Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship - University of Houston
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The Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship program at the University of Houston seeks to provide funding for rising UH sophomores, juniors, and seniors to participate in a focused, full-time, 10-week research experience under the direction of UH faculty. Recipients will receive a $4,000 scholarship and three points toward the Honors in Co-Curricular Engagement transcript designation. Current freshmen who will be sophomores in fall 2024 are eligible to apply for the fellowship. However, students graduating in spring or summer 2024 are not eligible for this program. No course credit will be offered for participation in this program, and students who have previously participated in the SURF program are ineligible to reapply. This fellowship is open to students of all disciplines. All full-time UH faculty members are eligible to participate as faculty sponsors. (This precludes adjunct faculty.) Faculty may nominate up to two students for a SURF.

Please contact OURMA if you have any questions or need additional information.

The application for SURF 2024 closed on March 8, 2024. Letters of recommendation are due by March 19, 2024.


  • Eligibility

    Rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors, from all majors, with at least a 3.0 GPA are eligible to apply. If a student has less than 12 hours from UH, a 3.5 GPA is required. Students enrolled in any graduate or professional program are not eligible. The SURF program provides a $4,000 scholarship to students and a $300 reimbursement stipend to faculty for any expenses incurred in mentoring the SURF student. All full-time UH faculty are eligible to mentor a SURF student.

    Students may not receive course credit for the SURF program. This includes a thesis course and an independent study course. Students may not enroll in the Senior Honors Thesis program while participating in SURF. Post-baccalaureate students are not eligible for SURF. Only University of Houston main campus students are eligible to apply.

    Students may apply to both SURF and HERE in the same year.

  • How to Apply

    Students must complete an online application, which includes:

    • Statement of research objectives and goals not to exceed 500 words (including references)
    • Two short answer questions about your academic and research experience
    • Name of the UH faculty mentor/sponsor who will be providing a letter of recommendation (This is the faculty member who the student is applying to conduct research with.)
  • Statement of Research

    The statement of research should:

    • Be composed in consultation with the faculty sponsor
    • Be written in your own words — not in your faculty sponsor's words
    • Be written in first person
    • Discuss the relative importance of the proposed research within its discipline
    • State the specific tasks to be accomplished during the summer program
    • Define the scope and goals of the proposed research
    • Check for any spelling or syntax errors before being submitted
  • Letter of Recommendation

    The UH faculty mentor letter of recommendation should:

    • Describe the student's qualifications
    • Identify the area of research, creative or scholarly activities in which the mentor will engage the student
    • Describe the faculty member's role as mentor to the student, including a description of how the proposed research relates to their ongoing research
    • Be emailed to the Office of Undergraduate Research and Major Awards by Tuesday, March 19, 2024.
  • Competitive Applications

    Competitive applications generally include:

    • Demonstrations of strong student academic record
    • Research proposals that are clear, thorough, within the 500-word limit and free of errors in spelling, grammar, and syntax, in the student's own words
    • Research proposals with clear, realistic goals that help the student focus and indicate that the project will lead to a substantive research experience for the student
    • Descriptive and informative faculty letter of recommendation (1–2 pages in length), especially addressing the prospects for results in the projected time frame, the value of the research project and the ability of the student to undertake the project

    Please be aware this is a competitive program with finite funding, and the Office of Undergraduate Research and Major Awards receives more strong proposals than they are able to fund. For this reason, UH faculty are encouraged to limit their submissions to only two proposals for a single SURF competition. The staff at the Office of Undergraduate Research and Major Awards is unable to share specific information about the assessment of individual applications after the decisions have been made.

  • Working with Human Subjects

    If your research proposal includes working with human subjects, please consult with your faculty mentor regarding IRB approval proceedings prior to initiating your research. For more information, reference the University's IRB policy.

  • Expectations/Workload

    • Full-time participation in 10-week program
    • It is assumed that students will not take a summer course. If a student MUST take a summer course for extenuating circumstances, petitions within this spirit may be accepted on a case-by-case basis by completing a petition form. A student cannot earn course credit for the SURF program.
    • Attend weekly summer Brown Bag Lectures each week from noon – 1 p.m. online.
    • Complete online pre- and post-surveys
    • Present a research poster at Undergraduate Research Day in April 2025.
    • SURF recipients' and faculty mentors' names and photos will be included in the annual Undergraduate Research Day booklet and in other online and print promotional materials.
  • HCCE Points

    SURF program participants will receive 3 points towards the Honors in Co-Curricular Engagement (HCCE) transcript designation. The HCCE transcript designation is awarded to students upon graduation who pursue a broad range of experiential learning opportunities from freshman to senior year. Students can pursue undergraduate research, internships, learning away and abroad, service learning, leadership experience and other academic enrichment opportunities.

  • Questions

    Please contact Dr. Rikki Bettinger or Stuart Long if you have any questions or require additional information.