SURF Student Application

Play SURF Application Tips video
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SURF Application Tips

Learn more about the SURF application process.

How to apply

First, watch the video above for an overview of the application process. If you have questions about the application process after watching the overview video, please email Rob Handler

To submit the SURF application, email both the Student Application form and Project Description to Ask your faculty mentor to email the letter of support to the same address.  All materials are due by Friday, February 11, 2022, 5:00 pm.

1. Student Application Form

Download the student application form and fill it out. Save it as a rich text format file (NOT Word format – i.e. not as a .doc file.)

2. Project Description

The most important part of the SURF application is the Project Description, which you should develop in collaboration with your faculty mentor. In the description, you should:

  • Provide a motivation for your project. Show how it fits into a broader context as well as how it is different from what others have done.
  • Describe what you will do. Be specific enough that someone, who is not necessarily an expert in your particular subfield, can make an informed judgment as the feasibility and potential impact of what you are proposing. (SURF proposals are reviewed like National Science Foundation proposals in that they are sent out to professors across campus who rate them on a scale from Excellent to Poor.)
  • Describe how you will do it.

More tips on writing the project description can be found online.

The Project Description is limited to 2 pages (12 point font) and is submitted as a separate document in PDF format. This gives you the flexibility to include charts, pictures, graphs, equations, tables, etc . . . You may use an extra page for references if needed.

3. Faculty Letter of Support

Ask your faculty mentor to send a letter of support for the application.  They should address the questions listed below in the letter. (You should give them a copy of your completed application form.)

  1. How long have you known the student and in what capacity?
  2. Why do you think the student is likely to succeed in the project?
  3. Where does the student's project fit into your overall research program?
  4. If the student is taking classes over the summer, please comment on how the student will balance the course load and the time and attention that the research project will require.
  5. Provide three potential faculty or research staff reviewers at Michigan Tech who would be appropriate to review your student's application.