Applications for Summer 2016 will be due at a date to be announced in February, 2016.

The application will be open for submissions in December, 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 1-3 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 the number of applications 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 2015, over 800 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.
  • Transcripts: You may submit an unofficial copy of your application by uploading a copy of it with your application (there is an option for this on the application itself) or by emailing it to (we prefer that you upload it with your application). If you are accepted to the SURF program, we will ask you to submit an official copy of your transcript.
  • Letters of Recommendation: 2 letters of recommendation are required as part of your SURF application. Your recommenders may email their recommendations to with the subject line “NSF-REU Letter of Recommendation for [Student’s Full Name]“. The email must come directly from your recommender (not from the applicant) and must include your recommender’s contact information.
  • Alternatively, your recommenders can choose to mail their letters directly to the UROP office at this address (we prefer emailed):
    Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP)
    143 Bay State Road
    Boston, MA 02215
  • All materials must arrive by the application deadline.

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. 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 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?

  • Decisions are generally made on a rolling basis. In general, the final decisions are usually made before 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 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.