

There is an abundance of research and applied learning opportunities available if you are proactive in your search. The key is finding an opportunity with the right faculty and/or organization to explore your interest and abilities.
  • Keeping in mind your interests and goals, search available opportunities on this Portal. Be mindful that some opportunities may be eligible for academic credit, a stipend, or part-time salary.
  • Explore these opportunities further by visiting faculty or company websites, reading recently published work, or getting firsthand information from your friends, teaching assistants, and academic advisors.
  • Identify one or more opportunities aligned with your interests and goals.

3. Determine your eligibility.

Look for eligibility requirements, including GPA or ethnicity, citizenship, or other conditions of participation. International students need to confirm work authorization.

4. Apply to opportunities that match your interests and goals.

Apply for those positions using the method and style indicated within the posting (e.g. email, PDFs, online application).
UC San Diego's Career Services Center offers:

5. Other ways to find opportunities.

If there are no opportunities on the Portal that interest you, or if you applied but were not selected, consider the following:

What Are the Benefits?

Hands-on experience helps you develop transferable skills, increase your professional network, apply classroom knowledge in real-settings, build your resume, and more!

  • Critical thinking / problem solving: Identifies important problems and questions and gathers, analyzes, evaluates information from a variety of sources before forming a strategy, decision, or opinion.
  • Research ability: Accesses and evaluates multiple sources of information, including text and images, and synthesizes information to solve problems and create new insights.
  • Oral, written, & digital communication: Conveys meaning and responds to needs of diverse audiences through writing and speaking coherently and effectively, and develops the expression of ideas through written, oral and digital mediums.
  • Teamwork / cross-cultural collaboration: Works with and seeks involvement from people and entities with diverse experiences towards a common goal, demonstrating strong interpersonal skills, respect, and dignity for others.
  • Understanding global context: Demonstrates an understanding of complex global issues and systems, and how issues and actions have local and global implications for the future.
  • Leadership: Takes initiative, demonstrates effective decision making and informed risk taking, and motivates and encourages participation from others to work towards a shared purpose and vision.
  • Professionalism / integrity: Demonstrates integrity, honesty, dependability and ethical responsibility, and accepts direction and personal accountability.
  • Self-reflection: Assesses, articulates, and acknowledges personal skills and abilities, and learns from past experiences and feedback to gain new insights and understandings.
  • Career development: Accesses information and opportunities for career exploration, and understands and articulates the importance of transferable skills in the job search process.
  • Digital information fluency: Demonstrates technological literacy and skills, and ethically and effectively uses technology to communicate, problem-solve, and complete tasks.
  • Civic engagement / social responsibility: Participates in service/ volunteer activities characterized by reciprocity, engages in critical reflection, and appropriately challenges unfair and unjust behavior to make a positive difference in the community.
  • Innovation / entrepreneurial thinking: Synthesizes existing ideas and concepts in innovative and creative ways to develop new ways of thinking or working, and engages in divergent thinking and risk taking.

Want to Learn More?

Visit REAL Portal.