What is SURF L&S?

SURF L&S supports undergraduates in the College of Letters and Science to spend the summer doing concentrated research in preparation for a senior thesis or other major capstone research project. Fellows receive a summer stipend of approximately $4000, which is intended to cover basic living expenses for two months. 

In addition to funding, each SURF L&S fellow is assigned to a small research cluster which meets regularly throughout the summer. In the cluster you will find a community of undergraduate researchers with similar interests. Each cluster is led by a SURF Program Advisor - an experienced researcher to help guide your efforts. Primary guidance in research will come from individual faculty mentors, but most students have found it very valuable to meet with other students who are grappling with related research issues. The SURF L&S program culminates with a research presentation at the SURF Conference - August 16th and 17th, 2018. The format of your presentation depends on your discipline. 

In addition, SURF L&S fellows in the social sciences and humanities have an opportunity to publish in the SURF conference proceedings issue.  

 

ELIGIBILITY

The application deadline for SURF 2018 will be February 22, 2018. The application forms will be available here in late November.

You may apply for "SURF L&S" if you meet all of the following:

  • are a student currently enrolled in the UC Berkeley College of Letters and Science (L&S)
  • have a minimum 3.0 GPA at UC Berkeley
  • March 2018 will be at least your 5th semester at UC Berkeley (at least 2nd semester at UCB if a transfer student) and you will graduate Fall '18 or Spring '19. Sophomores planning to graduate in three years, please contact the Director, Sean Burns (surf@berkeley.edu) for instructions.
  • have a well-written and reasoned proposal for an independent research project to complete in the summer of 2017, which will culminate in a senior thesis or other capstone research project that will be evaluated, preferably for a letter grade rather than P/NP, in a course during the 2018-19 school year.
  • are able to devote yourself to research full-time for a minimum of eight weeks during the summer.
  • have the full support and guidance of a regular UC Berkeley faculty member (professor or lecturer) who can guide you for the duration of your project. Students carrying out independent research in UCSF, CHORI, or LBNL labs may apply if they have sponsorship of a UC Berkeley faculty member who will sponsor their senior thesis or its equivalent following their summer with SURF.
  • International and AB540 students are eligible and encouraged to apply to SURF L&S. 

 

SELECTION CRITERIA

SURF L&S awards will go to students who have an interesting research question, a well-conceived research plan, and clear faculty support. Successful applicants will show promise of a quick start and the potential to complete their project within the proposed timeline, though projects should be a subset of a larger project, such as the data-gathering part of a senior thesis or independent study to be completed in the fellow's final year of study. SURF L&S must be entering their final year or final semester and have no other research funding. There are a limited number of SURF fellowships. Students who win other substantial summer awards will be expected to decline the SURF award so that additional students may benefit from summer research.

Please note that this fellowship is for student-initiated research only. Therefore, it is not for students who are supporting the research of faculty members. Ask yourself this question: Are you free to publish results from this research? If not, it may not qualify as student-initiated. Talk to your faculty sponsor if you have doubts.

COMMITMENTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES

Fellows are expected to work full-time on their research project for two months during the summer (specifically 8 weeks out of the 14 week full timeline of SURF). We require that you forego employment and summer session enrollment for that period. Eight weeks is the minimum requirement. We have found that most summer fellows get the most out of the experience by going beyond this minimum requirement. 

All research fellows are required to: attend one orientation in the first week of May RRR week options include (May 2 from 3-5pm; May 4 from 4-6pm; May 5 from 10am-12noon), two cluster meetings in mid-summer, and one meeting to prepare for the conference presentation. This preparation meeting usually happens in the week before or the week of the Conference. Fellows are urged to attend as many cluster meetings as possible. Students whose research takes them away from Berkeley may seek to be excused from attending some of these meetings in person, but will be required to attend virtually and/or regularly discuss progress with their SURF advisor and to present results at the end of the summer.

On or before June 1, all research fellows must submit a photo, a project description, and a brief statement on the personal meaning of this opportunity, to be posted on the SURF website.

All fellows will be required to make a "work-in-progress presentation" at the SURF conference on August 16th and 17th, 2018. 

After the Conference, there are also a few requirements including: an online evaluation, a thank you statement to the fellow's donor, and a one page summary of progress to date signed by the faculty mentor. You must be enrolled in a senior thesis or other capstone research project that will be evaluated, preferably for a letter grade rather than P/NP, in a course during the 2017-18 school year. Lastly, a copy of your final, completed research project (thesis) must be received by the Office of Undergraduate Research before the end of the term in which you graduate. An online exit survey is the final step in the SURF program.