The Summer Academic Enrichment Program (SAEP) is an intensive, five-week on-campus residential program. It is designed to enhance the academic experience of undergraduate students who are the first person to go to college. All costs are covered by financial aid and program funding with a small summer stipend for students. SAEP is a landmark program on the University of California, Irvine campus. Through the School of Social Sciences, it represents a successful cohort model of success that offers a rigorous research experience for social science majors. Participants receive 8 units of academic credit towards graduation.

The goals of SAEP are to:

  • Strengthen analytical, speaking, and research skills that prepare students for graduate school, an honors thesis, Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP), summer research and/or internship programs.
  • Provide an orientation to graduate education and how to apply to graduate programs.
  • Prepare participants for working with historically underserved communities through volunteerism, public advocacy, and internships.
  • Offer participants three challenging academic courses: Graduate School Preparation and Professionalization (MA/JD/PhD); Quantitative Research Methods (statistics and computational analysis) and Qualitative Research Methods (focus groups, qualitative surveys, oral history, archives, ethnography, discourse/textual analysis).

Participants will attend weekly presentations by faculty, graduate students, SAEP alumni, and community leaders. Speakers will speak to graduate school preparation and professionalization, but also to life purpose and life goals.

SAEP is designed to be challenging but rewarding. It demands a five week (seven days a week) total commitment from all participants. It is best suited for students who are highly motivated, energetic, and strongly committed to a graduate or professional education. It provides a seminar-based intensive, cooperative learning experience for the cohort.

Participants are introduced to research culture, the research university, and to the meaning of a graduate education. Having research experience while attending a research-centered school like UCI shows potential grad schools personal motivation and initiative.

SAEP participants reflect the diverse often underrepresented communities of California and the program encourages a return to communities in order to provide service and leadership. Applicants should plan on graduating no sooner than one full academic year following the completion of the program. Candidates will plan on staying at UCI for 2 years after completion of SAEP to take full advantage of all of the opportunities presented to them.

The more than 500 SAEP students from the past thirty years have gone on to win national scholarships, fellowships, and other major awards. Many continue to do research through the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) or the Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP) programs at UCI or complete an honors thesis. Over two-thirds of SAEP participants have graduated from or are currently enrolled in graduate programs, public policy and public health programs, law school, and teaching/counseling programs. SAEP alumni are attending or have graduated from many universities across the country.

The School of Social Sciences has sponsored and administered this distinct undergraduate academic research program on the UCI campus since it launched in 1991. SAEP has drawn on the support of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, the Center for Educational Partnership, the Office of Financial Aid, the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program, the Office of Summer Sessions, the Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor, Bank of the West, and Saint Joseph's Health Foundation.

For further information please contact us at:

1507 Social and Behavioral Sciences Gateway
Phone: (949) 824-1426


© UC Irvine School of Social Sciences - 3151 Social Sciences Plaza, Irvine, CA 92697-5100 - 949.824.2766