Program Description

Caltech's Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships 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
  • A faculty committee reviews the proposals and recommends awards
  • Students carry out the work over a 10-week period in the summer, mid-June to late August
  • At the conclusion of the program, they submit a technical paper and give an oral presentation at SURF Seminar Day, a symposium modeled on a professional technical meeting

Fellows receive a $6,000 award for the ten-week period. Award payments will be 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
  • A 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