SURF FAQ

Applications for Summer 2015 will be due February, 2015.

 

I am not a US citizen or Permanent Resident (green card holder) of the US.  Can I apply for SURF?

  • No. Unfortunately, our funding sources allow us to offer fellowships only to US citizens and Permanent Residents. However, we recommend that you visit the summer opportunities section of the UROP website to learn more about other summer research opportunities which may not have this funding restriction.

I am a BU student. Can I apply for SURF?

  • Yes. If you are a BU student, you may be eligible for the SURF program. The SURF program is designed primarily for students from other colleges and universities, but we select 2-3 outstanding BU students to participate as peer mentors each summer. These BU students participate in all research activities under their BU faculty mentor. Please contact the UROP staff if you are interested in this opportunity. UROP’s main summer program is for BU students exclusively. Visit the application information section of the UROP website to learn more about opportunities available on campus, or check the summer opportunities page for information about summer opportunities both at BU and other institutions.

I am not a member of an underrepresented minority group. Can I apply for SURF?

  • Yes. We welcome applications from all eligible undergraduate students interested in participating in the SURF program. However, please keep in mind that the number of applications that we receive normally allows us to fill all positions with outstanding students who are members of groups traditionally underrepresented in the sciences.

How many people apply for SURF?

  • Applications to the SURF Program have increased each year since it began. For summer 2014, over 900 students applied, and 10 participated in the program. We expect to admit about 10-12 students for Summer 2015, depending on funding availability.

How are SURF participants chosen?

  • Admission to the SURF Program is based on a number of factors. We consider an applicant’s higher education and career goals, personal statement, research interests, academic record, and the availability of a suitable Boston University research mentor. All applications are evaluated by the program staff; top applications are then reviewed by the UROP Director and potential faculty mentors.

How do I submit my application materials?

  • The application itself must be completed online. There are two ways to submit the supporting materials (the letters of recommendation and official transcript). You may collect these items and mail them to our office. If you choose this option, you must ensure that they are each in individual sealed envelopes, and, in the case of the letters of recommendation, that they are signed across the back flap by the recommender. Alternatively, the official transcript and your letters of recommendation may be submitted directly to the UROP office from the school or professor. In either case, all materials must arrive by the application deadline. Application materials should be mailed to:
    Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP)
    143 Bay State Road
    Boston, MA 02215
  • Emailed recommendations are acceptable only if absolutely necessary and with the prior approval of a UROP staff member. Circumstances that render an emailed application “absolutely necessary” may include a professor who is abroad and without access to a reliable mail system that can ensure receipt of the recommendation by the deadline, a professor with a family emergency, or other similar situation. Emailed recommendations must include the recommender’s contact information (name, address, email address, and phone number) or they will not be accepted. We will follow up with the sender to ensure authenticity of emailed recommendations.

Who should write a letter of recommendation for me?

  • Your two letters should be from faculty members who can evaluate your academic potential. If you have previously been involved in research, we suggest that you request a recommendation from the professor who supervised that research. We recommend that you contact professors well in advance of the deadline. A well-prepared recommendation should evaluate your strengths and weaknesses as well as your potential as a researcher and academic achievements, communicate information about any relevant laboratory skills, and address your general character and work ethic. Letters of recommendation should be submitted on letterhead stationery in a sealed envelope (and, if submitted by the applicant, signed across the seal). Recommendation letters are weighed heavily in the selection process, so it is important to make sure they are submitted on time. It is the applicant’s responsibility to make sure both recommendations are submitted by the deadline.

How will I know when my application is complete?

  • You may contact the UROP office at urop@bu.edu to ensure that your materials have been received. Please allow two weeks after the post mark date for materials sent to our office to be entered into our database.

When will I find out if I have been accepted?

  • Final decisions are usually made by April 15.

How do I know who my faculty mentor will be?

  • A list of professors who have agreed to participate as research mentors is available on this page. In the application, you will be asked to select three faculty members whose research interests are similar to yours. If you are awarded a Fellowship, you will be working in the lab of one of these three mentors. We make every effort to arrange the best possible placement.

What type of summer housing do you offer?

  • SURF participants are provided with Boston University housing in an apartment-style double room for the duration of the program. These apartments generally house two students, and have their own kitchens and bathrooms. Participants are not required to live in University housing for the summer, but we cannot provide a subsidy if you choose to live in non-BU housing. We do not have housing available for married students or any other couple arrangements.

Will I be on a meal plan?

  • The SURF Program does not provide a meal plan to students. Participants may elect to purchase a University or off-campus meal plan. Each apartment-style residence includes kitchen facilities, though students will have to supply their own pots, pans, and other kitchen supplies.

Should I bring a car?

  • We do not recommend that you bring a car to Boston for the summer. The public transportation system is excellent. Moreover, parking permits are rather expensive (over $300 for the summer) and often do not guarantee you a spot.

How do I get answers to other questions?

  • We will gladly respond to any questions about the program that are not addressed here. You can email us at urop@bu.edu or call 617-353-2020 to speak with a staff member.

Do you have information about other similar programs, either at Boston University or at other institutions?

  • Yes, please check our summer opportunities page for information about similar programs hosted by other institutions.