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SURGE program details

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SURGE student group photo

(Updated for SURGE 2022) 

  • Receive $4,800 Stipend during the summer.
    • Paid round trip travel expenses from home to Stanford. 
    • Paid Stanford University housing and Stanford meal plan for eight weeks, which includes breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
    • Paid health insurance for students without health insurance.
    • Paid Stanford Summer session enrollment and access to Stanford facilities.
    • Paid workshops and cohort activities.
    • Two paid SURGE field trips to Bay Area spots.
SURGE students working together


(updated for SURGE 2022)

  • Be an undergraduate at a U.S. university or college who, by reason of their culture, class, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, personal background, and life experiences, would be a leader on equity and inclusion efforts in our school's research community. We especially encourage applications from traditionally underrepresented groups in geosciences and engineering, including African Americans, Hispanic/Latinx Americans, Native Americans, Pacific Islander Americans, and first-generation college students. 
  • This is a great opportunity for those applicants who are seeking a formalized research experience for the first time. 
  • This program has been designed as an undergraduate research experience. We have limited funding for recently graduated students. Recent graduates are required to notify SURGE staff if he or she has been accepted into graduate school during the application process. 
  • SURGE focuses on recruiting prospective graduate students, and therefore favors rising juniors and seniors--and perhaps a few exceptional sophomores – from other universities. 
  • For community college students, we suggest those in their last year, who have at least one semester remaining of their undergraduate education by the start of the summer program.
  • Attend an accredited public or private college or university in the U.S. or its territories, as recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
  • 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.
  • Be a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident student enrolled in a U.S. undergraduate institution. We have limited funding for DACA or undocumented students.
SURGE students listening to a speaker

 Application materials

(updated for 2022)

  • Two letters of recommendation (Students are strongly encouraged to ask for letters at least one month prior to the application deadline, Feb 3rd, 2022)
  • CV or Resume
  • Transcript (from current academic institution)
  • Application form (via Slideroom)
  • Top three research project preferences (the Potential Projects for 2022 page will be updated beginning December)
  • Write four short independent essays in the SURGE application. Questions will be provided. (10,000 characters total)
  • Interviews (for finalists only)
Group photo of students jumping in front of fountain

Academic and research

(updated for 2022)

  • Gain research experience as part of a Stanford University summer research group. Starting in early December, Potential Projects for 2022 page will be updated continuously until February 1st, 2022.
  • Guidance/instruction by the school's faculty, postdocs, and graduate students.
  • Research use of state-of-the-art laboratories across the Stanford campus.
  • Course oriented in improving test-taking skills and mathematical abilities.
  • Graduate school application workshop.
  • Weekly lunch seminars featuring Stanford faculty presenting their latest research in sustainability, Earth, and environmental sciences to students.
  • Weekly seminars pertaining to scholars' academic and professional growth, including career panel, graduate student panel, and science communication workshop.
  • Preparation of an abstract and power-point presentation for SURGE symposium.
  • Create your own poster for the SURGE symposium and to present at national conferences.
  • Possible opportunity to co-author a scientific paper with the faculty mentor.
SURGE group photo of students in kayaks


  • Access to Stanford facilities (library, gyms, research lab, and health facilities).
  • SURGE 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).
  • Lunch with mentors and laboratory research groups.
  • Mentorship from graduate students, post-docs, and faculty.
  • Membership to Stanford SURGE alumni network.