Undergraduate Student Opportunities

Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) Program 


The Illinois pre-selection period for the 2022 SURF Program is now open. Apply by Nov. 7

Join us Oct. 13 at 6 p.m. for a Pre-selection Informational Session to learn more about this special pre-selection process, to hear more about the SURF experience and to ask questions. Register for the Info Session.

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.



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

The application for the Summer 2022 Pre-selection Process is now open

  1. Complete the Illinois Pre-selection application by Nov. 7. Students will need to 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 cancelled due to continuing COVID-19 pandemic limitations, an alternative virtual experience will be offered.


Meet Illinois' 2021 Summer Undergraduate Research Fellows

2021 SURF Cohort with headshots of the 11 students


Eleven talented undergraduates spent their summer at Mayo Clinic. Learn more about them.


Learn about other past Illinois SURF experiences