FAQ for Applicants

Who is eligible to apply to SURF?

  • Individuals from racial and ethnic groups that have been shown by the National Science Foundation to be underrepresented in health-related sciences on a national basis (see NIH Guidelines). In addition, it is recognized that underrepresentation can vary from setting to setting, and individuals from racial or ethnic groups that can be convincingly demonstrated to be underrepresented are eligible for support under this program. 
  • Individuals with disabilities, who are defined as those with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. 
  • Individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds.  See Eligibility page for more details.

 Can I apply if I am currently a freshman?

Yes, you may apply if you are currently a freshman.  The SURF Program encourages applications form students in their earlier undergraduate years. 

Can I apply if I am currently a senior?

Graduating students are not eligible to apply.  Students must be continuing undergrads.

How do I submit my application materials?

Complete the online application. Follow the instructions for submitting your two letters of recommendation.

Official transcripts must be sealed and mailed to:

9500 Gilman Drive MC 0661
La Jolla, CA 92093-0661

When is the application deadline?

Please review the How to Apply section of this website.

What factors are considered in the admissions process?

The admissions committee considers a minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale, statement of serious interest in pursuing an MD/PhD degree, past research experience, and evaluation as stated in letters of recommendation.

FAQ for Accepted Students

Who is my assigned faculty mentor?

The SURF Program mentors perform research in these areas concentrated on heart, lung, and blood diseases.  Once accepted into the program, students are asked to provide a list of their top three mentors from the participating mentor list.  Students are matched with a mentor based on experience.  The preferences of all students are taken into account during the selection process.

What are the program goals?

To introduce disadvantaged and/or underrepresented students to the career of academic medicine through hands-on laboratory and clinical experiences with university clinicians, researchers, and current M.D./Ph.D. trainees; Provide group activities in concert with the integrated UCSD SURF Programs, including orientation to research and research ethics; Provide MSTP-SURF specific activities, including dinner with MSTP students, and lectures on various topics of relevance to Physician-Scientists.

What am I expected to accomplish during this program?

In conjunction with the 8 week research experience, SURF students will present their research during the UCSD Summer Research Conference.  Additionally, we request that you include a 5-10 page written paper summarizing the data from your research project. 

Can I take a summer class while participating in SURF?

While participating in the SURF Program, students are not permitted to take a summer class, whether at UCSD or an outside institution.

What type of housing is available?

On campus apartment style housing is available for our students.  Apartments vary in size, and commonly house two students per apartment. 

Do I need to live on campus if I live locally?

SURF students are strongly encouraged to live on campus for the entire duration of the program.  Living on campus enhances the SURF experience and is convenient for attending SURF events.

How are travel arrangements made?

The SURF Program will arrange travel for all accepted participants to and from UCSD for the 8-week Program. 

Does SURF pay for parking?

The SURF Program does not reimburse students for parking.

Is transportation offered to/from my lab?

Students can walk or take the free campus shuttle to labs located on campus or at the VA Hospital.  Public transportation to labs located just outside the UCSD campus is available free of charge with a UCSD student ID.