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.

Quick Links

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.

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.

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