Student Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF)

SURF provides undergraduate students an opportunity to develop a sustained relationship with a faculty member (over the course of one, two, or three semesters) to carry out in-depth research, scholarship, or creative projects. The amount of money available for travel and supplies for students is based on the number of semesters the project will require. Students from all departments and majors are encouraged to apply. 

Completed SURF applications are due to the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs in Torreyson West, Ste. 328 between October 16 – 18.  All application materials must be submitted by no later than October 18th at 4:00 PM.

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To be eligible, students must have

  • Completed 30 or more hours of credit toward their degree by January 1, 2024.
  • Must have a minimum GPA of 3.25.
  • Must be U.S. citizen or a permanent resident alien.
  • Must have the commitment of a mentor with tenure/tenure track or full-time faculty status.
  • Must be working toward an undergraduate degree/cannot be a graduate student.

Research, scholarship, and creative projects from any discipline are considered eligible.

First-year students who are not yet eligible should consider planning for next year’s opportunity by writing a short synopsis of a project they wish to undertake and asking potential faculty mentors for guidance in developing a proposal.

Important Dates

  • April 18, 2023: Attend SURF Panel Discussion, 3:00 – 4:00 PM | Spring 2023 SURF Panel Recording
  • September 13, 2023: Attend the SURF Webinar.
  • September 27, 2023: Deadline to register for SURF. Register here by September 27!
  • September 28 – October 6, 2023: Submission planning meetings with ORSP grant administrator(s) and proposal development specialist
  • October 9, 2023: Priority deadline to submit budget and narrative drafts to ORSP for review at
  • October 16 – 18, 2023: Deadline window to turn in all final application materials to ORSP, Torreyson West, Ste. 328.
  • December 1, 2023: Deadline to have all IRB/IACUC approvals in place.


  1. Students register to apply for SURF. Registration link coming soon!
  2. Students and mentors complete the two budget forms and the cover page and meet with a grant administrator (Macy Geddes,
  3. Students obtain letters of support, letters of recommendation, transcripts, and a printout of current class schedule from myUCA.
  4. Students complete all the documents in the application checklist and ask mentors to review and provide feedback to polish the final draft. For feedback from a grant administrator and/or the proposal development specialist, please email your drafts by no later than October 9, 2023
  5. Students submit completed applications (including the cover page signed by your mentor only) to Sponsored Programs in Torreyson West, Ste. 328.
  6. Sponsored Programs will oversee the institutional approval of applications and obtain the Provost’s signature for the cover pages.
  7. Sponsored Programs will upload proposal to ADHE’s submission portal.

Application Checklist

Click here for a printable checklist. 

  1. Attend the SURF Panel Discussion, Tuesday, April 18, 2023 (3:00–4:00 PM), Register here!
  2. Attend the SURF Webinar, Wednesday, September 2023. Register here!
  3. Register to apply for SURF by September 2023 (date TBD).
  4. SURF Cover Page
  5. Mentor’s vitae (2-page maximum) 
  6. Mentor’s SURF application form
  7. Student’s vitae (2-page maximum)
  8. SURF Student Form
  9. Current electronic or hard copy of official transcript from the Registrar’s office (hard copy must be sealed)
  10. Class schedule printed from myUCA
  11. One-page summary of proposed research
  12. Description of proposed research (maximum of 5 pages, double spaced)
  13. Reference list (no page limit)
  14. SURF budget justification and budget forms
  15. Mentor’s letter of support
  16. Letters of recommendation from two (2) faculty members
  17. If you need IRB (for research with human participants) or IACUC (for research on animal subjects), you will need to have approvals in place by December 1, 2023. For more information, visit the Research Compliance web page.

Budget Information

Students receive either a $1250 or $2500 discretionary stipend (depending on project length) to spend and $750 conference travel funds to present their research or project.

Faculty mentors receive a $750 stipend they may use for conference travel to present the project results; supplies and materials necessary for their portion of the creating activity, research, or scholarly endeavor; or a portion of salary and fringe benefits committed to the project. 

SURF budget justification and budget forms:

Letters of Recommendation

  1. Letters should be to ORSP by October 16 – 18, 2023.
  2. Three total letters are required.
  3. Letters may be electronic or hardcopy.
  4. They may be given to you, sent to the grant administrators by email, or hand-delivered to Torreyson West, Suite 328.
  5. Ideally, letters of recommendation are on department letterhead and signed. The letters should follow general formatting guidelines of 1″ margins, 10-12 point standard font, and paragraph format.
Letters from faculty mentors should discuss the following:
  • Familiarity with the project
  • Their role in the project.
  • Evaluation of the student’s academic and personal transit which will contribute to a successful SURF experience.
  • Assessment of the student’s chances for success and why the project is important to the field and to the student’s development as a scholar.
  • Plan for supervision, mentorship, and communication with the student during the course of the project.

Letters from other faculty should discuss the following:

  • How long and in what context the faculty member knows the student, knowledge and familiarity with the student’s academic qualifications.
  • Quality of the student’s proposal and contributions the student’s research or creative work might make in his/her field.
  • Estimation of the student’s personal characteristics that would contribute to a successful SURF experience.
  • Assessment of how this award would be important to the student’s development as a scholar.

Training and Resources

Please read ADHE’s SURF Guidelines.

For questions or concerns, please contact