Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q

Where is the Engineering Undergraduate Research office?

A

The Engineering Undergraduate Research Office is located at Room 136, A. A. Potter Engineering Center, 500 Central Drive, West Lafayette, IN. Office hours are 9am to 4pm, Monday through Friday.

Q

Who can apply for the SURF program?

A

Undergraduate students enrolled at Purdue and other U.S. institutions are eligible to apply.

Please review the full list of eligibility criteria on the website. Students can participate in the SURF program only once.

Q

I am currently a freshman, can I apply for SURF?

A

Yes. See the eligibility criteria and Pre-SURF program for more details.

Q

How do I apply for the SURF program?

A

Students can visit the SURF Application Form to apply online.

Q

Does SURF provide housing during the summer?

A

Purdue students are responsible for securing their own housing for the summer. External students from another U.S. institution will obtain free housing for the duration of the SURF program at Hilltop Apartments.

Q

How much will I be paid?

A

During the summer, students are paid $5100 for the 11-week program.

Q

Will my pay be subject to income tax?

A

The SURF stipend will be paid as a personal payment. Students are considered participants in the SURF program but are not employees of the university. In most cases, taxes will not be withheld from your checks, but the income may be subject to taxes at the end of the year. Each taxpayer is responsible for determining the amount that may be taxable and should contact a tax advisor with questions. IRS Publication 970 may provide helpful information.

Note: For international students, the payments may be subject to taxes as required by the U.S. government. Participants will be asked to update their on-line Glacier file. The generated summary report will indicate any tax liability and the documents required by the university to process your pay.

Q

Can I receive both pay and credit for the research?

A

No. SURF students will only be able to receive pay for completing the 11-week program.

Q

I am a Purdue student; do I need to find a faculty member to work with prior to applying for the SURF program?

A

No. However, we encourage Purdue students to contact faculty members directly to determine if research opportunities exist in their lab. We highly encourage you to determine your areas of interest and explore the research being conducted on campus. Each school/department’s website lists faculty members and their specific research areas. We also have a list of projects with potential openings; however, this is not a comprehensive list of potential projects.

Q

As a non-Purdue applicant, do I need to find a faculty mentor or will one be assigned to me?

A

For non-Purdue students considered for the program, the SURF staff will assist them in finding an appropriate research project and mentor. Students are encouraged to explore Purdue websites to discover the research being conducted at Purdue and indicate their research interest on the application form, including specific projects and names of faculty members, if possible.

Q

Can I conduct research in a lab that is outside my major and school?

A

Yes, the interdisciplinary aspect of many of the projects allows students to learn and work across other disciplines while still applying the concepts and skills from their own programs. Students are encouraged to determine all research areas that may be of interest to them.

Q

When will I know if I am accepted into the SURF program?

A

SURF offer letters will be sent to students through email in early April.

Q

Does my GPA affect my acceptance into the program?

A

GPA is considered along with the entire application. A minimum cumulative GPA of 2.8 is required.

Q

How can I get an official university transcript?

A

Purdue students can order a current transcript online through MyPurdue and upload it along with the application form. Your transcript should include all past and current coursework. External students should contact their student services office and have the official transcript uploaded along with the application form. If an online order system is not available, request the transcript be emailed directly to the Engineering Undergraduate Research Office (eur@purdue.edu) before the application deadline.

Q

Is it possible to take a summer class and participate in the SURF program?

A

Yes (only for Purdue students). This has to be discussed with the faculty mentor and this option is available only to Purdue students at the discretion of the faculty mentors. External students are not allowed to take summer classes while participating in the program.

Q

Can I take time off during the SURF program?

A

Yes. Since SURF is a 10-week program in a span of 11-week, students are eligible to take time off. However, this has to be discussed and approved by the faculty mentors and EURO ahead of time. Students are advised to discuss this with their faculty mentor before accepting the position (especially if long duration of time off is anticipated during the summer).

Q

Approximately how many students participate in the SURF program?

A

Each summer, 140-150 students participate in the SURF program.

Q

SURF is the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships Program; does that mean it only exists during the summer?

A

SURF may offer research opportunities during the academic year, as well. If available, they will be posted on the SURF website.

Q

How will SURF 2021 proceed in light of the COVID-19?

A

Based on recent decisions by Purdue leadership, the Engineering Undergraduate Research Office (EURO) has finalized plans for the 2021 Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program to be delivered online. The SURF Remote program period is May 24 through Aug 2, 2021.

Q

Can I submit my application without the letter of recommendation?

A

Only external students (Non-Purdue students) need a letter of recommendation. You can submit your application without the letter of recommendation letter. Once you submit your application, you will receive a link to upload the LOR. You may forward it to your recommender so that they can upload the letter to our system.

Q

Who can submit a letter of recommendation for me?

A

You can obtain a recommendation letter from a Professor/Professional who you have worked closely with and can attest to your work ethics, in addition to describing why you are a good fit for the SURF program. Recommenders may be faculty teaching a course you have taken, lab lead of a research project that you were part of, professionals leading a team that you did your internship in. 

Q

What should be in the content of my letter of recommendation?

A

Your letter of recommendation should describe why you would be a good fit for the SURF program. Your recommender may choose to describe your professional work ethics, and/or your research/leadership/teamwork capabilities based on their interaction with you.

Q

When should I request my letter of recommendation?

A

It is good practice to allow your recommender 2-3 weeks to submit your letter of recommendation. You should plan ahead, and request a recommendation ahead of time, so that your recommender has time to submit the letter before the application deadline. 

Q

What is a letter of interest?

A

The letter of interest is a one-page letter describing why you are interested in the program and why you think that you would be a good fit for the program. You can mention your interest in SURF, and the project(s) that matches your research interest. If you are particularly interested in working in a faculty's project or have reached out to a faculty/graduate student already, you can also mention that and list why you would be a good candidate for the project (courses taken, previous research experience etc. that align with the requirements of the project of interest)

Q

When is the deadline for SURF 2021 application?

A

The deadline for SURF 2021 application is 15 February, 2021 (11:59 PM EST). 

Q

My university is based on a quarter system. How do I convert it to "completed semester" for the application? 

A

You may count 3 completed quarter systems to be equal to 2 completed semesters.  

Q

Do faculty review the applications after the end of the SURF application submission deadline? 

A

SURF applications are considered on a rolling basis, and hence applications are available to be reviewed by the faculty as soon as they are submitted. Some faculty may wish to wait till the application deadline, to review applications while others may choose to decide on offering a position as soon as they identify a potential candidate for their project.

Q

I have already identified a faculty that I want to work with for SURF and the faculty has also agreed to offer me a position. Do I still have to submit an application?

A

Yes, you will still need to submit an application. Indicate the details of the project in the application when prompted. Also, you may choose to post a research project in the SURF website on behalf of your graduate mentor/faculty mentor, to facilitate the process. See Post a research project for more details. 

Q

Are international students studying in undergraduate institutions outside of U.S. eligible to apply for the SURF program?

A

SURF program is only available to students currently enrolled in an institution in the U.S.

Q

I will be graduating in April/May this year. Am I eligible to apply to the SURF program this year?

A

No. SURF is available only for students enrolled in an undergraduate program for the current academic year.