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Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF)

A commitment to diversity is a commitment to excellence

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The Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) is a fully funded, eight-week summer residential program that brings 30 talented, motivated, and bright undergraduate students from across the country and the world 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 coding experience, excursions around the Bay Area, community-building activities, participation in a research poster symposium, and a strong mentorship component. 

Photo by Michael Spencer of the 2022 SURF Cohort and the three Graduate Program Coordinators


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. We make intentional efforts 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.

SURF 2023 Application opened Nov. 1, 2022

Application Deadline is Feb. 1, 2023 

SURF 2023 will be held in person on Stanford's campus from June 24, 2023 to August 19, 2023

Click here to learn more about the SURF 2023 Faculty Hosts and their SURF research projects

There will be 3 one-hour virtual information sessions on the following dates:
Friday, November 11, 2022 @ 9am-10am PST (presentation slides available here)
Wednesday, December 7, 2022 @ 2pm-3pm PST
Friday, January 20, 2023 @ 9am-10am PST

Application Information

In efforts to attract applicants from diverse backgrounds, identities, and experiences, two application options are available:

  1. Eligible applicants are encouraged to apply to SURF through the Summer Research Early Identification Program (SR-EIP)
  2. Applicants may also apply through the Stanford SURF program application* **

*Submitting an application through either portal is acceptable. All applications are reviewed thoroughly and holistically regardless of the application portal chosen, and the applicant should not submit their application twice.

**International applicants, undocumented students, and DACAmented students are eligible to apply and should submit their application through the Stanford SURF Portal. Please note that a valid J-1 Visa (for students living and studying outside the United States) is not a pre-requisite for applying. International students with an F-1 Visa who are already living in the United States and studying at a U.S. university are also eligible to apply.

The SURF team conducts a holistic review of all applications and extends initial invitations to top applicants. The deadline for both applications is February 1, 2023. Applicants will be notified of a decision for the 2023 program in early March. Many questions about the program and application can be answered in our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page.

Application Materials

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

  • Resume or CV 
  • Academic Transcript (unofficial transcript will suffice; official transcript not necessary)
  • 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, and 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 Diversity Statement detailing how your participation in SURF would contribute to diversity in the field of Engineering. This is optional but strongly encouraged.

For Stanford 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 and availability. SUNet ID Authentication is required to access the form.

2023 SURF Lab Host Interest Form

2023 SURF Lab Host Guide and FAQ

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.

SURF Keep-in-Touch Form  





Montage of six student headshots

Scholar Spotlights

Learn from our past scholars
about SURF!