ALL undergraduates and volunteers who work in the MVZ must complete the MVZ Student & Volunteer Application.

All new undergraduates and volunteers must attend an orientation at the beginning of the Fall or Spring semester. Students who start in the summer and continue should attend the fall orientation. Students will be notified of the schedule for this event.

For more information, please contact Undergraduate & Volunteer Coordinator Carlie Magill (carliemagill[at]

Introduction to Opportunities

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.

Volunteer opportunities may exist in many areas, including specimen organization and preparation, archiving historical materials, GIS work, public outreach projects, administrative assistance, and more. In addition, individual researchers affiliated with the museum sometimes take on volunteers as lab/research assistants.

You many also wish to consider taking relevant classes offered by UC Berkeley. Faculty Curators and affiliated faculty in the MVZ hold positions in the departments of Integrative Biology and ESPM where they offer a variety of classes and seminars in vertebrate biology, evolution, and conservation. Many of these classes have labs that take advantage of the extensive MVZ collections to train students in animal diversity, identification, and comparative morphology. A number of classes also require local or regional field trips that provide students with hands-on experience in animal observation and methods of field biology. These trips take advantage of the extensive East Bay Regional Park and UC Natural Reserve systems, which span a variety of distinct habitat types that support a diverse vertebrate fauna.

Classes Offered by MVZ Faculty Curators & Affiliated Faculty

Check the Class Schedule for class availability and instructor information.

Undergraduate Research Apprentice Program (URAP)

The MVZ has an award-winning undergraduate program with over 100 undergrads working as volunteers, research apprentices, and paid assistants each semester. URAP offers research opportunities to undergraduates as volunteers (0 units) or for course credit (1-3 units). View Current MVZ URAP Projects, then visit the UC Berkeley URAP Site for information on how to apply.

ALL undergraduates and volunteers who work in the MVZ must complete the MVZ Student & Volunteer Application.

URAP projects must be listed under one of the MVZ Faculty Curators or designated Research Staff. Postdocs and graduate students who would like to list a URAP project should do so through their P.I.

It is crucial to the MVZ’s success that we keep good records on our undergrads and volunteers. Supervisors MUST report ALL undergraduates and volunteers to the Front Office each term (Fall, Spring, and Summer). For more information, please contact Undergraduate & Volunteer Coordinator Carlie Magill (carliemagill[at]

Paid Student Positions & Work-Study

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.

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. See UC Berkeley Work-Study for current listings.

Newly hired students must be entered into ServiceNow as a new hire request. Supervisors who need help advertising a position should contact the Front Office Manager. Students cannot begin working until their hiring paperwork is processed and the student has completed the on-boarding requirement.

All paid students must report their hours biweekly in real time on CalTime. Hours should be entered promptly at the start and end of a work session so that they are reported accurately. Students who are working more than one position on campus will need to be set up with a “friendly code” so that they can report the MVZ hours separately from those in the other position. Any issues with CalTime should be reported immediately to the student’s supervisor.

Department Credit

UC Berkeley Undergrads can earn credit for supervised research (e.g., Department 99/199 courses) or for a supervised independent research project (e.g., Department Honors 196 courses).

Supervisors may advertise a position using the MVZ Undergrad and Volunteer email listserve or students may contact you independently if they are interested in the work being conducted by you or the lab group.
Obtain forms for registering students for these credits from the appropriate department website:

Relevant Links


Both students and non-students may work as volunteers in the museum. Volunteer positions are advertised using the MVZ Undergraduate and Volunteer listserve. Complete the MVZ Undergraduate and Volunteer Application to be added to the e-mail list. To apply for a position, directly contact the MVZ faculty, research staff/manager, postdoc, and/or graduate student that you are interested in working with. Let them know that you have already completed the MVZ Student and Volunteer Application. Note that volunteers must be prepared to commit a minimum of 5-6 hours per week.

All volunteers need to complete official HR volunteer forms, which supervisors will submit through ServiceNow. New volunteers must do campus on-boarding before they can start working.

Supervisors are strongly encouraged to post positions through URAP. Students will have the option to participate in URAP for 0 units (i.e., volunteer). To advertise for a volunteer position, send an advertisement to the Front Office Manager for forwarding to the MVZ Undergraduate and Volunteer e-mail listserve. Interested applicants should be instructed to contact the advertiser directly. The advertisement should contain the following information:

  • A brief description of the position
  • An estimated number of the hours per week required
  • The duration of the project/position
  • Any other pertinent information about the position
  • Advertiser’s contact information


The MVZ offers opportunities for minors to volunteer under supervision of a Staff Curator. The process and paperwork for registering minors is the same as for other volunteers (see above), except that a parent or guardian must sign the Waiver of Liability form and some additional forms are required. These include:

Supervisors who manage minors should read the following practicies and policies involving minors: