How to Apply

The 2023 SURF Program Application is now closed!

SURF applications are accepted ONLY from Columbia University and Barnard College Undergraduates!

Applications will be accepted until 5pm on February 1st, 2023. Freshman should wait to apply until they have all of their fall 2022 grades. Freshmen who are waiting on grades should be sure to alert the individuals that will be submitting the recommendations so that they have ample time to prepare the recommendation.

By applying to the SURF program, you will also be considered for the Amgen program. The application will ask you to briefly describe your laboratory experience, career plans, and and a science related finding in the last ten years that inspired you.

You should ask two people to write you letters of recommendation addressing your suitability for this fellowship. Specify their names and email addresses on the application form and they will receive instructions via email. All recommendations must be emailed through the application website by February 1st, 2023 at 5pm. Be sure to submit your application with ample time for the people writing your recommendations to email them by February 1st.

Please use ONLY your Columbia University or Barnard email address when you apply (e.g. [email protected] or [email protected]);do not apply using any other email address.

You will need to upload a PDF copy of your transcript from SSOL or eBear into the application form.

Acceptance into the SURF program requires that you:

  • Work in the designated lab for 10 weeks following Memorial Day
  • Check the email you applied to the program with regularly
  • Not attend classes, or hold another job or volunteer position during this time
  • Attend the intensive safety instruction lecture(s) at the beginning of the SURF Program
  • Present your research at a weekly meeting
  • Participate in the seminar on scientific communication skills
  • Discuss lab results during a weekly lab meeting at least once during the summer
  • Submit a research article of your findings as an electronic file in pdf form, signed by principal investigator
  • Prepare a poster and participate at the SURF symposium during the spring semester
  • Notify us of any published articles on which your names appears that concern research you performed during SURF (or in the same lab after SURF) even after the SURF program has ended
  • Report any concurrent additional fellowships or funding
  • Inform us of any graduate school program you are accepted into
  • Have not participated in SURF previously
  • Not have a bachelor's degree
  • Must be in good academic standing

If you apply to SURF, you will automatically be considered for the Amgen Scholars Program. The Amgen Scholars Program is a highly competitive research program at Columbia University/Barnard College open to ALL undergraduates in the US/Territories (including Columbia University and Barnard College) with different acceptance criteria, a somewhat different schedule of events, a stipend (for living expenses and food), flex dollars (on your Columbia University ID) and housing.

Unfortunately, we receive many more applications than we have SURF fellowships available. If you submit an application but are not accepted into the program, you may submit an application in future years.


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Department of Biological Sciences
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Columbia University
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[email protected]
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