Undergraduate Student Opportunities

Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) Program 

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. Apply directly to the Mayo Clinic SURF program by Feb. 1. Sign up to receive updates about the 2023 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, 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. Read below to learn how to apply to this special preselection process.


View the Pre-selection Information Session 

Summer Undergraduate Research Fellows Neha Arun and Ege Onal join LeaAnn Carson, the Alliance's clinical partnership manager, to talk about the pre-selection process and their Summer 2021 experiences 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.


Application Process

  1. The application for the Summer 2022 Pre-selection Process closed Nov. 7. In order to apply, students needed to complete an application and upload a personal statement and current transcript or web academic history.
  2. Letters of recommendation are required from two references who are at or above the graduate level, such as research mentors, professors, instructors, or advisors. Letters should be sent as PDFs directly to LeaAnn Carson (lcarson@illinois.edu) by Nov. 7.
  3. The top 10 applicants will be invited to interview with the selection committee during the first week of December.
  4. Applicants will be notified of the committee's decision on Jan. 10. 
  5. 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 10

2022 SURF Program - May 31 - August 5

*Note: In the event the program is canceled due to continuing COVID-19 pandemic limitations, an alternative virtual experience will be offered.


Meet Illinois' 2021 Summer Undergraduate Research Fellows

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

2021 SURF Cohort with headshots of the 11 students



Read more about the SURF program