Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF)

Outstanding undergrads interested in a career in biomedical research are encouraged to participate in the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program. For 10 weeks each summer, students from across the nation become fully immersed in the research and culture of a major medical center. As part of our longstanding partnership, Mayo Clinic has reserved up to seven of these prestigious fellowships for University of Illinois students. Find complete information about the SURF program on Mayo Clinic’s website.


2024 SURF preselection for Illinois students

The Illinois pre-selection application allows for Illinois undergraduates to submit their Mayo Clinic SURF application to a selection committee of Illinois faculty and staff. Illinois preselection for the 2024 SURF program opens Oct. 2, 2023.

All students considering this opportunity are encouraged to attend the 2024 SURF Information Session on October 12, 2023, at 6 p.m. Register now.

Unable to attend? Contact LeaAnn Carson via email at



Illinois students in their sophomore or junior year, with a minimum 3.0 GPA, who are seriously considering a biomedical research career as a Ph.D. or M.D.-Ph.D., are eligible to apply. Successful applicants must commit to following the SURF standards of professionalism and accountability.


Financial Support

$6,000 will be awarded by the Mayo Clinic & Illinois Alliance to cover living expenses during the 10-week program.


Application Process

  • To apply, students need to complete an application and upload a personal statement and current transcript or web academic history.
  • Letters of recommendation are required from two references at or above the graduate level, such as research mentors, professors, instructors, or advisors. Letters should be sent as PDFs directly to LeaAnn Carson ( by Nov. 6.
  • The top 10 applicants will be invited to interview with the selection committee in early December.
  • Applicants will be notified of the committee's decision on Jan. 12.
  • Selected students will use the same application materials to complete the Mayo Clinic online application prior to the hard deadline of Feb. 1. Students who were not selected can still apply directly to the Mayo Clinic SURF program by Feb. 1 for further consideration.


Important Dates

  • Illinois Pre-selection info session - October 12
  • Illinois Pre-selection application deadline - November 6
  • Illinois Pre-selection finalist interviews - Early December
  • Illinois Pre-selection award notification - January 12
  • 2023 SURF Program - May 28 - August 2, 2024


Meet Illinois' 2023 Summer Undergraduate Research Fellows

Ten talented undergraduates gained real-world research experience this summer at Mayo Clinic. Read more about their experiences.


Read more about the SURF program