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Summer Undergraduate Research Experience

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Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE)

What is SURE? SURE is a summer undergraduate research experience for students interested in graduate school and research within their discipline or a related discipline. Selected students complete research at West Virginia University (WVU) for 8 weeks during the summer under the direction of a WVU faculty research mentor and a graduate or post-doctoral mentor. Students are expected to research full-time (minimum of 40 hours per week for 8 weeks). This year, research opportunities exist in the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences; the Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design; the Health Sciences Center; the Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources; and the College of Creative Arts.

SURE Program Dates: May 31-July 29, 2016; eight weeks with one week vacation built in for students and/or faculty

Who can Apply? SURE participants must be:
  • U.S. citizens or permanent residents of the U.S. and its territories (in general);
  • undergraduates enrolled at a West Virginia higher education institution or be a West Virginia state resident enrolled in an out-of-state college or university;
  • college sophomores, juniors, or seniors as of the fall 2016 semester; and
  • STEM majors (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) or non-STEM majors. The SURE site has funding to support a few students with majors in social (e.g., archaeology, criminology, economics) and behavioral (e.g., psychology and cognitive) sciences, as well as, a small number of students majoring in the humanities, the arts, and other disciplines.
Student applications for the 2016 SURE program are now closed and completed applications are now under review. SURE offers will be made until the program is filled. Once the program is filled, all applicants will be apprised of their status (~mid-April). Please be patient as we review your applications!

2016 WVU SURE at West Virginia University (May 31 to July 29, 2016): SURE Student Application, printable student fact sheet & flyer (To be completed by the student!)

2016 WVU SURE at West Virginia University (May 31 to July 29, 2016): Faculty Research Mentor Application & printable faculty fact sheet (To be completed by the faculty research mentor!)

Student Application Deadline:
Review of completed SURE applications will begin March 1, 2016. The online application will be closed at midnight on March 1, 2016. Priority will be given to applications completed by the March 1 review date.

Advice to Student Applicants:
Before beginning the online SURE Student Application, we suggest you take some time to fashion your short essay so that you can spell check, proofread, and obtain feedback on it before submission. In your short essay (300-600 words), you should state your motivation in applying to the SURE program (i.e., Professionally speaking, what do you hope to get out of/learn from the program? How can you contribute to research ongoing at WVU? What do you bring to the table? What area(s) of research are of interest to you and why are you interested in those specific areas and, more generally, in scientific research? Why should you be awarded a SURE appointment this summer?). A good essay is important! Use the “Personal Statement” tips available at the WVU Career Services Center  and at ASPIRE.

In addition, you are strongly encouraged to find your own WVU faculty research adviser by 1) searching the WVU website for faculty, within your major/associated majors, with research aligned with your interests/career goals, 2) contacting and interacting with the faculty member prior to submitting the faculty member's name, and 3) discussing the SURE program with the faculty adviser. Contact the Office of Undergraduate Research with questions.

SURE Facts

  • Selected participants will work on research at West Virginia University for 8 weeks during the summer under the direction of a WVU faculty research mentor and a graduate or post doctoral mentor.
  • All SURE participants will be registered for a one-credit hour research class that will run for the duration of the program. This course will include online assignments as well as attendance at periodic workshops and seminars.  All SURE participants are required to pay the tuition and fees associated with this one-credit hour research class.
  • The program begins on Tuesday May 31, 2016 and runs for 9 weeks until the end on Friday July 29, 2016. Participants are required to work for at least 8 TOTAL WEEKS during the 9-week program. The actual dates of research within the 9 week period do not matter (i.e., if you or your professor take time off in the middle of July, that is perfectly acceptable) as long as participants (i) carry out research for 8 weeks within that time period and (ii) are present for the first day of the program and during the last week of the program (July 25-29, 2016).
  • The SURE program will begin with one day of training (safety, library resources etc.) and employee processing on Tuesday May 31, 2016. Training day attendance is mandatory.
  • The SURE program “officially” ends with a culminating poster presentation at the “Summer Undergraduate Research Symposium 2016” during the week of July 25-29, 2016.  Family, friends, research professor, etc. are invited to this symposium.  Symposium participation and attendance is mandatory for SURE participants.  If a SURE participant fails to attend and participate in the symposium, the participant will receive a letter grade of “F” for the one-credit research class and will forfeit the final stipend payment.
  • If selected, participants will be given a $3,900 stipend (split into four payments) for their 8 weeks of research.
  • SURE participants will need to find their own place to live in or near Morgantown, WV.  However, a limited amount of dorm room space is available.  Once accepted, contact the program director if you need dormitory living accommodations.
  • SURE participants will under no circumstances be allowed to have another job or take summer classes (besides the one-credit hour research class) while they are taking part in the SURE research experience.
  • Non-WVU students selected to participate in the SURE program will need to apply to WVU as a “visiting student” and pay the visiting student fee (see  More information on how to apply for and pay for visiting status will be sent upon acceptance into the SURE program.
  • To summarize, required elements of the SURE experience are:
  1. total of 8 weeks of full-time research from May 31-July 29, 2016
  2. one-credit hour research class
  3. attendance at the one-day training/processing on Tuesday May 31, 2016
  4. participation and poster presentation during the “Summer Undergraduate Research Symposium 2016” week of July 25-29, 2016.
How can I find out more?
Contact: The Office of Undergraduate Research
Phone: (304)293-9354; email:

Mailing address for SURE application pieces (transcripts, resume, and rec letter ) in support of online application:
SURE Application - 2016
c/o Office of Undergraduate Research
306 Student Services Center
PO Box 6212
Morgantown, WV 26506-6212

Funding for the 2016 SURE Sites was obtained from:

  • STEM SURE: Sponsored and funded by the WVU Office of the Provost and the WVU Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources; Eberly College of Arts and Sciences; Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design; and the College of Creative Arts.
  • WVU SURE: Sponsored in part by the West Virginia Research Challenge Fund through a grant from the Division of Science and Research, HEPC; and the WVU Davis College of Agriculture, Forestry and Consumer Sciences; Eberly College of Arts and Sciences; Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources; Health Sciences Center; and The Honors College.