Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF)

student in lab
student in lab

The Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) Program at UT Southwestern's Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences is an intensive summer research training experience designed for college students who are preparing for Ph.D. or M.D./Ph.D. careers in biomedical research. Fellows spend 10 weeks (beginning in early June and ending mid-August) pursuing individual research projects in the laboratories of Graduate School faculty members.

Fellows gain experience in modern research techniques and plan and execute an experimental strategy to answer a scientific question. SURF introduces students to the kinds of projects encountered during postgraduate research training and fosters an understanding of the planning, discipline, and teamwork involved in the pursuit of answers to current questions in the biological sciences. At the end of the SURF Program, fellows present their research during a poster session. 

In addition to laboratory research, fellows attend weekly seminars given by UT Southwestern faculty members. Informal discussions about careers in science and graduate training are also scheduled.

Approximately 85 fellows participate in the summer research program. Fellows are assigned to a laboratory and research project according to their previous training and research interests.

Research areas:

  • Biological Chemistry
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Biophysics 
  • Cancer Biology
  • Cell Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Developmental Biology
  • Genetics
  • Immunology
  • Integrative Biology
  • Mechanisms of Disease
  • Molecular Biology
  • Microbiology
  • Neuroscience
  • Pharmacology

Natural and biological sciences majors who have an interest in kidney disease should apply to the Summer Undergraduate Research Institution for the Study of Kidney Disease (SURISKD) Program.

Physical science, mathematics, biomedical engineering, and chemistry majors should consider the Quantitative and Physical Sciences Summer Undergraduate Fellowship (QP-SURF) Program

Eligibility for SURF

Applicants must be enrolled in an undergraduate science degree program and have completed their sophomore year. Applicants must also be U.S. citizens or possess an F1 Visa.

Criteria used in selection of fellowship recipients include:

  • College grades
  • Relevant experience
  • Letters of recommendation from faculty who can assess the applicant's potential for advanced training and success in biological research
  • Career goals include pursuing Ph.D. or M.D./Ph.D. degree

Physical science, mathematics, biomedical engineering, and chemistry majors should consider the Quantitative and Physical Sciences Summer Undergraduate Fellowship (QP-SURF) Program

Stipend

The stipend for the 10-week program is $4,000. This support is taxable. Details on local living accommodations will be provided when fellows are notified of their acceptance. If a fellow requires housing, then the costs will be covered by SURF; however, fellows are responsible for paying for their own travel expenses.

How to Apply for SURF

To apply for 2015 SURF, please complete the online SURF 2015 Application. Within the application, you will need to upload your transcripts (official or unofficial) from each college you have attended.

Also, please contact your recommenders and have them email the letters of recommendation to Vanessa A. Powell at vanessa.powell@utsouthwestern.edu.

We also require two letters of recommendation, which can come from mentors, teachers, employers, or advisers. Letters should discuss the applicant's scientific and intellectual abilities, previous training and experience, and potential for a career in research.

Our preferred method of submission of letters of recommendation is for the recommenders to email the letters directly to vanessa.powell@utsouthwestern.edu.

If an electronic submission is not possible, the letters may be mailed from the recommender to:

UT Southwestern Medical Center
ATTN: Vanessa A. Powell, SURF Administrator
5323 Harry Hines Blvd.
Dallas, TX 75390-9004

IMPORTANT: You must request the letter of recommendation from your recommenders and provide them the information on how to send their respective letter. The SURF Program will not contact your recommenders. 

The deadline is February 9, 2015.

Housing

Housing needs for SURF students are coordinated through the SURF office. SURF students requiring housing will stay in a local hotel and be transported to and from the UT Southwestern campus daily. SURF participants with family or friends in the Dallas/Fort Worth area should plan to stay with them.