Skip to main content Skip to secondary navigation

Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF)

Group of students talking around a table

SURF 2020: A Virtual Experience

In the midst of COVD-19, the Equity and Inclusion Initiatives team led the way in recreating the program in an all-remote format.

Main content start

The Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) is a fully funded, eight-week summer residential program that brings approximately 20 talented, motivated, and bright undergraduate students from across the country to Stanford Engineering for an immersive research and graduate school preparation experience.

SURF is designed to demystify the admissions process and give scholars a real feel for what it means to conduct research at the graduate level. The program provides students with housing, a meal plan, a travel stipend, and a stipend upon completion of the program. In addition, SURF students will have the opportunity to participate in a robust graduate school preparation program including a GRE preparation, excursions around the Bay Area, community-building activities, participation in a research poster symposium, and a strong mentorship component. 

For the 2021 summer offering of SURF, funds provided by a generous gift from the Minority Television Program allowed us to expand this program and improve the support for program activities.  MTP is also generously providing scholarships for MS Student applicants who are African American or of African Descent.  Students who participated in the SURF program should also consider applying to the Wade Scholarship Program. Applications for SURF are closed.  The Wade Scholarship will be linked here when it becomes available.

Students writing on a whiteboard


The program aims to build community, explore identity formation, and create a cohort of future graduate student engineers who can promote diversity within the engineering and science student body. Student engagement in research increases 1) the retention of students in scientific research, 2) student interest in graduate school, and 3) student interest in STEM careers. Since its inception, SURF has been a vehicle for undergraduate students to conduct scientific research and a foundation for them to pursue graduate studies in engineering.

We are committed to advancing a culture of respect, accessibility, inclusion, and empowerment at for all students at Stanford Engineering. Intentional efforts are made to outreach and connect with students from communities underrepresented in engineering. This includes students of color from marginalized and/or minoritized groups, women, non-binary students, undocumented/DACAmented students, those who are first in their family to pursue an advanced degree and/or students who come from environments with limited access to Research I university programs.

For Prospective Scholars: Application Process

SURF 2021 will be held from June 21, 2021 to August 13, 2021.

The application is currently closed. Applicants will be notified of a decision for the 2021 program in late February/early March.

We invite you to review our Program Guide below to learn more about the summer fellowship and application process. Many questions about the program and application can be answered in our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page. 

Apply Here

Program Guide

Letters of Recommendation Collection Form 

Application Materials: As part of the application form, applicants must submit the following materials: 

  • Resume or CV 
  • Academic Transcript (Unofficial transcript can be submitted)
  • Statement of Purpose describing your reasons for applying to the SURF program, academic/professional interests, experiences/preparation for research in your field of study, and why this program would be a good fit for your future goals. Statements should be typed, single-spaced, 1-2 pages in length. 
  • Two Letters of Recommendation. We highly recommend letters from faculty, supervisors, and/or colleagues who can specifically discuss your academic and research preparation for the program.
  • Optional Personal Statement

For Labs: Host a Scholar

Thank you for your interest in serving as a lab host for the SURF program. PIs should complete our Lab Host Interest Form to confirm your interest/availability. SUNet ID Authentication is required to access the form.

2021 SURF Lab Host Interest Form

For Program Alumni: SURF Connections

Stay connected with the SURF program after your summer experience! Complete the form below if you’ve completed the SURF program and want to share with us what you’re up to after your time at Stanford and join our listserv for past scholars.

SURF Connections Survey 

Montage of six student headshots

Scholar Spotlights

Learn from our past scholars
about SURF!