What is SURF L&S?

SURF L&S provides undergraduates in the College of Letters and Science with funding to support concentrated summer research in preparation for a senior thesis or other major capstone project. Fellows receive a summer stipend of $5,000. SURF L&S fellows must be entering their final year or final semester and have no other research funding. 


Eligibility for SURF L&S is contingent on the following criteria. You must:

  • be a matriculating student at UC Berkeley, currently enrolled in the College of Letters and Science (L&S). Visiting and Extensions students are not eligible to apply.
  • have a minimum 3.0 GPA at UC Berkeley
  • are on track to graduate Fall ’22 or Spring ’23. 
  • have a well-written and reasoned proposal for an independent research project to complete in the summer of 2022, which will culminate in a senior thesis or other capstone research project. Students who are supporting the research of faculty members are not eligible for SURF L&S.
  • are able to devote yourself to research full-time for a minimum of eight weeks during the summer
  • have the full support of a UC Berkeley faculty member (professor or lecturer appointed through Fall 2022) who has committed to mentoring your project. Students carrying out independent research in UCSF, CHORI, or LBNL labs must also have the sponsorship of a UC Berkeley faculty member who will supervise their senior thesis or capstone project
  • intend to enroll for course credits for a senior thesis or other capstone research project that will be evaluated during the 2022-23 academic year
  • International and AB540 students are eligible and encouraged to apply to SURF L&S. 


SURF L&S awards will go to students who have an innovative research question, a well-conceived and feasible research plan, and clear evidence of faculty support. Successful applicants will demonstrate how their summer research will advance the project timeline. 

To meet the feasibility standard, projects involving human subjects must be kept below the threshold of full-committee review. Students should consult with their mentors about these requirements before submitting an application; mentors should address the feasibility and scope of the proposal in their letters of support. Read here for more information Human Research Protection Program.


Fellows are expected to work full-time on their research projects for two months during the summer. However, SURF will not restrict summer session enrollment or student employment. 

All research fellows are required to:

  • submit a pre-SURF program survey, articulating particular skills that you would like to develop to support your research
  • submit a headshot and project description at the beginning of the summer to be posted on the SURF website.
  • attend orientation, four summer workshops, and three small group meetings
  • submit a mid-summer progress report
  • submit a final report
  • submit a post-SURF program evaluation, including a thank you statement to the fellow’s donor