Skip to main content

Summer Undergraduate Research Experience

  • Home
  • Summer Undergraduate Research Experience
The West Virginia University Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) Site has been refunded for summers 2017-2019! The summer 2017 SURE program is in full swing with 64 undergraduate researchers. Check back in late December for applications for the 2018 SURE program.

Past SURE participants have benefited greatly! See their accomplishments as co-authors on peer reviewed publications.

What is SURE? SURE is a summer undergraduate research experience for students interested in graduate school and research/creative work 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 (16);
  • the Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design (9);
  • the Health Sciences Center (6);
  • the Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources (14);
  • the College of Creative Arts (1);
  • the College of Business and Economics (1);
  • the College of Physical Activity and Sports Sciences (1); and
  • a few opportunities within specific majors (2)
SURE Program Dates: May 30-July 28, 2017; eight weeks with one week vacation built in for students and/or faculty research mentors.

Who can Apply? SURE participants must be:
  • U.S. citizens or permanent residents of the U.S. and its territories;
  • 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 2017 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), behavioral, and cognitive (e.g., psychology) sciences, as well as, students majoring in the humanities, the arts, and other disciplines.
Check back in late December for the application link for the 2018 SURE program. SURE offers are made until the program is filled. Once the program is filled, all applicants are apprised of their status (~mid-April). Please be patient as we review your applications!

2017 WVU SURE at West Virginia University (May 30 to July 28, 2017): SURE Student Application, printable student fact sheet & flyer (To be completed by the student!)

2017 WVU SURE at West Virginia University (May 30 to July 28, 2017): 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, 2018. The online application will be closed at midnight on March 1, 2018. Priority will be given to applications completed before 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 (see class syllabus and event schedule from 2017 SURE) 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 30, 2017 and runs for 9 weeks until the end on Friday July 28, 2017. Participants are required to research full-time 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 24-28, 2017).
  • The SURE program will begin with one day of training (safety, library resources etc.) and employee processing on Tuesday May 30, 2017. Training day attendance is mandatory.
  • The SURE program “officially” ends with a culminating poster presentation at the “Summer Undergraduate Research Symposium 2017” during the week of July 24-28, 2017.  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 $3,700 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 (see summer housing).
  • 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 30-July 28, 2017
  2. one-credit hour research class (2017 syllabus, training and event schedules)
  3. attendance at the one-day training/processing on Tuesday May 30, 2017
  4. participation and poster presentation during the “Summer Undergraduate Research Symposium 2017” week of July 24-28, 2017.
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 - 2017
c/o Office of Undergraduate Research
306 Student Services Center
PO Box 6212
Morgantown, WV 26506-6212

Funding for the 2017 WVU SURE Site was obtained, in part, from:

  • the West Virginia Research Challenge Fund through a grant from the Division of Science and Research, Higher Education Policy Commission;
  • the WVU Colleges of Business & Economics, Creative Arts, and Physical Activity and Sports Sciences; Davis College of Agriculture, Forestry and Consumer Sciences; Eberly College of Arts and Sciences; Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources; Health Sciences Center; the Department of Biology; and the C. Eugene Bennett Department of Chemistry; along with administrative resources from
  • the WVU Honors College and the Office of Undergraduate Research.