Prospective SURF Applicants

Student Application Portal is closed
for SURF 2024

The Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program offers an immersive research experience for undergraduate students, fostering their interest in advanced education and research careers. Selected students conduct research on Purdue's West Lafayette, Indiana campus, collaborating with faculty and graduate student mentors. Open to both Purdue and external undergraduate students from U.S. colleges and universities.

This competitive fellowship provides a paid, 10-week summer research opportunity, complemented by weekly professional development workshops. The program concludes with a student research symposium. Participants are required to submit a final report documenting their outcomes.


SURF 2024
Overview of Important Dates

Student Application Period

Priority Deadline

Program Period

SURF Symposium

SURF Award Reception

December 1, 2023 - February 1, 2024

January 26, 2024

May 20 - July 26, 2024

July 25, 2024

July 26, 2024

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  • $6000 Stipend: Receive a generous stipend of $6000 for your dedicated participation in the 10-week immersive research program.
  • Expert Mentorship: Gain access to seasoned faculty and graduate student mentors who offer valuable guidance, ensuring a supportive and enriching research experience.
  • Professional Development Seminars: Attend specialized seminars designed to enhance your professional skills, providing insights into various aspects of academic and research careers.
  • Symposium Presentation: Showcase your research findings by presenting at the prestigious SURF Symposium, offering a platform to share your work with peers, faculty, and professionals.
  • Social Engagement: Enjoy a vibrant social community by participating in activities designed for bonding with fellow participants, fostering a sense of camaraderie and collaboration.
  • Networking Opportunities: Engage in networking events, workshops, and seminars that connect you with professionals, researchers, and peers, expanding your professional network and creating lasting connections.
  • Enhanced Communication Skills: Develop and refine your technical communication proficiency, a crucial skill for effectively conveying complex ideas, research findings, and insights in a professional context.
  • Free Housing: External students, Purdue-Indy students, and Pathways Scholars receive complimentary housing on Purdue's West Lafayette campus for the duration of the program.
  • Travel Reimbursement: External and Purdue-Indy students have access to a travel reimbursement of up to $1200, easing the financial burden associated with travel expenses.


To be eligible for the SURF program, applicants must:
  • Be currently enrolled as a full-time undergraduate student at Purdue or another U.S. institution of higher education, pursuing a bachelor's degree.
  • Be a first-time participant in the Purdue SURF program, as students can engage in the program only once.
  • Have completed at least one academic semester/quarter by the time of the SURF application.
  • Maintain undergraduate enrollment for at least one academic semester/quarter following the conclusion of the SURF program.
  • Be a rising junior or senior; Purdue-affiliated rising sophomores, including Purdue-Indy rising sophomores, are also eligible.
  • Possess a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.8/4.0 at the time of application.
  • Demonstrate the ability to actively participate in the majority of program activities. Requests for alternate start dates, up to one week post-program commencement, can be accommodated with faculty permission.

Expectations and Program Guidelines

Throughout your participation in the SURF program, you can anticipate the following expectations and guidelines:

  • Adherence to Student Code of Conduct: All SURF participants are expected to adhere to the Purdue University Student Code of Conduct, maintaining a standard of conduct conducive to a positive and collaborative research environment.
  • Duration of the Program: The SURF experience spans 10 weeks of intensive research. Any requests for vacations or time off should be discussed with the faculty mentor in advance and are subject to approval at the faculty's discretion.
  • Class Enrollment: SURF students are not permitted to enroll in classes while actively participating in the program. This allows for a focused and immersive research experience throughout the 10-week duration.

For more information on the structure of the program, please see the SURF program Policies and Requirements page. 

Selection Criteria

Students will be selected based on the following criteria:

  • Eligibility
  • Application information and academic record
  • Qualifications for available research projects
  • Successful match to a project
  • Prior research experience is not required: this program is well suited for the first-time researcher

Application Steps

  1. Complete the application form
  2. Upload your resume.
  3. Send Unofficial University transcript
    Upload a PDF of your original transcript to the application system.
  4. Submit Statement of Purpose which answers the below prompt:
    Briefly describe to us what instances or experiences have led you to pursue your current field of study, and why you continue to pursue it. Mention any significant questions or problems in the field that you find particularly intriguing and that motivate you to delve deeper. If you are part of multiple fields, or at the intersection of them, feel free to comment on that. There are many programs that offer summer research opportunities, what attracted you to SURF and the resources it offers? Moreover, how would participation in SURF contribute toward the pursuit of your career goals? Please outline your long-term career aspirations within STEM. Explain how the research experience gained through the SURF program will contribute to your career goals. You may mention any specific skills, knowledge, or connections you hope to gain during this program that will be valuable in your future career. What have you done so far to explore the field of study you are interested in? This could include coursework, independent projects, internships, or participation in relevant clubs or organizations. Highlight any achievements or experiences that demonstrate your commitment and readiness for research. If you have encountered any obstacles or challenges in your pursuit of higher education or research, please discuss how you have addressed or overcome these obstacles. This could include seeking guidance from professors, taking additional courses, or refining your research question.
  5. External Students Only
    External students are required to request a letter of recommendation from a Professor/Professional who you have worked closely with. The letter should be uploaded by the application deadline.
  6. Explore potential research projects
    Talk to Purdue professors about your research interests and potential opportunities in their lab. Review the SURF list of research projects with undergraduate research positions. You can indicate your interest in these projects directly on the application by selecting up to three projects. Additional projects will be posted as they become available. Return to this list frequently to view new project postings but be aware that not every available SURF project will be posted here.

The student-project matching will continue through March, but all application documents must be received in the SURF office by the application deadline.

Purdue - Indy Students

Purdue students on the Indianapolis Campus are welcome and encouraged to apply for SURF. For the Summer 2024 cohort, Purdue - Indy students will receive both the benefits of Purdue Internal and External students (e.g. rising sophomores are allowed to apply, and housing will be provided to Indy students coming to the West Lafayette Campus). 

It is possible to complete a SURF project on the Purdue Indianapolis Campus in Summer 2024. Indianapolis faculty are welcome to post projects, and students are able to indicate their location requirements in the application. Unfortunately, given the many recent changes on the Indy campus, we are not able to provide housing  for any students wishing to do research on the Indy campus this summer. Please contact with any logistical questions about participation in SURF for Indy-based students and faculty.

Housing & Travel Assistance

  • External students, Purdue - Indy students, and selected Pathways Scholars will obtain free housing on Purdue's West Lafayette campus for the duration of the program. SURF staff will make the roommate assignments.
  • West Lafayette-based Purdue students are responsible for securing their own housing for the summer.
  • For the 2024 cohort, all students wishing to participate in SURF at the Purdue - Indy campus are responsible for securing their own housing for the summer.
  • Travel assistance to campus will be granted to those participating in SURF at a location other than their home university (e.g. external students and Purdue - Indy students coming to West Lafayette, or external students and Purdue - West Lafayette students coming to Indy will all be eligible for travel assistance). To be considered for assistance, you must complete the Visiting Student section of the online application.

Frequently Asked Questions

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Application Requirements