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SURF Opportunities

Undergraduate Research

The 2024 SURF program will run from May 21 – August 9

and the application deadline is March 15, 2024.

The Department of Physics & Astronomy at the University of Utah offers a Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) where students work closely with a faculty mentor and their research group on an individual project.

All interested students are invited to apply for this 12-week summer program. 

Program participants gain direct experience by working in ongoing experimental or theoretical research programs in the following fields:

Astronomy & Astrophysics
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Cosmic Rays
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Experimental Condensed Matter Physics
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Particle Physics
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Theoretical Condensed Matter Physics
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Physics Education Research
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SURF awardees will also attend weekly seminars on current research in Physics & Astronomy, in addition to professional development workshops offered by the UofU's Office of Undergraduate Research.  The program also includes several organized activities including a two-night camping and river rafting trip.  The experience culminates with a poster presentation of findings at a closing Symposium.  SURF awardees receive an hourly wage of $15 per hour up to a maximum of $7,000 for the Summer work period.


SURF is open to all undergraduate majors in physics or astronomy who have not previously received funding from SURF and the University of Utah Physics & Astronomy Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program. To be eligible: 

  • Applicants must be matriculated Uof U physics/astronomy undergraduate majors 
  • Applicants must be eligible for university employment and must report their earnings when applying for other sources of financial aid. 


Applicants should apply using the SURF application form, which is due on March 15, 2024.  Please prepare the following elements as part of the application and please note that you will be prompted to upload files into the application form.  In order to upload files, you will be prompted to log into a google account; you can use a personal Gmail address, or you can use the University's Google platform: (where UID is your university ID number).
  1. Two Letters of Evaluation: Please contact two faculty members or others who can provide information about your interest and potential as a science student, scientist, and/or researcher. Your recommendation providers should send their letters to the following email address by the application deadline:
  2. Personal Statement:Part 1:  Discuss your interest in participating in the SURF program; how participation will fit into your goals (e.g., pursuit of graduate- or professional-level work in a specific discipline or area); the scientific questions that intrigue you and why; and the area in which you would like to conduct research. Be specific about your interests, as this will help facilitate your placement.Part 2:  Discuss your relevant background - academic, personal, and service; the special strengths, interests, and personal qualities that you bring to the program; and what you hope to gain from participating in the program.Your personal statement, including both parts, should be a maximum of 800 words.
  3. Biosketch:A summary of your academic background; research and other interests; extracurricular and volunteer activities; and other items of possible personal interest that will help other students, faculty and staff to get to know you. The biographical sketch should be in a publishable format that is suitable for formal submission (such as to the National Science Foundation).Your Bio Sketch should be a maximum of 200 words.Biosketch Sample 1:  Karla Garcia is currently a senior at the University of New Mexico, with a major in microbiology and a special interest in biophysics. Her future plans include a career that combines medicine and physics research. She is a dual citizen of Mexico and the United States. Karla's hobbies include aerobics, music, reading, cooking, and community service.Biosketch Sample 2:  Hasan Ahmed is a sophomore at the California State University - East Bay. His goal is to continue his undergraduate education, emphasizing mathematics and science, while learning more about cultures, the arts, and history. Hasan is preparing for a career in either engineering or physics. He is exploring mechanical engineering because of his keen interest in the way machines work.
  4. Unofficial Transcripts:You will need to upload a copy of your unofficial transcript into this form, including which courses you are taking this semester.


SURF awardees will be hired as undergraduate research assistants with a wage of $15 per hour for the summer. They may work up to 40 hours per week with total earnings not to exceed $7,000.


Funds for the SURF program come from the Department of Physics & Astronomy.


If you have any questions, please contact us at: