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Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF)

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. 



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, womxn, 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 open and will close at 11:59pm pdt on Februrary 1, 2021.

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

All application materials must be submitted by February 1, 2021 at 11:59pm pdt. All collection forms will automatic close on this deadline.

COVID-19 Statement: Historically, SURF is a residential-based program that hosts students on-campus. Plans for the summer 2021 program are still to be determined. We hope to bring students safely to campus for summer 2021 while still planning with the potential of an all-remote program in mind. 

By submitting this application, prospective scholars acknowledge that you will need to be available, in-person, for the entire duration of the program if invited to participate in SURF 2021. We cannot modify the start and end date of the program. If the program were to be completely remote, our office collaborates with each scholar and lab to meet accessibility and technology needs to the best of our ability. Invited participants will need to be available for the same specified 8-week time frame for the remote program.

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


Bird's eye view on students at tables

Check out our Frequently Asked Questions, or connect with us at

Frequently Asked Questions (PDF)

Scholar Spotlights

Headshot grouping of SURF students

Learn from our past scholars
about SURF!


Student Stories