Carnegie Mellon University

ISURF: International Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships

Not available for Summer 2021

The International Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (ISURF) program awards $3500 to undergraduates at Carnegie Mellon for 8-10 weeks of full-time summer research in any field of study with a faculty member overseas who is currently collaborating or has previously collaborated with a Carnegie Mellon faculty member.  It is designed to allow a student to travel abroad to a place where they have not resided before, and to experience a chance to be abroad in a new country to do research.  Students are limited to one ISURF experience over the course of their undergraduate careers.

Eligibility requirements for the ISURF experience include:

  • Currently enrolled with undergraduate sophomore or junior status
  • Must set up an appointment to meet with Dr. Stephanie Wallach by the end of the fall semester to determine eligibility
  • All majors
  • U.S. citizenship, permanent residency, or international student status
  • Must be in good standing at the university (not on academic or disciplinary probation or suspension)
  • Must be traveling to a country where the student has not previously or currently resided
  • Completion of a SURF fellowship during a prior summer term and endorsement of SURF faculty mentor; or completion of an extended research experience at Carnegie Mellon University and the endorsement of the Carnegie Mellon faculty member. Your Carnegie Mellon faculty member will locate a collaborator abroad to establish a research opportunity
  • Baccalaureate degree in progress
  • Minimum QPA of 3.00
  • Return to Carnegie Mellon as a full time student in the fall semester following the ISURF experience


  • Letter of motivation (3 pages maximum). This letter should be addressed to the ISURF review committee and outline where you would like to go; the general scope of the project; your skill set and how it fits with what the team abroad is doing; and why you are seeking this ISURF experience.
  • Resume or CV
  • Transcript (official or unofficial)
  • A proposal is NOT needed.  The letter of motivation should be submitted in lieu of a proposal.

Please note that because only students who have been directly recommended by their SURF faculty mentors are eligible, a letter of recommendation is not required for the ISURF application.

We strongly advise students to apply for additional funding, above the ISURF stipend, to help pay for travel and living costs.  These include:
Tartan's Abroad
CIT Travel Grant (open only to CIT students)

Requirements for recipients:

  • Attend a required Pre-Departure Orientation Session through the Office of International Education and complete all pre-departure paperwork prior to their experience abroad
  • Schedule a meeting with Stephanie Wallach, Director of the Undergraduate Research Office (URO) prior to departure
  • Write a thank you note to your funder
  • Complete all assessments connected to your ISURF
  • Present your work at the Meeting of the Minds Undergraduate Research Symposium
  • Follow human subjects guidelines