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
  • 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 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
  • 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