Frequently Asked Questions

If you have questions that are not answered on this page, please contact us for assistance.

Where is the SURF office?

The SURF office is located on the 2nd floor of the Armstrong Hall of Engineering, Suite 2000.

Office hours are 8:30 am – 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday. (Top)

Who can apply for the SURF program?

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

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

The SURF program is designed for students who have completed at least four semesters prior to the start of the program. Freshmen should apply in a future year.  (Top)

How do I apply for the SURF program?

Students can apply on-line at http://www.purdue.edu/surf/ApplicationForm/. (Top)

Does SURF provide housing during the summer?

Students are responsible for securing their own housing for the summer. To assist students with their housing costs, participants in the program are eligible for a $600 housing allowance. If you are an applicant from another U.S. institution, housing and travel assistance may be available instead. (Top)

How much will I be paid?

During the summer, students are paid $4200 (plus $600 housing allowance, if applicable) for the 11-week program. Students are paid monthly. The stipend during the academic year varies. (Top)

Will my pay be subject to income tax?

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. Please refer to the IRS Publication 970.

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. (Top)

Can I receive both pay and credit for the research?

Students can opt to receive pay OR credit, but not both. (Top)

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

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 research projects with potential openings; however, this is not a comprehensive list of potential projects. (Top)

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

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. (Top)

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

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. (Top)

When will I know if I’m accepted into the SURF program?

Students will be contacted by email in April. (Top)

Does my GPA affect my acceptance into the program?

GPA is considered along with the entire application. A minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 is required. (Top)

How can I get an official university transcript?

Purdue students can order a current transcript by going to the Registrar’s office kiosk outside Room 45 in Hovde Hall, or online through MyPurdue. Please verify that your transcript includes all past and current coursework. Visiting students should contact their student services office and have the transcript mailed directly to the SURF office. (Top)

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

The SURF program is an intensive, full time (40 hours per week) research experience. Because of the academic commitment a summer class entails and the intense nature of the summer research, students may not enroll in summer classes or other internships while participating in SURF. For the summer program, students participating for research credit should enroll in the appropriate course for at least six credit hours. (Top)

Can I take time off during the SURF program?

Since the program is a full time research experience, time off is not provided during the program period. Students should plan vacations before and after the program. (Top)

Approximately how many students participate in the SURF program?

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

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

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