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Texas A&M University Corpus Christi - Discover Your Island

Frequently Asked Questions

SURF: Summer Undergraduate Research Focus

What is the Summer Undergraduate Research Focus (SURF)?
SURF is designed to give undergraduate college students the opportunity to engage in field and/or laboratory research in the biological and environmental sciences, including community ecology, fisheries, field biology, atmospheric science, and environmental microbiology. The program provides students with hands-on research experiences that will expand their skill sets as they prepare to pursue graduate degrees in the natural sciences. By participating in research projects within a faculty member’s lab, students will learn how research questions are formulated and addressed, and will have the opportunity to work individually and as part of a team on a research project.

When and where is SURF?
SURF is a 9-week program in the College of Science and Engineering at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, on the central Texas Gulf of Mexico coast. The program runs from June to August. This program is focused on coastal science, particularly field/laboratory studies of coastal ecosystems and environments.

Who is eligible?
The program is offered to undergraduate students who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents and who hope to pursue graduate studies in the sciences. To be eligible, students must have an overall undergraduate GPA of 2.5 and have completed at least 16 hours of undergraduate science courses. Students who have graduated are not eligible. Women and underserved groups are encouraged to apply.

What is needed in order to apply?
Each student must complete the electronic application, and provide an UNOFFICIAL transcript from their undergraduate institution(s) and one letter of recommendation from a science faculty member familiar with their work.

A very important component of the application is the essay. Students should carefully consider the lab focus and projects described and choose 1 lab/project, and 1 lab/project alternate. The essay should separately address each lab/project combination. You should explain why the project interests you and what you feel you could contribute to the research effort. You should provide details of any relevant experiences that you have or coursework you have completed that would make you a good fit for the project.

All materials must be submitted electronically.

When is the deadline for the application?
Deadline for electronic receipt of all materials is 5 PM CST March 3, 2014.

How are students chosen for the program?
We receive many more applications than we can accommodate in the program. Typically we are able to place 8-10 students in faculty labs, but we may receive more than 100 applications.

The first cut of students considered for admission into the program is based on grade point average (GPA), and particularly grades in science courses. Students with overall and science GPAs of 3.0 or greater are typically the most competitive. After the first cut, faculty involved in the program will review student essays, and choose students they are interested in bringing into their lab. Students may be contacted for a phone interview.

When will students be notified if they have been accepted into the program?
Notifications of conditional acceptance into the program or placement on the waiting list will be made on or before 31 March 2014.

Acceptance is conditional until official transcripts are received and all paperwork necessary for admittance to the University and to the program is completed. This is necessary to ensure that stipend and food allowance payments can be made in a timely fashion. When you are offered a place in the program a deadline for the receipt of necessary materials will be made. If you are unable to comply with the deadline, your place will be offered to another student.

Is there a stipend?
There is a stipend of $5000 (before taxes) for the program. Students receive biweekly allotments drawn from the stipend in addition to a weekly food allowance. Students receive a final stipend balloon payment less any damages to their apartment) approximately 2 weeks after the program is over.

Is housing available?
Yes, on-campus apartments are provided. Each apartment has a living room, kitchen, and private bedrooms for 2-4 occupants. A minimal amount cooking equipment (e.g., dishes, silverware, skillet etc.) is supplied by the program. Living arrangements are made based on the numbers of students and their sex.

Texas State law requires that all students housed on campus be vaccinated for meningitis. If accepted, you must provide proof of meningitis vaccination within 5 years prior to your participation in the program.

Do I have to pay for my apartment?
SURF pays for your on campus apartment, but you are responsible for any damages.

Will my travel to and from the program be paid?

No travel allowance is provided by the program.

Who should I contact if I have any other questions or to check the status of my application?

Dr. Kim Withers
Department of Life Sciences
Texas A&M University -Corpus Chrisi

Tel: (361) 825-5907