Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF)

Thank you for your interest in Illinois' pre-selection process for the Mayo Clinic SURF program. The deadline to apply for Illinois pre-selection has passed and the Mayo Clinic SURF program application is now closed. Sign up to receive updates about the 2024 pre-selection period and other educational opportunities with the Mayo Clinic & Illinois Alliance.

Outstanding undergrads interested in a career in biomedical research are encouraged to participate in the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF). 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.

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. Read below to learn how you can apply to this special pre-selection process.


View the 2022 Pre-selection Information Session 

Summer Undergraduate Research Fellow Moudar Dweydari joins LeaAnn Carson, the Alliance's clinical partnership manager, to talk about the pre-selection process and his Summer 2022 experience in the Mayo Clinic SURF Program.  



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.

The application deadline for the Summer 2023 Pre-selection Process has passed. 


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. 7.
  • The top 10 applicants will be invited to interview with the selection committee during the first week of December.
  • Applicants will be notified of the committee's decision on Jan. 9.
  • 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 13
  • Illinois Pre-selection application deadline - November 7
  • Illinois Pre-selection finalist interviews - Early December
  • Illinois Pre-selection award notification - January 9
  • 2023 SURF Program - May 30 - August 4, 2023


Meet Illinois' 2022 Summer Undergraduate Research Fellows

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

2022 SURF Cohort with headshots of the 10 students

Read more about the SURF program