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Student-Faculty Programs

Welcome to the world of undergraduate research at Caltech! Research has always been a big part of the undergraduate experience at Caltech. In fact, today it is one of the main reasons why students choose to come to Caltech. The low student-faculty ratio (3:1) provides undergraduates with many opportunities to be involved in cutting-edge scientific research. Considering the Caltech professorial faculty and the postdoctoral population, there is at least one Ph.D.-level researcher for every undergraduate!

The Student-Faculty Programs (SFP) office provides support to students wishing to participate in undergraduate research. We administer several summer undergraduate research programs, including the SURF, Amgen Scholars, and WAVE Fellows programs. SURF, (Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships) is our flagship program! Since 1979, over 7,300 students have participated in SURF.

Application procedures and selection criteria vary among the different programs, but they all have similar elements:

  • Students collaborate with mentors
  • Students write research proposals or project plans
  • Selected participants do their projects over a ten-week period in the summer
  • Students submit technical papers and give oral presentations at the conclusion of the summer

During the summer, SFP coordinates faculty seminars, academic and professional development workshops, and social activities open to participants in all programs. Our goal is to provide a vibrant, scholarly summer community on campus.  We hope you join us!


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