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SURGE Program Details

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SURGE student group photo

Receive $4,800 Stipend during the summer plus additional benefits below amounting to $13,000 value per student 

  • Paid round trip travel expenses from home to Stanford. 
  • Stanford University housing and Stanford meal plan for eight weeks, including breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
  • Health insurance for students without health insurance.
  • Stanford Summer Session enrollment and access to Stanford facilities.
  • Professional development workshops and community building activities.
  • Two SURGE field trips to Bay Area locations.
Group photo of students jumping in front of fountain

Research Training

  • Gain research experience as part of a Stanford University summer research group. 
  • Personalized mentoring from faculty, postdocs, and/or graduate students.
  • Access to state-of-the-art laboratories and facilities across the Stanford campus.
  • Gain coding skills in coding bootcamp course.
  • Weekly lunch seminars featuring Stanford faculty presenting their latest research in sustainability, Earth, and environmental sciences.
  • Weekly workshops and panel discussions pertaining to scholars' academic and professional growth, including topics on careers, graduate school, and science communication.
  • Prepare and present abstract and power-point presentation for SURGE symposium.
  • Create and present a scientific poster for SURGE symposium.
  • Potential opportunity to co-author a scientific paper with the faculty mentor.
SURGE group photo of students in kayaks

Professional Development & Community

  • Access to Stanford facilities (dormitories, library, gyms, research lab, and health facilities).
  • Community building field trips: California Academy of Sciences, Monterey Bay Aquarium, Elkorn Slough, Santa Cruz, Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve, Pacheco Pass Wind Farm & San Luis Reservoir, and downtown Palo Alto (locations might vary depending on availability).
  • Networking lunches with cohort, research mentors, and research groups.
  • Membership to Stanford SURGE alumni network.


The SURGE program aligns with NSF's goals of diversifying the pipeline in the Earth sciences. The program aims to attract applicants who are seeking their first research experience and are underrepresented in the sciences, including but not limited to: first-gen/low-income, veteran, disability, gender identity, sexual orientation, disadvantaged backgrounds, and/or come from institutions where research is limited.

  • Be an undergraduate at an accredited public or private college or university in the U.S. or its territories, as recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.  
  • Since this is a NSF funded program, the primary audience are students who are US citizens or permanent residents. However, there is limited funding for international and DACA students. All students must be enrolled in a US four-year college/ university to be eligible.
  • This program has been designed as an undergraduate research experience and there is limited funding for recently graduated students. Recent graduates are required to notify SURGE staff if they have been accepted into graduate school during the application process. 
  • SURGE focuses on recruiting prospective graduate students and therefore favors rising juniors and seniors, and sometimes exceptional sophomores. 
  • Community college students who apply must be in their second/last year of community college and plan to transfer to a four year college after SURGE.
  • Those who are seeking a formalized research experience for the first time. 
  • Have demonstrated interest and potential to pursue graduate study toward a Master's or PhD degree in the Earth sciences, environmental sciences, or energy resource engineering. We also consider students who are majors in chemistry, biology, engineering, physics, and computer science who are specifically open to exploring the Earth and environmental sciences.
SURGE students listening to a speaker

Application Materials

All application materials are completed and submitted in SlideRoom. You will need to create an account in SlideRoom and activate it by responding to an email, which will then route you to the application site. Once you begin your application, you will be asked to create a profile, which you only have to do once. You can save your application and return to it before submission.

  • Application form (via Slideroom)
  • Two letters of recommendation (Students are strongly encouraged to ask for letters at least one month prior to the application deadline)
  • CV or Resume
  • Transcript (from current academic institution)
  • Top three research project preferences (the 2024 Potential Projects will be updated beginning Dec. 1st)
  • Answer four short essay questions (500 word limit per essay)
  • Interviews (for finalists only)

Apply Here

We look forward to your application! For questions, please email us.