Skip to end of metadata
Go to start of metadata

The Graduate Division offers Competitive Edge as a summer transition program for selected incoming graduate students. This six week program is designed to give selected graduate students an opportunity to begin research prior to the start of their graduate program and to acclimate to the campus environment. Competitive Edge is motivated by the campus's commitment to be fully inclusive and supportive of all students, and by the belief that a diverse graduate student body enhances the quality of the educational experience for all students. This year's program will start on August 3 and end on September 11, 2020.


  • Advanced introduction to UC San Diego faculty
  • Advanced introduction to key UC San Diego campus resources
  • Early move-in to graduate campus housing
  • Acquisition of critical writing, teaching, and communication skills through workshops and lectures
  • Early mentorship from UC San Diego faculty and peer mentors
  • A community-like experience with support from a peer cohort and the UC San Diego Graduate Division
  • Summer stipend of $4,000


  • Priority is first given to students receiving a Graduate Division Diversity Fellowship (San Diego and Cota Robles, SEED, STARS, Tribal Membership Initiative)
  • Departments may sponsor participation into this program for students who did not receive a Graduate Division Diversity Fellowship. Participants do not directly apply to the Competitive Edge program.
  • All participants must be doctoral or MFA students entering their first year of graduate study at UC San Diego.
  • Student must be a US citizen, Permanent Resident, or AB540 eligible.

Department Considerations 

If a student that received a Graduate Division Diversity Fellowship is interested in participating, the Graduate Division and the Academic department will split the cost of the summer stipend and the cost of early SHIP insurance. Note that these students receive a SHORE housing spot through the Diversity Fellowship award.

If a student did not receive a Graduate Division Diversity Fellowship but the department considers, they will highly benefit from participating in the program. The student can participate in the program but the department will be responsible for providing the full $4000 stipend to the student plus full cost of early SHIP insurance if student is interested. Participation in the program does not guarantee a SHORE spot. 


Participants must commit to a full-time, six week summer program prior to their enrollment as a doctoral or MFA student at UC San Diego. Commitment includes 30-40 hours of research per week, along with readiness workshops, lectures, and other preparatory events.

Additional Program Content

In addition to the research experience, participants are required to attend workshops to acclimate them to the campus environment. Workshop facilitators are members of the UC San Diego community and serve as faculty, staff or continuing graduate students in various academic fields. In addition to the workshops, participants are expected to attend an orientation at the beginning and a luncheon at the conclusion of the program.

Summer Faculty Mentorship

Each Competitive Edge student is expected to work with a summer faculty mentor from their respective departments. The faculty mentor will provide guidance on a research project, new or existing. The project does not have to be completed during the 6-week program, which allows the scope of the project to span the entirety of the summer quarter, through the Fall quarter, or beyond.

At minimum, meetings between Competitive Edge Fellows and their respective mentors should occur every other week. Ultimately, this depends on the nature of the project, the amount of oversight each student requires, and the level of mentorship the faculty member is able to provide.

In addition to research, the faculty mentor can provide an introduction and guidance to the department, as well as any tips on how to make the most of the summer, first quarter, and first year of their graduate experience.

For additional questions, please contact Edgar Beas ( at 858-822-1492.