Visiting Graduate Researcher


A Visiting Graduate Researcher (VGR) is an individual, domestic or international, who is: (1) enrolled as degree-seeking graduate student at a non-University of California institution and maintaining satisfactory advancement towards the completion of his or her academic degree, and (2) invited to conduct short-term doctoral research or participate in a “prescribed course of study” such as a mentored or independent research project or master’s research collaborations with a faculty member at UCLA.

All Visiting Graduate Researchers must be sponsored by UCLA faculty who are members of the Academic Senate (i.e., eligible to mentor doctoral students).

The purpose of the VGR’s visit must be at least one of the following:

  1. Prescribed course of study: a non-degree academic visit with a specific educational objective related to the scholar’s field of study, not including enrollment in UCLA courses or receipt of a
    UCLA transcript. Allowable activities include mentored or independent research projects, master’s or doctoral research collaborations, and classroom instruction (University Extension only).
  2. Academic training: work, training or experience related directly to a student’s field of study. Such training may include – but is not limited to – internships, practice, and field work.
    Appropriate activities vary by discipline. May involve sequential or simultaneous activities, either paid or unpaid.
  3. Doctoral dissertation research: individual must be advanced to candidacy or the equivalent at the home institution.

Please note: UC graduate students visiting UCLA for research or courses complete the intercampus exchange process rather than hold a VGR appointment

For more information see the VGR Program comparison with No Degree Objective (NDO) graduate student status table.

In order to be considered for the VGR status, the following are required. These items must be submitted for review prior to any actions.

1. Questionaire.

2. Proof of Registration.

3. Proof of financial support.

Appointment Duration Definition

VGRs may conduct research at UCLA for a minimum of 1 month to 2 years. Initial appointment duration cannot be longer than 12 months. A second year may be granted, however, is contigent upon approval by the faculty member.

Visa Requirements

Proof of Registration

A copy of the Proof of enrollment must be submitted to the ATO office for review. Graduate Division will request for the original document during the final stages of approval.

Proof of Registration (template) as a graduate student at another university is an official letter from the home university which includes:

  1. Official university letterhead with seal or stamp
  2. Name, title, and signature of approving university official from theuniversity’s registrar or equivalent office
  3. Program of enrollment (degree objective such as Ph.D. or MA)
  4. Start dates of enrollment
  5. Expected graduation date
  6. Statement confirming that the graduate student is a currently enrolled student
  7. An accompanying certified English translation (as applicable)

Visa Requirements

International VGRs must work with the hiring center to apply for a J-1 non-degree student visa. Hiring centers must contact Iriss Brion before any actions are done; in order to verify the eligibility of the potential student. The Graduate Division’s provisional approval of the application is required before the visa application request is submitted to the David Geffen School of Medicine Visa and Licensing office. Applicants with B, F, and J-2 visas are not eligible for VGR status. The David Geffen School of Medicine Visa and Licensing Office has information on J-1 non-degree student visa requirements.

Financial Certification for Campus Fees and Living Expenses

International visitors must present original evidence of financial support that covers the minimum financial amount for program fees and living expenses for the duration of their program stay. At least 51%) of their funding must come from a source other than personal or family funds. These funds may be identified as a scholarship, fellowship, or a grant/award from the student’s home institution, a government or nongovernment agency or other organization. If some or all of the non-personal funds are to be provided by UCLA, the hosting department must provide a letter specifying the fund source, level and duration of the support.

Health and Welfare Requirement

International students: All are required to be covered under a health insurance plan within the policy guidelines. If the student elects to OPT out of the Visiting Scholar Injury and Sickness Insurance Plan; the student will be required to provide proof of coverage that meets the mandatory health insurance requirements listed for J-1 visa holders.

Domestic students: Required to submit proof of insurance coverage. IE. Insurance Cards, and or summary of benefits.Please make sure to forward your documents directly to Grarduate Division. In addition, please aslo provide a copy to the ATO office. If the student is not currently enrolled, they may enroll under the UCLA Health Insurance Plan.

Quick links

Finding a Mentor

VGRs are required to be sponsored by UCLA faculty who are members of the Academic Senate (i.e., eligible to mentor doctoral students). Any communication and correspondence regarding any potential appoitment openings should be directed to the faculty member of your choice.

Tip: UCLA departments and programs web pages are excellent resources for locating potential mentors or advisors. These sites will have summaries of faculty research interests, areas of expertise, and contact information. Happy Hunting!

For more detailed information regarding the VGR title please visit Graduate Division.