SURF | Frequently Asked Questions
What is the purpose of the program?
The intent of this program is for you to experience first-hand what a career in biomedical research is like. You will work in a medical research lab on a funded research project, under the supervision of an experienced principal investigator (PI).
What kinds of research opportunities are available?
UC COM and Cincinnati Children's Hospital offer a wide range of world class research expertise from which to choose. You can see the kind of research the faculty in each department and program are doing by visiting the UC COM Department or Graduate Program webpages. As highly ranked research institutions, UC College of Medicine and Cincinnati Children's are equipped to place you in almost any area of biomedical research that interests you.
How many students do you accept each summer?
All told, each summer we bring in about 175 undergrads from all over the U.S.
Who is eligible to apply?
Undergraduate students (attending any college or university) who are U.S. Citizens or Permanent Residents of the U.S. are eligible to apply. You must be enrolled full or part time in a degree program leading to a baccalaureate or associate's degree. While Sophomores and Juniors are typically preferred, Freshmen and Seniors are also eligible. Seniors are only eligible if after their SURF experience, they a) will not graduate for at least one more semester b) plan to do at least one semester of post-baccalaureate study prior to entering graduate or medical school, or c) intend to take a year off afterward graduation to prepare for graduate or medical school. Please be sure to explain these plans in your application. High school students who have not yet enrolled in college and students who have received their bachelor's degrees and are no longer enrolled as undergraduates or post-baccalaureates are not eligible.
What qualifications are needed?
Sophomores and Juniors who are majoring in the sciences (e.g.: Biology, Chemistry, Biochemistry, Neuroscience, Biomedical Engineering, Physics, etc.) are preferred for summer fellowships in the College of Medicine. Previous research experience is beneficial because it makes you more competitive for a spot in a lab and it helps us know where to place you. In order to be competitive, students should have completed a year each in Biology and Chemistry. Completion of upper level science courses (e.g., Biochemistry, Cell Biology, Molecular Biology, Genetics, Microbiology) is very helpful.
How do I apply?
Please fill out the application. As part of the application, you will be asked to provide contact information for two references; to be considered, we must receive at least one letter of recommendation by February 26. If you have done any research (laboratory or clinical), the best person to provide a recommendation is any professor or investigator who oversaw your research experience. Also, be sure to describe your research experience in your application. When completing the essays, please be as specific as possible regarding your area of research interest and how you plan to use research in your future career. You do not need to send official transcripts, but you must upload your resume and a current grade report from your college. You may also upload any other documentation you feel would support your application, such as scientific papers, research papers, or other publications you have written.
Is there a specific form for the advisor/professor recommendation?
Not exactly. When you begin applying online, you will automatically receive an email with directions on how to review and revise your application prior to final submission. This email also will direct you to click on a link that will send a “reference request” email to the people you listed on your application. Your recommender will be able to submit a letter of recommendation via an online form, a .doc or .pdf file attached to an email, or snail mail.
Is there an application deadline?
Yes! Applications for summer research programs will be accepted until February 16 at 5:00 pm (EST). Please see the application instructions for
information regarding submission of required documents. Due to the
number and quality of applications we receive each year for a limited
number of fellowship awards, we strongly encourage you to apply before
the February 16 deadline for greatest consideration; many programs will
begin filling positions as applications arrive.
How much is the stipend?
Summer stipends vary by program and by method of payment. If paid as a stipend, the full amount is usually paid at week 5. If paid as a salary, it is usually paid biweekly and payroll deductions apply. For more information about stipend and payroll, please contact your program coordinator.
GE, NEURO and ASPET SURF students will receive $4,000 (or $400 per week) for participating in the 10-week Summer 2014 program.
CCHMC SURF students will receive $350 per week for participating in the 9 or 10-week Summer 2014 program.
When do I start my internship?
Each SURF internship has an individual start date, so please consult the application form or, if necessary, contact your program of interest to make special arrangements. You will be expected to participate in laboratory work (or other program related activities) about eight hours a day, five days a week during your summer program session.
Is housing available for SURF students?
Housing has extended special pricing for all SURF students (GE, NEURO,
CCHMC, MSTP and ASPET) who wish to live in UC Housing, including
Stratford Heights Residence Complex. The MSTP SURF Program covers the
cost of housing for their SURF students and will be placing them at Stratford Heights Residence Complex. For
assistance with reserving a space near other SURF students, please
contact the SURF Program Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org or (513)
Apartments close to campus in the Clifton neighborhood usually run about $300-400/month for a one bedroom. You can find a summer apartment to share or sublet at ApartmentList.com or at classifiedads.cincinnati.com which lists all the Cincinnati Enquirer's classified housing ads every day.
Students who are residents of the Cincinnati area are not required to stay in the dorms.
What if I am not accepted?
If you are not accepted into a fellowship program, you may still be able to secure a research opportunity at UC COM or CCHMC. We encourage you to contact any department or individual faculty member independently to inquire about available student work/study positions or a volunteer position in the lab for the summer. If you are here independently of the SURF Program this summer, please let us know so that we can arrange for you to participate in some of our SURF activities.
Is there a list of past participating Mentors, and should I apply to a specific one, or just state my interests in the application?
Mentor availability changes each summer, so there is no list. To be matched with a mentor whose work interests you, please describe your research interests and list at least one faculty member at UC COM/Cincinnati Children's with whom you would like to work. Different SURF programs have different ways of placing students, so your program coordinator can explain what will be expected of you when you are accepted. Contacting a potential mentor in advance is a good way to establish your interest and lead to your placement in that lab. Please visit our webpage Searching for a Research Mentor to learn more.
Is it possible to apply to more than one program?
Yes. There are many Summer Undergraduate Research Programs at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. You may apply to more than one of these programs, but you must indicate your top choice in your application.