SURF Rose Hills Independent

What is SURF Rose Hills Independent?

SURF Rose Hills Independent provides juniors and graduating seniors with $5,000 stipends to undertake STEM-oriented, independent research projects over the summer. For juniors, this funding, generously provided by the Rose Hills Foundation, supports research culminating in a senior honor thesis or capstone project; for seniors, this fellowship allows further development of research that may lead to publication. Former SURF Rose Hills fellows may reapply.


Eligibility for SURF Rose Hills Experience Independent is contingent on the following criteria.  You must:

  • be a matriculating student at UC Berkeley. Visiting and Extensions students are not eligible to apply.
  • have a minimum 3.0 GPA at UC Berkeley
  • have standing as a junior or graduating senior. Juniors will be planning to graduate Fall 2022; seniors will intend to graduate in May 2022
  • be a U.S. citizen with permanent residence established in one of the following counties in Southern California:
    • San Diego County 
    • Imperial County
    • Orange County 
    • Riverside County
    • Santa Barbara County
    • Ventura County
    • Los Angeles County 
    • San Bernardino County
  • intend to enroll in course units for a research-intensive senior thesis or capstone project during the 2022-23 academic year
  • declared in one of the eligible majors (see next section) 
  • sponsored by a UC Berkeley, UCSF, CHORI, or LBNL faculty member or lab scientist / principal investigator. Juniors proposing independent projects and working in off-campus labs must submit proof that a UC Berkeley faculty member has agreed to sponsor their senior project

List of eligible majors:

There are majors in every UC Berkeley College – except the College of Environmental Design – that are eligible for SURF Rose Hills Experience. Read the below eligible major list closely:

Life Sciences Majors: Integrative Biology*, Microbial Biology, Molecular & Cell Biology*, Genetics & Plant Biology, Molecular & Environmental Biology, Earth & Planetary Science, Nutritional Science (including: Toxicology, Dietetics, and Physiology & Metabolism), Conservation & Resource Studies, Environmental Sciences, Marine Science, Planetary Science

Math/Physical Sciences Majors: Astrophysics*, Chemical Biology, Chemical Engineering, Chemistry, Mathematics*, Applied Mathematics*, Physics*, Statistics*, Geophysics

Engineering Majors: Bioengineering, Civil Engineering, Environmental Engineering, EECS (or the Computer Science major within L&S*), Energy Engineering, Engineering Math & Statistics, Engineering Physics, Industrial Engineering & Operations Research (or Operations Research & Management Science within L&S), Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science & Engineering, Nuclear Engineering

*Students in these majors may also apply for SURF L&S if they are juniors who will be carrying out a senior thesis or capstone project during the 2022-2023 academic year


SURF Rose Hills awards will go to students who have an interesting research question, a well-conceived research plan, and clear faculty support. Successful applicants will show promise of a quick start and the potential to complete their project within the proposed timeline, though projects may be a subset of a larger project, such as the data-gathering part of an honors thesis, or a significant extension of a topic previously explored. 

Please note that this fellowship is for student-initiated research only. For a research fellowship supporting faculty research, apply for the Rose Hills Experience Fellowship


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 and future scholarship
  • 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
  • enrolled in a senior thesis or other capstone research project that will be evaluated in a course during the 2022-23 school year.