Graduate Division

SURF - Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship



UC Irvine’s Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program offers undergraduate and master’s diversity students an opportunity to work closely with faculty mentors on research projects and provides an intense course of graduate preparation workshops. SURF is designed for students who plan to pursue a Ph.D. or M.F.A. degree and enter academic careers, provides the tools needed to facilitate application, admission, and enrollment to graduate school. The SURF program is open to virtually all academic fields at UC Irvine. Qualified students with interest in pursuing their graduate program at UC Irvine are especially encouraged to apply. 

2021 virtual program dates: June 21 – August 13, 2021*

** Program dates are subject to change due to COVID-19.


Research Mentorship Experience
Scholars secure summer mentorship with UC Irvine faculty members whose special expertise and interests matches those of the student’s research interest and career goals. Faculty members serve as advisors and mentors and assist the scholars in developing and completing a research action plan.

Graduate School Preparation

Scholars participate in a graduate preparation component to provide special training in areas critical to academic success. This includes workshops and sessions on the following:

  • Successfully applying to graduate school
  • Successfully applying for fellowships
  • GRE preparation course (optional)
  • Academic writing
  • Preparing academic presentations
  • Academic career planning

2021 scholars will have the option to participate in the GRE preparation course.

Summer Research Program Symposium
SURF culminates with the Summer Research Program Symposium. All summer participants will present either an oral or poster presentation on their summer research. Preparation for participation in the symposium focuses on building effective oral communication to a range of audiences and helps participants hone their public speaking skills.

Networking Opportunities

Throughout the Summer Research Program, SURF participants will have the opportunity to share information and experiences with participants of other diversity programs including UC LEADS California Pre-Doctoral Program  and the Competitive Edge Program. Participants will also be assigned to a Graduate Student Mentor who will help facilitate their participation in the program, and will serve as a peer mentor and point of reference for the student. This is a great opportunity for participants to gain insight into the life of a UC Irvine graduate student.

Expectations of Student Participants

  • Scholars attend and participate in all activities
  • Scholars must commit to working in their assigned labs remotely for the full 8 weeks of the program (15-20 hours per week)
  • Scholars will have individual academic and research obligations with their faculty mentor/advisor
  • Scholars should expect to meet at least once a week with their research mentor/advisor, or more often, depending on the project and the mentor's arrangement
  • Scholars will be expected to meet with the program coordinator during regularly scheduled meetings to discuss the progress of their research project
  • Scholars will be required to submit weekly assignments including program evaluation.
  • Scholars will be required to present their research at the University of California, Irvine Summer Research Program Symposium


  • U.S. citizens, permanent residents, AB540 eligible
  • Juniors, seniors or master’s students interested in pursuing a Ph.D.
  • Students who will be enrolled full-time at a college or university during the Spring and Fall 2021 terms
  • Students with a 3.0 cumulative grade point average or better (on a 4 point scale)
  • Students interested in attending UC Irvine for graduate studies
  • Students from educationally disadvantaged or underserved backgrounds are especially encouraged to apply
  • SURF is open to students in virtually all academic fields (e.g., arts, humanities, social sciences, social ecology, biological sciences, engineering, education, computer sciences, and physical sciences)
  • International students are not eligible for SURF
  • UCI students are not eligbile for SURF
  • Seniors graduating Spring 2021 are not eligible for SURF

California Pre-Doctoral Program Scholars click here for more information on participating in SURF.

CSULB BUILD Scholars click here for more information on participating in SURF. 

Funding Package for 2021 Program:

  • Participants will be awarded a $4,000 research stipend. (*Note: Stipend is subject to income tax).
  • Optional GRE preparation course


Summer 2021 application is now closed.

Summer 2022 application will open November 2021. Visit our website for program updates.

Graduate Student Mentors 

Mentorship Overview 

Graduate Student Mentors will have the opportunity to mentor diverse undergraduates in the areas of academic writing and graduate preparation. This eight-week program runs from June 21st - August 13th, 2021. Graduate Student Mentors will commit 5 to 7 hours of work each week. Students from all disciplines (STEM and non-STEM) are encouraged to apply

Benefits and Compensation 

  • Engage with diverse undergraduate students and play a significant role in helping them achieve graduate readiness 
  • Acquire mentoring skills and experience in group settings
  • Stipend of up to $500 is payable upon completion of duties and completion of Mentoring Excellence Program (MEP)
  • The Graduate Student Mentor position is not a residential position and will not include compensation for housing.

Eligibility and Requirements

  • Doctoral students currently in their second year or beyond are preferred (first-year students will be considered)
  • Completion of the Mentoring Excellence Program (MEP) is required - If not yet completed, applicants must enroll and successfully complete the MEP certificate program this summer
  • Must be in good academic standing
  • Past or current experience working with diverse student backgrounds is preferred

Responsibilities and Expectations 

  • Provide mentorship to assigned participant(s) via virtual platforms such as zoom.
  • Provide mentees with feedback on program assignments which will include: 
    • Personal history statements, statements of purpose, and presentation 
  • Share experiences to inform undergraduate students about graduate school life and available research opportunities 
  • Report any concerns regarding mentee(s)' progress or well-being to Program Coordinator
  • Graduate Student Mentors should be available for writing workshops from 9:00-11:00 am on the following dates
    • Friday, July 2nd
    • Friday, July 9th
    • Friday, July 16th  
    • Friday, July 23rd  
    • Wednesday, July 28th
    • Friday, July 30th  
    • Friday, August 6th

Application NOW available.

  • The completed application must be received by the deadline to be considered
  • Please upload your resume/CV directly to the application 

Graduate Student Lead (Assistant Position): Summer Research Programs

Summer Salary Range:  


June 18 – September 10, 2021

The summer research program will be held virtually from June 21 – August 13, 2021. The program is intended to prepare undergraduate and masters diversity students gain graduate preparation readiness and research experience.

Duties and Responsibilities:

  1. Assist and report to the Outreach and Recruitment Coordinator.
  2. Serve as graduate mentor to summer program participants.
    1. Assist mentees in the development of individualized success plans, which may include research skills development, study skills, writing  and communication skills
    2. Report on regular basis any concerns regarding participant progress or wellbeing.
    3. Meet with the assigned SRP students on an individual basis throughout the summer program (e.g. weekly and/or biweekly).
  3. Administrative
    1. Attend mandatory GSL training
    2. Attend weekly staff meetings with the GSLs and summer program staff.
    3. Attend weekly individual meetings with the Outreach and Recruitment Coordinator and GD Staff
    4. Document student meetings and communicate any training needs and/or student concerns to Outreach and Recruitment Coordinator 
    5. Assist with CE programing (including attending workshops/taking attendance).
  4. Programming
    1. Assist in developing additional workshops in consultation with the Summer Program staff (e.g. Communication presentations, graduate student panels, etc.
    2. Team building
  5. Post programming
    1. Submit a written report within two weeks of the close of the summer program summarizing the experience for this position, and providing critical feedback on activities both from the perspective of students as well as from the perspective of the position of GSR.

For questions please contact:

Mariela Menendez
Outreach and Recruitment Coordinator 

Please read frequently asked questions prior to applying.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is eligible to apply to SURF?

U. S Citizens, Permanent Residents and AB540 are eligible to apply. The opportunity is available to enrolled students only. 

What the application requirements?

The program application requirements are a completed application (available via Google forms), personal history statement, unofficial transcript, and one letter of recommendation.

Does the program pay for housing? 

No, the program will be held virtually. 

When are workshops scheduled?

Most of the workshops are scheduled in the morning to allow program participants to focus on research in the afternoon. GRE workshops may take place in the evenings.

How many hours of research am I expected to conduct during the summer?

Varies. This can range between 15-20 hours per week during the virtual summer program.

Can I work part time during the summer program?

The goal of the program is for students to acquire research experience full time. Our students are required to participate in research 35-40 hours per week.

Can faculty outside my home institution write a letter of recommendation on my behalf?

Yes as long as they are faculty and can speak to your qualifications, academic success and potential for research.

Am I assigned a faculty mentor for the summer program?

Students are responsible for securing their own faculty mentor for the summer after being accepted to SURF. Students contact the faculty at UCI to ask about research opportunities for the summer and then take it from there. Information on UCI Faculty can be found here:  We encourage students to contact a faculty member whose research interests are aligned to their own.

Will the program be virtual or in person?

Yes, the program will be held virtually for the summer. 

Will I be required to take the GRE preparation course? 

No, students can opt in to the GRE preparation course as part of the program.  

SURF decisions for summer 2021 have been communicated. Contact with any questions.