SURF Program Policies and Requirements


As a SURF participant, you are responsible for fulfilling all program requirements and abiding by all policies presented in this document. Read it carefully and seek clarification as needed. While the content is subject to change, the most current version will be available on BrightSpace.

SURF is an intensive 10-week program to advance students’ research potential. During the program, you will conduct research activities 40 hours per week (if fulltime student) or 20 hours per week (if part time student) including attending and participating at SURF seminars and events and completing assignments. Throughout the summer, you will receive support from your professor and graduate student mentor in the lab, and the EURO staff, specifically from a SURF GA.

A Week in the Life of SURF

The SURF program has a predictable structure to allow you to plan your research.

In a typical week in SURF, you can expect to:

  • Conduct research characteristic of real-world challenges and advanced-level projects
  • Meet with your professor and lab mentors for guidance
  • Attend the weekly required SURF professional development seminar(s)
  • Choose to attend optional professional development seminars
  • Complete required SURF assignments and submit your work on BrightSpace
  • Engage with other students socially and professionally thru peer reviews and networking events

Getting Started in SURF


The SURF program uses Purdue’s BrightSpace to support your learning and research experience this summer. You should access this site multiple times each week throughout the summer. It is the primary source of information for your SURF experience and is organized in the following sections:

  • Announcements: Read time sensitive information
  • Assignments, Seminars, and Activities: Download weekly assignments and submit your work; find Professional Development Seminars (PDS), and other major SURF event information including time, location, and speaker info
  • My Progress Review feedback on submitted work from your SURF GA and check your attendance record for professional development and research seminars

Contact your SURF GA with questions about accessing and submitting information on BrightSpace.


The SURF staff is available to assist you throughout the program. You are encouraged to meet with your SURF GA in person or talk with them after a SURF event, but they are always available via email too. You can find your GA’s contact information on BrightSpace “Meet Your GA” page.

SURF will use email and BrightSpace to share information with you. For last minute program changes, an email or a BrightSpace announcement will be sent to you. It is your responsibility to read your emails daily and check BrightSpace regularly for the most up to date SURF information.


When communicating through email, use the following guidelines to ensure prompt responses:

  • Clearly state the issue in the subject line. Begin with the word SURF. Then provide a summary of the topic.
    Example: SURF – Issue with BrightSpace
  • If the situation requires an immediate response, include URGENT in the subject line

The staff will respond to your email within 24 hours.

SURF Program Components and Policies


During all seminars, you must silence and store away electronic devices unless otherwise directed.

Professional Development Seminars / Workshops

All professional development activities (i.e. workshops, seminars, and assignments) are designed to support you this summer in both your research work and career planning, and help you make the most of your SURF experience. You can find the seminar schedule on BrightSpace.

You are required to attend the Professional Development Seminars marked ‘Attendance Required’ on BrightSpace. Be sure to check BrightSpace and mark your calendar in advance.

Professional development activities address three main areas throughout the summer:

  1. Getting Started on Your Research Project
    These seminars are designed to get you oriented in your lab and to provide you with the tools necessary to fully understand your research project.
  2. Publishing, Presenting, and Documenting Your Work
    To be successful in research, you must document and share your work with the research community. This typically involves presenting your work at a conference and publishing it in a technical journal. Your research paper and presentation at the SURF Symposium are designed to prepare you for both of these aspects of research.
  3. Preparing for Your Career and Graduate School
    Other seminars during the program will help you with your career decisions and answer such questions as, Should I pursue a research career in academia? What are the benefits of obtaining a graduate degree? What are the pros and cons of a faculty career? Workshops will also be offered on topics such as writing a statement of purpose, resume, and application for graduate fellowships, etc.

Throughout the summer, take advantage of opportunities to discuss career options with your professor, lab mentors, and SURF staff. They will gladly share their experiences and tips with you.

Attendance Policy for Required Events

SURF seminars have been carefully selected to support you in your research, professional development, and career planning. They are a major component of the SURF program; therefore, SURF holds a strict attendance policy to minimize disruptions and to ensure students benefit from scheduled events. Keep in mind that you must attend the entire seminar to receive credit for attendance.

When attending seminars, you should:

  • Arrive at least 10 minutes before the scheduled start time
  • Sign attendance sheet prior to start of seminar (Students who fail to check-in prior to the start of the seminar will be marked absent and may need to complete a Make-Up Task.)


An absence from a mandatory seminar requires completion of a Make-Up Task.
Students with two absences (excused or unexcused) will require a meeting with the program manager.

Students who continue to miss seminars are subject to removal from SURF.


You need to gain permission from the SURF office at least 5 days prior to the event if you cannot attend a required event. For emergencies, contact the SURF office as soon as possible.

Late Arrivals

Students arriving after the seminar start time are considered late. All late arrivals will be documented as unexcused absences and may require completion of a Make-Up Task.

If you arrive late to a seminar:

  • Enter quietly and take the nearest available seat (minimize your disruption of the seminar)
  • Talk to your SURF GA after the seminar

Making up a Missed Seminar

If you are absent or late to a mandatory professional development seminar (excused or unexcused), you are required to thoroughly review the seminar materials and complete a Make-Up Task to ensure that the key information from the seminar has been learned. Your SURF GA will email you with Make-Up Task information. The task must be completed by the specified due date.

Medical Absence during SURF

If you are ill and cannot make it to the lab, contact your professor or other lab members immediately to let them know. If you are out sick more than 3 days, contact the SURF program manager and provide a doctor’s note about the situation.

SURF Weekly Assignments

SURF assignments are designed to help you stay on track with your research project and meet SURF requirements. For each assignment, you will use BrightSpace to access instructions and supporting materials, submit completed work, and review feedback from your SURF GA. All assignment-related information is listed on the “Assignments, Seminars, and Activities” page on BrightSpace.

The policies and procedures for assignments are strictly followed throughout the program.

  • Submitted work is due on Fridays at 11:59 PM (unless otherwise stated).
  • Any late submissions need to be discussed with your SURF GA prior to the due date.
  • All required work is to be uploaded to BrightSpace as instructed in each assignment.
  • Any submitted work that the SURF staff finds unacceptable (e.g. incomplete, poorly written, does not follow instructions) must be redone to meet an acceptable quality.
  • Students who continue to submit late or unacceptable work are subject to removal from SURF.

Evaluation of Program Completion


SURF is a paid research position with specific requirements and deliverables. Throughout the summer, your progress is tracked and evaluated. Students who do not fulfill their commitments in the program are subject to removal from SURF and will not be paid the full stipend.

Additionally, there are two critical checkpoints where you will be evaluated for continuation and completion of the program.

Mid-Program Evaluation

At the mid-point of the program, you will be evaluated on your research progress and continuation in the program. By then, you should be strongly engaged in your research and on track to complete the SURF program.

For the evaluation, you must:

  1. Receive a satisfactory report from the supervising faculty member (SURF will obtain the report from the professor.)
  2. Attend required SURF professional development activities to date
  3. Submit and satisfactorily complete all required assignments to date

End of Program Evaluation

At the end of the program, you will be evaluated on your successful completion of all program requirements.

Requirements for SURF Participants

In order to successfully complete the program AND receive the full summer stipend, each participant must fulfill the program requirements. Throughout the summer, each student’s participation will be evaluated for continuation in the program.

As a participant in the SURF program, you are required to:

  1. Commit yourself to the research project and establish a weekly research schedule with your professor to engage in research activities 40 hours a week (or 20 hours a week if part-time SURF student) during the 11-week program period.


    Vacation days (if needed) are to be discussed with faculties and are subject to approval at the discretion of the faculty. Part-time SURF students (only applicable to Purdue students) may enroll in classes. Full time students/External students may not take classes while participating in the program.

  2. Gain approval from the SURF office and your professor to be absent from the lab to attend off- campus professional activities, for example, a technical conference
  3. Attend the SURF orientation and other required events.
  4. Submit all SURF assignments on time
  5. Write a research abstract and submit the final version to SURF GA for publishing in Symposium abstract booklet and SURF website
  6. Write a technical paper on your summer project by Monday of the last week of the program
  7. Present your research AND actively participate in the SURF Research Symposium (Week 10)
  8. Demonstrate professionalism by being on time to scheduled events and actively participate
  9. Plan and make arrangements with your professor or graduate mentor to be excused from the lab to attend SURF activities

You are also expected to:

  1. Take a proactive approach to your work and use this opportunity to develop your research skills
  2. Develop good relationships with your research mentors and colleagues
  3. Ask questions and seek assistance in the lab and from the SURF staff to meet your educational and professional goals
  4. Communicate immediately with your professor and the SURF staff any changes to your participation status during the program
  5. Take advantage of all resources available to you in order to get the most out of your summer research experience