The California Institute of Technology’s Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships (SURF) support ten weeks of research under the guidance of faculty mentors at Caltech and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). The program is open to Caltech students and non-Caltech students, although funding for non-Caltech students is limited.
SURF participants are considered Caltech student employees and receive $600 per week, for a total of $6,000. Participants may live in Caltech housing during their fellowship periods and are required to purchase a declining balance card to use at Caltech and JPL dining facilities. Fellows also participate in weekly seminars with Caltech faculty and JPL technical staff, professional development activities, and social and cultural activities.
Non-Caltech candidates must be continuing undergraduate students who have a cumulative GPA of at least 2.5 on a four-point scale and who will have completed at least two semesters before beginning their fellowships. Candidates must also be in good disciplinary standing.
Selection committees look for clear research proposals that show an understanding of the nature and purpose of the research project proposed, projects that have the potential for eventual publication in refereed journals, individual qualifications to complete proposed projects successfully within ten weeks, and supportive recommendations from mentors and other faculty members.
Note: Interested students must identify and contact a faculty mentor in advance of submitting an application to secure support for a research project and collaboration in defining it. This early interaction is a very important part of the application process.