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Program Description

Caltech's Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships (SURF) program introduces students to research under the guidance of seasoned research mentors at Caltech and JPL. Students experience the process of research as a creative intellectual activity.

SURF is modeled on the grant-seeking process:

  • Students collaborate with potential mentors to define and develop a project
  • Applicants write research proposals for their projects
  • Faculty review the proposals and recommend awards
  • Students carry out the work over a 10-week period during the summer
  • At the conclusion of the program, students submit a technical paper and give an oral presentation at one of several SURF Seminar Days, symposia modeled on a professional technical meeting.

Fellows receive a $6,000 award for the ten-week period. Award payments are distributed in equal installments in late June and late July. 

To enrich the research experience, SURF Fellows are invited to attend the following:

  • Weekly seminars by Caltech faculty & JPL scientists and engineers
  • An academic and professional development series on developing a research career, graduate school admissions, and other topics of interest to future researchers
  • Various social and cultural activities
  • Weekly small student-faculty dinners
  •  Special field trips