SURF L&S provides undergraduates in the College of Letters and Science with funding to undertake 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 should ideally be entering their final year or final semester and have no other research funding. These fellowships are supported by a number of private donors.
Applications for SURF L&S are due by 11:59 AM (Pacific Time)
on Friday, March 1, 2024.
To learn more about the program, please attend an information session (or review the slides and recording of the 2024 presentation). For support on preparing a research proposal, consider attending a 'how to write a research proposal' workshop (slides and recording are linked in the resources). Draft workshops to support applications within each disciplinary area (e.g., Arts & Humanities, Social Sciences, Biological Sciences, and Math & Physical Sciences) will be offered by SURF mentors throughout the month of February. Pre-register on the OURS events page and sign up for the newsletter for program updates!


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
  • Have standing as a junior or senior according to your Cal Central profile. 
  • Submit a well-written and compelling research proposal for an independent project to be completed during the summer months that will culminate in a senior thesis or other capstone project. Students who are supporting the research of faculty members are not eligible for SURF L&S.
  • 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) who has committed to mentoring your project. Students carrying out independent research in UCSF, CHORI, or LBNL labs must also have the co-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 project that will be evaluated during the academic year following the summer’s programming
  • International and AB540 students are eligible and encouraged to apply to SURF L&S. 
  • Note: Previously accepted SURF L&S Fellows will not be eligible to reapply.


Recipients of the SURF L&S award will have an innovative research question of relevance in their discipline, a well-conceived and feasible research plan, and clear evidence of faculty support. 

Please Note: 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 of the proposal in their letters of support. Applicants to SURF, Haas Scholars, and Rose Hills Summer Scholarships who are interested in learning more about how human subjects research is defined should plan to attend an informational presentation and workshop (see the OURS events page). Click here for more information about the Human Research Protection Program (CPHS).

Benefits of these fellowships

In addition to receiving funding, all SURF fellows are assigned to small groups, which meet periodically throughout the summer. Although faculty sponsors serve as primary research mentors, small-group meetings build community within the SURF cohort, connecting students with peers who are grappling with similar issues. SURF fellows also benefit from workshops devoted to promoting fellows’ professional development and building research-related skills.