MVZ Undergraduate Opportunities

The first priority of the MVZ is to ensure the health and safety of its faculty, staff, students and supporters amidst the COVID-19 outbreak. We are currently working remotely to the fullest extent possible and maintaining the collections with the minimal level of essential staff. We will follow the Alameda County Public Health Department updates and recommendations along with UC Berkeley’s coronavirus rules. Undergraduates interested in working for the MVZ can still get involved. Apprenticeships are open (see below) and have remote work options.  Thank you for your understanding, and please check back in the future. Posted August 2020.

Quick Links

MVZ Student and Volunteer Registration
All UC Berkeley undergraduates interested in MVZ positions (for-credit, volunteer, or paid) should register.


Overview for Prospective Undergrads

The Museum of Vertebrate Zoology offers many exciting opportunities for UC Berkeley undergraduates to work with museum faculty, curators, graduate students, and other researchers in the lab or field. These may include for-credit, volunteer, and paid (work-study & other) positions. We seek motivated students that have interests that match well with our research and collection activities.

Learn about our Undergraduate Opportunities below:


Undergraduate Research Apprenticeship Program (URAP)

Volunteer and For-credit Opportunities:
URAP is a UC Berkeley program that gives undergraduate students the opportunity to gain valuable research experience. It is the core of our undergraduate program and the primary venue by which students participate in the museum as volunteers and to earn credit.

URAP opportunities may be taken for-credit (1-3 units depending on number of work hours per week) or for 0 units (Volunteers). Note that both for-credit students and volunteers must be prepared to commit a
minimum of 5-6 hours per week.

View current projects here (new each semester)

To Apply:
Complete the URAP Application by the semester deadline.

Independent Research for Department/College Credit

These are student-initiated research opportunities to assist in a faculty led research lab on a project working directly with a faculty member or with one of his/her postdoctoral scholars or graduate students.

For MVZ faculty labs, these positions may be filled through the URAP Program or through departmental credit programs (e.g. IB 99/199, MCB, CNR, etc.).

UC Berkeley students who are particularly interested in the research topics of a lab group should:

  • Complete the MVZ Undergraduate and Volunteer Form once (no need to complete each semester)
  • Contact the faculty, postdoc, or graduate student directly to see what opportunities may be available for independent research projects (be sure to let them know you have completed the MVZ Student and Volunteer Application)

See Tips for Contacting Faculty.

Please note that MVZ faculty curators may post undergraduate positions in their labs as part of the URAP program.

Other Volunteer Opportunities

From time to time, miscellaneous volunteer opportunities outside the URAP program may become available. These positions will be advertised using the MVZ Undergraduate and Volunteer email list-serve. If you are interested in these opportunities, please complete the MVZ Undergraduate and Volunteer Form and you will be added to the email list.

Paid Positions

The MVZ typically hires a few students each year with federal work-study support as part of their financial aid package to assist either in the collections or the administrative office. Please refer to the UC Berkeley Work-Study webpage for current listings.

Curatorial Assistants:
Curatorial Assistants work in the Herp, Bird, or Mammal collections. Limited paid positions are open to advanced UC Berkeley undergraduate students who have held previous URAP or other student positions in the MVZ.

Other Ways To Engage


Are you fascinated by the natural history of birds, mammals, reptiles and/or amphibians? There are many classes offered through the IB, MCB, and ESPM Departments that are taught by the Faculty Curators and Affiliated Faculty of the MVZ. In addition, many of the classes offered by museum faculty have field trips and special tours of the MVZ included in the curricula.


The MVZ hosts two regular seminar series that are open to students and the public: MVZ Lunch and Herp Group. All are welcome to attend and UC Berkeley students may take these seminars for credit.


Do you love museums and libraries? You can learn more about our  collections online, search our online database Arctos for your favorite animals, read about our history, and see the new directions we’re taking in our research and informatics.