SURF - Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship

Programs Components

Research Mentorship Experience

Scholars secure summer mentorship with UC Irvine faculty members whose special expertise and interests matches those of the student’s research interest and career goals. Faculty members serve as advisors and mentors and assist the scholars in developing and completing a research action plan.

Graduate School Preparation

Scholars participate in a graduate preparation component to provide special training in areas critical to academic success. This includes workshops and sessions on the following:

  • Successfully applying to graduate school
  • Successfully applying for fellowships
  • GRE preparation course (optional)
  • Academic writing
  • Preparing academic presentations
  • Academic career planning

2024 scholars will have the option to participate in the GRE preparation course.

Summer Research Program Symposium

SURF culminates with the Summer Research Program Symposium. All summer participants will present either an oral or poster presentation on their summer research. Preparation for participation in the symposium focuses on building effective oral communication to a range of audiences and helps participants hone their public speaking skills.

Networking Opportunities

Throughout the Summer Research Program, SURF participants will have the opportunity to share information and experiences with participants of other diversity programs including UC LEADS and California Pre-Doctoral Program. Participants will also be assigned to a Graduate Student Mentor who will help facilitate their participation in the program, and will serve as a peer mentor and point of reference for the student. This is a great opportunity for participants to gain insight into the life of a UC Irvine graduate student.

Expectations of Student Participants

  • Scholars attend and participate in all activities
  • Scholars must commit to working in their assigned labs for the full 8 weeks of the program (35-40 hours per week)
  • Scholars will have individual academic and research obligations with their faculty mentor/advisor
  • Scholars should expect to meet at least once a week with their research mentor/advisor, or more often, depending on the project and the mentor’s arrangement
  • Scholars will be expected to meet with the program coordinator during regularly scheduled meetings to discuss the progress of their research project
  • Scholars will be required to submit weekly assignments including program evaluation.
  • Scholars will be required to present their research at the University of California, Irvine Summer Research Program Symposium


  • Must be 18 years or older 
  • U.S. citizens, permanent residents, AB540 eligible
  • Juniors, seniors or master’s students interested in pursuing a Ph.D.
  • Students who will be enrolled full-time at a college or university during the Spring and Fall 2024 terms
  • Students with a 3.0 cumulative grade point average or better (on a 4 point scale)
  • Students interested in attending UC Irvine for graduate studies
  • Students from educationally disadvantaged or underserved backgrounds are especially encouraged to apply
  • SURF is open to students in virtually all academic fields (e.g., arts, humanities, social sciences, social ecology, biological sciences, engineering, education, computer sciences, and physical sciences)
  • International students are not eligible for SURF
  • UCI students are not eligible for SURF
  • Seniors graduating Spring 2024 are not eligible for SURF
  • Enrolled in courses for Fall 2024

California Pre-Doctoral Program Scholars click here for more information on participating in SURF.

CSULB BUILD Scholars click here for more information on participating in SURF. 

Funding Package for 2024 Program:

  • Participants will be awarded a $4,000 research stipend. (*Note: Stipend is subject to income tax).
  • Optional GRE preparation cours

U. S Citizens, Permanent Residents and AB540 are eligible to apply. The opportunity is available to enrolled students only.

The program application requirements are a completed application, personal history statement, unofficial transcript, and one letter of recommendation.

Most of the workshops are scheduled in the morning to allow program participants to focus on research in the afternoon. GRE workshops may take place in the evenings.

Varies. This can range between 35-40 hours per week during the summer program.

The goal of the program is for students to acquire research experience full time. Our students are required to participate in research 35-40 hours per week.

Yes as long as they are faculty and can speak to your qualifications, academic success and potential for research.

Students are responsible for securing their own faculty mentor for the summer after being accepted to SURF. Students contact the faculty at UCI to ask about research opportunities for the summer and then take it from there. Information on UCI Faculty can be found here:  We encourage students to contact a faculty member whose research interests are aligned to their own.

Yes, the program will be held in person for Summer 2023

No, students can opt in to the GRE preparation course as part of the program.