SEED Scholars Honors Program

Program Components

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Elena Zhukova

The SEED Program is a four-year comprehensive honors program serving minoritized individuals in the STEM - science, technology, engineering, and math - fields, who have a passion for science, research, and a commitment to pursuing a graduate degree. 

The program provides need-based scholarships, resources, and opportunities to diverse, highly motivated, top-tier students who will become the innovators and leaders of tomorrow in academia, science, technology, and industry.

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Application Process

How to Apply 

Step 1: Apply for admission to The University of California, Berkeley beginning November 1 - November 30. Note that the application and all required materials (application fee, transcripts, letters of recommendation, etc.) are due by that deadline. Visit for more information. 

Note: The application period begins November 1st and ends November 30. We highly recommend that you submit the application and all required application materials by November 30.

Step 2: On the application, check the appropriate box that indicates your interest in a STEM major to be considered for the SEED Scholars Honors Program. Admissions will reach out accordingly for you to apply to our program.

Step 3: Be sure to include any and all leadership and diversity/service involvement on the activity list.

Step 4: Include 2 letters of recommendation with your application

Review Process

Entry into the SEED Scholars Honors Program is awarded on a competitive basis to students admitted to UC, Berkeley.

On the application, if you checked the appropriate boxes for our program, admissions will reach out to you with our application. Once received please provide essay responses to the appropriate questions. Upon completion your application is forwarded to our office. 

Applications are evaluated and recommended for entry by a committee of staff and faculty. Admission to the program is contingent on your acceptance to UC, Berkeley.

Offers to SEED Scholars candidates are extended April 16th via email.*

Interviews take place April 24th via zoom.*

The SEED Scholars Honors Program acceptance deadline is May 1st. * (Note: This date only applies to the SEED Scholars Honors Program; it does not reflect other programs' dates across Berkeley's campus.)

Acceptance of program offer does not indicate your SIR to the University of California, Berkeley, and is not contingent upon, or associated with, any other program or scholarship offers.

*Dates subject to change due to COVID-19 regulations.


Research Stipend

The SEED Scholars research stipend provides scholars an opportunity to apply for funding of up to $10,000 annually in support of current research projects.

Monetary Award and Scholarship Tenure

The SEED Scholarship includes a need-based award that is renewable annually for up to a maximum of eight semesters for incoming freshmen. Scholars with financial need are awarded a scholarship up to $10,000 annually as assessed by the Financial Aid and Scholarships Office. To be considered for the SEED Scholarship, please complete and submit the University of California Application for Freshman Admission and Scholarships by the deadline. Because some scholarships are awarded to students who meet specific criteria established by the donor, cite your characteristics, such as ancestry and professional interests, in the “scholarships” section. Complete and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or the California Dream Act Application by the March 2, deadline.

Summer Rising Program

The program begins with a six-week intensive session called Summer Rising held before students' first semester begins that emphasizes the foundational value of community along with individual success.

The 25 incoming first-years live, learn, study, and socialize together as they are introduced to UC Berkeley and the SEED Scholar Program and also take part in rigorous academic sessions. 

In addition to living on campus during the duration of the program, students will immerse themselves in a data science course, Data 6, learning Python coding; take three two-week sessions focusing on biological sciences, physical sciences, and engineering and the interdisciplinary nature of science; meet and start building relationships with professors; practice the art of communicating science through oral presentations and writing. And most importantly, they will start building strong relationships with their cohort members, the people who will challenge, support, and encourage them, that will last a lifetime. 

Social Justice Competencies

Keeping in line with our mission to serve historically marginalized students in STEM, SEED aims to promote understanding through education.

SEED Scholars, during their time in the program, will engage each other in social justice sessions titled "Science, Society, and You". Each semester will focus on a particular topic as students are exposed to different modes of thought and ways of being that impact lived experiences. During these sessions students will begin learning more about themselves, others, and how they can apply that which they learn into the everyday.

STEM does not exist within a bubble, therefore it is important our program prepare students not only professionally and academically, but personally, so they may better understand why STEM has underrepresentation, how they and their peers experience STEM differently, and finally learn how to implement change to remedy the STEM landscape.

Topics covered during the four years include identity/intersectionality, race, ethnicity and racism, classism, religious oppression, gender, sexism, and transphobia, sexuality, ableism, ageism, and strategies for change.

Mentoring and Networking

SEED Scholars

As a member of a cohort, each scholar will become part of a support system where peers challenge, support, and grow together. For many, SEED will become a hub during their time at Berkeley, a place where bonds will form and ideas actualize. Upon entering their third year, students will become mentors to new cohorts and their respective scholars. Building upon each scholar's knowledge, students will build community at Berkeley that will continue supporting them through their graduate careers and into their professional lives. 

Graduate Student Mentors

SEED acknowledges the need for near-peer mentors, students at Berkeley who are currently working on their graduate degrees in STEM programs. As teachers, research lab partners, and future colleagues, graduate students serve as models of who undergraduate students can become, helping them grow a sense of belonging and see themselves as scientists and researchers who are on their way to becoming professionals and leaders in the field. Having special access to SEED mentors allows our scholars to get personal support for various fields of study, grants access to insider knowledge on labs and graduate programs, and offers undergraduates opportunities for professional development and specialized info sessions not accessible to non-SEED students.


From their first day on campus, SEED Scholars will begin making connections and building professional relationships with Berkeley's top faculty members who are changing the world through their research in STEM. Through SEED, scholars gain access to a series of specially curated faculty networks that, when combined with their studies, will result in a carefully crafted community specific to each student. Across their undergraduate careers,  scholars will receive one-on-one mentoring, work in labs on long and short-term research projects, become key members of Berkeley's science and technology community, and build a deep understanding of what it means to be a STEM faculty member, scientist, researcher, and engineer.

Industry Leaders

Scholars will have the opportunity to meet leaders from top companies and innovative startups in industry and technology through SEED-only events on the Berkeley campus offered on a yearly basis during their time in the honors program.  The connections they make and the networks they build here will open opportunities to become part of research laboratories and companies on the cutting edge of discovery.

Research and Professional Development


Upon admittance, and throughout the duration of a scholar's time at Berkeley, application of knowledge gained through experience will play an important role in students' lives. Be it interning on campus, conducting research in the Bay Area, or exploring institutions as a visiting scholar, SEED prides itself on supporting scholars in their research endeavors.

As a part of the SEED Scholars Honors Program, students are expected to apply for research/internship opportunities within their first year. However, they are not expected to do so alone. We will assist each scholar with finding and applying for research/intern positions at universities, institutes, companies, and beyond catering to their respective interests. Upon acceptance of position, scholars will receive our annual research scholarship that, based on financial need, will provide funding up to $10,000 to cover fees accrued. 

The research scholarship covers opportunities beginning summer after first year through graduation, so long as scholars continue to meet all program requirements and maintain full-time enrollment in an approved STEM major. Scholars may also apply for additional funding to support research opportunities, travel to industry conferences, and other academic enrichment endeavors, as the availability of funds permit.

Additionally, scholars are required to either conduct research or intern with approved entities during the academic year starting their junior year.

Professional Development

In addition to research, SEED is dedicated to providing professional development opportunities to students so they may grow to be well-rounded professionals in their respective fields. 

Accordingly, we provide various workshops, sessions, and seminars surrounding such topics as, but not limited to, resume/CV building and critique, cover letter development, mock interviews, and how to's on research presenting, applying for funding, and graduate school preparation. Scholars too, will be given the opportunity to network with leaders from companies, startups, labs, and institutions through SEED-only events on a yearly basis during their time in the honors program. Content creation and facilitation is based upon student needs and will vary from year to year, thus creating a unique experience for all scholars involved.

Additionally, SEED provides a comprehensive database, updated regularly, on various events taking place across UC Berkeley's campus to ensure our scholars are kept aware of the many professional opportunities open to them. Regardless of college, department, or program, these events have been specially curated so that our students may stay in-the-know on programs perfect for them, ranging from panel discussions and seminars, to networking events and informationals. 

Benefits Overview

  • Housing for Summer Rising and first year
  • Priority Class Enrollment: SEED Scholars are among a very select group of students who receive priority enrollment for classes.
  • Financial support including scholarships
  • Financial Literacy Counseling: Bears for Financial Success (BFFS), UC Berkeley's peer-to-peer financial literacy program, offers special workshops and counseling to help scholars learn to manage money and expenses.
  • Advising by culturally sensitive staff with experience working with students from diverse backgrounds
  • Faculty Mentoring: Scholars have access to UC Berkeley faculty mentors to provide guidance on academic and professional endeavors.
  • Short and long-term research opportunities beginning the summer after first year
  • Funding for research and internship opportunities
  • Access to organizations, community spaces, and social events
  • Social Justice related talks and discussions
  • Professional development including science communication, mock interviews, and resume/CV consultations
  • Holistic wellness support and resources
  • Invitations to networking events with academic, science and technology leaders
  • Attend and present at conferences
  • Meet recruiters from leading graduate schools, tech companies, and private industry
  • GRE preparation
  • Graduate school application support

Important Dates 

Dates to come.* 

*Subject to change due to COVID-19 regulations.


SEED Brochure for Download