Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship

The SURF program provides a stipend to support CCS students in summer research projects working in a faculty-led research group at UCSB. This experience is perhaps the most effective means of training students in the sciences. Students can see what graduate research is like and obtain the experience needed to be competitive in graduate admissions and graduate fellowship awards. Such research experience normally is most effective after the sophomore or junior years. Prior SURF recipients, Freshman students, and Seniors who are graduating from CCS are not eligible to receive a SURF award. Students must have good academic records to be eligible.  Students graduating in less than four years or in BS/MS programs may be considered for funding in the summer of their Sophomore or Junior year.

Research Project & Duration

Students are to have a summer research project or research area in mind, and must establish contact with a Research Director(s) in order to apply. See “Apply” section below for letter of recommendation requirements. For projects to be most effective, they usually should be for as long a period as possible, optimally for 12 weeks. Award payments for students working full time on research projects for fewer than 12 weeks will be pro-rated to the duration of the research. Please have your Research Director fill in the information requested in your SURF application (see attached).

Research work is expected to be full-time for 10-12 weeks and not to overlap in time with any other work, internships, classes or fellowships. Research Directors should be on the UCSB faculty, but need not be on the CCS faculty. Projects must be designed in consultation with the Research Director, and are usually related to other work going on in their laboratory. Shorter periods of research time or research together with a maximum of one Summer Session course may be arranged in some instances by special request to the SURF Committee, and in consultation with the Research Director.

Project Deliverables

Research Poster

The poster will be showcased in the CCS gallery during “CCS Science Week”, scheduled in the following Fall. The posters need not be extensive, and can be generated in one large sheet or several smaller sheets. Posters should be accessible to intelligent non-specialists. You can see previous SURF posters in the CCS halls. Posters will be due one week prior to the start of CCS Science Week.


Abstract briefly summarizing your project to be submitted as a Word Document two weeks before CCS science week. A sample format for the abstract will be sent to awardees with the award letter. Abstracts will be shared with donors and kept as an example for future SURF recipients.

Donor Thank You Letter

The CCS SURF program is largely funded by private donations. As such, awardees are responsible for writing a letter of appreciation to the donor who funded their award. This is also due two weeks before CCS Science Week in the Fall.

CCS Science Week Reception

Attendance at CCS Science Week Reception in the Fall – Attendance at CCS Science Week Reception in the Fall – SURF recipients are expected to attend the CCS Science Week Reception that is scheduled during CCS Science Week. This reception is to congratulate and recognize completion of the awardees’ summer research. It is also an opportunity for awardees to discuss their work with family, peers and donors who have funded the SURF program. The Reception will be held on the Saturday of UCSB Parent’s and Family Weekend (date is TBA).


Please submit the following to Julia Diamond in office 104

  1. Your completed application, including your Research Director’s signature approval.
  2. A minimum of two letters of recommendation, including one from the Research Director who will direct your work. The other may be from an advisor, or another faculty familiar with your background and work. One letter from a laboratory TA is acceptable. It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure the submission of these letters by the application deadline. Please allow the letter writers sufficient time. Letters of recommendation may also be submitted via email to

Awardees are selected by the CCS SURF Committee based on their application and letters of recommendation. Award announcements will be made by mid-May.

Note: prior to entering information, be sure to save a copy of the form to a computer/device with access to a printer. This will help ensure that information entered is not lost.

Related Links:


Research and Creative Activity Conference (RACA-CON)

All SURF participants are required to give a poster at the annual RACA-CON. They are also encouraged to give a short interdisciplinary talk at the conference.