The summer 2017 SURF L&S application is now closed. The deadline was Feb 16, 2017. For those of you thinking of applying for summer 2018, we strongly encourage you to do all of the following next fall and winter:
  • attend one of our SURF info sessions
  • closely read through this website so that you fully understand the eligibility requirements and the fellowship commitment for the specific SURF program you are applying to
  • make an appointment with the appropriate SURF advisor (Justin for STEM or Melissa for Humanities and Social Science) to discuss your application. Appointments with Melissa can be made through this link. Appointments with Justin can be made through this link. 
  • discuss your plans with prospective faculty sponsors as soon as possible and determine who will sponsor your research and write your letter of recommendation
  • If you are a STEM student in L&S and you also meet the eligibility requirements of Rose Hills Independent, you can apply to both programs. 

The online application will ask you for the following information and documents.

(1) RESEARCH PROPOSAL - The main section of your proposal (sections "A" through "D" below) must not exceed 5 pages. We recommend you download the “SURF Proposal Prompt” (see link at the bottom of the page) to guide you in writing the proposal and also that you read the Writing Research Proposals webpage.

A) A statement of the “research question and purpose of the research” (175-200 words)

B) The “background on your research topic” summarizing what is already known about your field and how you intend to build upon this knowledge through your research (1-2 pages)

C) The “project plan” for your research including a discussion of the research methods you will employ and a detailed timeline for your plan of action over the summer.  Your timeline must show us that your are planning to carry out a minimum of 8 weeks of research during the 14 week summer period (May 15 through August 11). Many SURF Scholars get the most out of their project by doing more than eight weeks. Your eight weeks do not have to be contiguous, but we have seen year after year how beneficial it is to minimize significant breaks in your research flow. In this section, chronologically specify the research tasks you intend to accomplish and the date by which they will be accomplished. Try to be realistic. State how the work done in the summer will fit into your larger research project (i.e. preparation you have already done or will do before summer, and your thesis to be completed during the 2017-2018 academic year.)

D) Your “Qualifications” including academic history, connection to your faculty mentor, and any other relevant experiences

E) “Bibliography” of citations for your proposal

F) Optional Section: Appendix (photos, etc)

G) Optional Section: Additional Support - Use this section to describe other resources (including other grants, scholarships, faculty funds, personal funds) you have applied for or received to support this project. In this section you can also describe other people or organizations that will be critical to your success and the implementation of your summer research timeline. This is often relevant for social science, history, and humanities projects that require you to utilize the facilities, services or personnel of other institutions. (A study of kindergarten teachers, for example, could require prior approval of the principal.) To show the review committee your preparation, please give the names, phone numbers and e-mail addresses of key people you have contacted whose cooperation will be critical to your success and the implementation of your summer research timeline. If your project includes significant use of or collaboration with such things, consider including in this section a short “Support Letter” confirming their involvement.


(2) TRANSCRIPT(S): CalCentral is a new campus system, so some of you may not yet be familiar with how to print out your transcript. To get your UC Berkeley grades, go to CalCentral, then "MyAcademics", then "View Academic Summary" (top of the center column), then upper left corner, press "print", and make a pdf.  Make sure it's readable. If not, try a different browser.  You'll upload that pdf to the application. If you are transfer student, your transfer units are likely listed in CalCentral but not the grade. In this case, please scan a copy of your transcript from your most recent other institution.  


(3) HUMAN SUBJECTS DOCUMENTATION: If your proposed research involves human subjects, then you must get approval from a campus organization called the Committee For Protection of Human Subjects (CPHS) before you begin your research. Read the Human Subjects section of our website to get full details on this process. Approval from CPHS does not usually occur until after you have applied to SURF. However, your SURF application might be strengthened if you can show evidence that you have begun the CPHS process - for example:  completing your CITI online course, submitting your protocol, or CPHS approval for your project. Note: Even though submitting these documents is not required by the February 16th deadline, it will show your preparedness to the selection committee. SURF Program Advisors and your faculty sponsors are available to help you with preparing this CPHS paperwork. SURF applicants with human subjects research will be notified of selection results by March 9th.  All other applicants will be notified by March 28th. (NOTE: Your research may qualify for exempt review if it fits into exempt categories; if in doubt, check with CPHS; do not assume you qualify for exempt review without consulting.  Exempt review takes less than 8 weeks as research within those categories have null risk. Read more about the exempt categories here.)


(4) FACULTY RESEARCH SPONSOR: The sponsor must be a UC Berkeley faculty member (Professor or Lecturer) who will be appointed through Fall 2017. This is true even if you are a STEM student seeking to do summer research in a LBNL, CHORI, or UCSF lab. In other words, if you are proposing to do research at LBNL, CHORI, or UCSF, then you might have two mentors, and your UC Berkeley based mentor must be the one submitting your recommendation and agreeing to oversee your senior thesis. Sometimes the two mentors co-sign the one recommedation letter. For FAQ on letters of recommendation for SURF, see the downloadable PDF at the apply section of the website. 

(5) LETTER OF RECOMMENDATION: Your faculty research sponsor’s letter of recommendation will be uploaded via the link you provide them and should address the following topics:

• Research Question and Design: Does the proposal ask an interesting question and is it well designed to answer that question? Is it independent research?

• Timeline: Can the project outlined be realistically completed in the timeline proposed?

• Faculty Guidance: Is the faculty member willing to guide this student's research? Faculty sponsors should be available by phone or email during the summer.

• Faculty knowledge of this student's ability to complete assignments responsibly, and sponsor's confidence in student's ability to solve problems they might encounter in this project.


Note: Be sure to give a copy of your research proposal to your research sponsor, along with the appropriate research sponsor information sheet (see links at the bottom of this page.)