Carnegie Mellon University

Information for SURF Advisors/Administrators

Every student who applies for a SURF must have a faculty advisor to oversee his or her project. We expect that advisors of SURF students will have substantial contact with the student during the course of their summer research. Please note: as the SURF competition has grown more competitive, the Recommendation Form from the advisor assumes more importance. Your recommendation can make an important difference.

Advisors can access our database here.


-give feedback to the student as she or he drafts the SURF proposal
-completes a Recommendation Form for the URO selection committee to accompany the student's grant proposal.

The letter of collaboration comments not only on the student's abilities but also specifics on the mentoring process: the research expectations for the student; how the relationship between mentor and student will be structured and defined; how often mentor and student will meet; if there are graduate student mentors involved; who will take over if the mentor is out of town for a short time; the timetable of the project; and the nature of the student's contribution.

The letter of collaboration also states that the proposed project is feasible and worthwhile and that the student is capable of pursuing the research.

Letters should be emailed by the published SURF deadline to Jen Weidenhof.

Please see information from Enhancing Education at Carnegie Mellon.

The advisor will also sign off on the Final Report Form upon completion of the project.

We also hope that you will attend our undergraduate research symposium, Meeting of the Minds,  in early May to see your student(s) present.

Review of Draft

Students are strongly encouraged to work with their faculty advisor on their proposal, attend a Proposal Writing Workshop run by the URO (dates available on our URO homepage,) and to meet with the Undergraduate Research Office Director or Assistant Directors at least once prior to submitting a SURG or SURG/CW proposal to review a draft.

Committee Review:

SURF proposals are read and evaluated by a selection committee of faculty and staff representing all the colleges on campus. Four members of the committee will read each proposal, but only one of the readers will have some expertise generally in the field.  Students should target their propodals to a broader audience so that all readers can understand the research question and the significance of the proposed research.


Students and their advisors are notified of the selection committee's decisions by email within a month of the SURF proposal deadline.

Disbursement of Funds:

If a student is awarded a SURF, the funds are dispersed to students on a bi-weekly pay schedule, minus applicable taxes. The faculty advisor and business manager will each need to sign a copy of the student's contract upon acceptance of the fellowship stipend. The business managers and advisors will sign off on the students' timecards and process in Workday. The stipend is intended for full-time research (37.5 hours per week) at the rate of $11.67 per hour, working 300 hours over the course of the summer, with an estimated total compensation of $3500. Students will not be compensated from the URO beyond the $3500 maximum or beyond the established 300 hour maximum.  If you have any question about this procedure, please contact Jen Weidenhof, Program Manager of the Undergradutate Research Office: 8-5702 or

Final Report:

Upon completion of the project, students must submit a Final Report Form which is available from the Undergraduate Research Office. The advisor must sign this form indicating that the research project was completed.

Contact Us:

If you have any questions about these expectations or anything else about the Summer Research Fellowship program, please feel free to contact Stephanie Wallach, Director, or Brittany Allison or Richelle Bernazzoli, Assistant Directors.