FAQ

We have now chosen students for our summer 2022 program.

If you have not received word from us, you will not be selected. We received about 1000 applicants for about 11 positions, and we do not have the staff to contact everyone individually.  Thanks for your interest in our program.

The program will run from June 6 – August 12 in summer 2022.

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 can select 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 SURF staff if you are interested in this opportunity.  Visit the application information section of the SURF 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. Note, as per NSF guidelines, many of the our participants will be from groups who are underrepresented in the sciences.

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 2021, over 1000 students applied, and 9 participated in the program. We expect to admit about 10-12 students for Summer 2023.

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 SURF Director and potential faculty research mentors.

How do I submit my application materials?

  • The application itself must be completed online.
  • Transcripts: You should submit an unofficial copy of your transcript by emailing it to surf@bu.edu (in the subject header put your “Name Name – unofficial transcript). If you are accepted to the SURF program, we will ask you to submit an official copy of your transcript.
  • Letters of Recommendation: two letters of recommendation are required as part of your SURF application. Your recommenders may email their recommendations to surf@bu.edu 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 Biology Department at this address (we prefer emailed):
    Boston University                                                                                                                                                     Biology Department (ATTN: Melissa Mele)
    5 Cummington Mall
    Boston, MA 02215
  • All materials must arrive by the application deadline which will be sometime in March, 2023.

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 SURF office at surf@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?

  • Decisions are generally made on a rolling basis. For next summer (2023) we expect to receive a large number of applicants. We are planning to send out final decisions by May at the latest.

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 gilmore@bu.edu or surf@bu.edu or call 617-353-2432 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.