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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/creative work within their discipline or a related discipline. Students potentially interested in research as a career are especially encouraged to apply. 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.

Participating students receive a stipend of $5000 and are expected to research full-time (average of 40 hours per week or 320 hours over the course of 8 weeks). Applicants must identify a faculty research mentor upon application to the SURE program. If you need help finding a mentor, please reach out to to set up an appointment.

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 which vary depending on in-state/out-of-state and by college/school.

SURE Program Dates:
 May 28-July 26, 2024.

2023 SURE Course Program Files (2024 coming soon!)

SURE Syllabus  - 2024

SURE Workshop Schedule - 2024


SURE participants must be:

  • undergraduates enrolled at a West Virginia higher education institution or a West Virginia state resident enrolled in an out-of-state college or university; and
  • college sophomores, juniors, or seniors as of the fall 2024 semester (graduating on or after December 2024)
  • In addition, NSF KY-WV LSAMP Alliance funding will provide SURE support for additional undergraduate STEM majors who are also from underrepresented populations (e.g., Hispanic, African-American, American Indian, etc.). We especially encourage these students to apply.

In SURE 2024, we expect to support 60 students in research opportunities for students in all disciplines at WVU. Students in any discipline are encouraged to apply, including arts, humanities, social sciences and STEM.

How to Apply

Application portal opens: December 5, 2023. 

Students Apply Here  Student Printable Fact Sheet

NOTE: We are using Survey Monkey Apply for SURE student applications. Students should (i) click on the SURE application link, (ii) Register for an account (unless you already have a WVU Survey Monkey Apply account), (iii) Send verification link and verify email account (if needed), (iv) Apply by completing all 5 parts of the application:

  1. SURE Student Application
  2. SURE: Invitation to Self-Identify (optional)
  3. Short Essay
  4. Resume Upload 
  5. Transcript Upload
  6. Letter of Support from your prospective faculty mentor
  7. Letter of Recommendation from one additional faculty member (optional)
Finally, be sure to Review and Submit the application. More details about these components below.

Application Deadline: 11:59 pm on March 1, 2024

Priority will be given to applications completed by/before the March 1, 2024 review date. A COMPLETE application includes the online application and one letter of support from your prospective faculty mentor.  

SURE offers are made until the program is filled. All applicants are apprised of their status (~mid April). Please be patient as we review applications! 

Advice to Student Applicants

Get Started Early. We strongly encourage applicants to begin their applications well before the March 1 priority date and to give recommenders at least two weeks notice of the March 1 due date.

Short Essay (250-500 words): Before beginning the SURE online application, we suggest you take some time to fashion your essay in advance of submitting (include spell and grammar check). In your essay, 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.

Faculty Research Mentor: To apply to the program, you must first identify a WVU faculty research mentor willing to supervise you during the SURE program. You can find an appropriate mentor by: 1) searching WVU websites for faculty, within your major(s)/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 member, and/or 4) working with the Office of Undergraduate Research to assist you. The faculty member must be agreeable and willing to provide a letter describing their willingness to mentor you. Contact with questions about finding a faculty research mentor.

Faculty Research Mentor Letter of Support (required): A letter of support from your prospective faculty mentor is required for the application. Once you have found a faculty mentor willing to supervise you, let them know that SURE will be requesting a letter of support from them. The letter of support should state that they are willing to serve as your mentor and should address your potential/abilities/motivation for engaging in research. We strongly encourage applicants to give recommenders at least two weeks notice of the March 1 due date.

Additional Letter of Recommendation (optional): In addition to your prospective mentor, you may wish to include one additional (optional) letter from a faculty member within your discipline (preferably from your home institution). The recommendation letter should address your potential/abilities/motivation for engaging in research. 

Transcripts: You will need to attach a pdf or Word (.doc or .docx) copy of your official or unofficial, verifiable college transcripts. Please ensure that your transcripts are (i) legible and appear in portrait (not landscape) mode and (ii) that your name and the name of your institution appear on the transcripts. Your application will not be reviewed until all portions of your SURE application (form, resume, transcripts, and letter of support) have been submitted. 

Resume: You will need to attach a pdf or Word (.doc or .docx) copy of your updated resume. Your application will not be reviewed until all portions of your SURE application (form, resume, transcripts, and letter of support) have been submitted. 

SUBMIT! Don't forget to submit your application at the end. Your letter writers will not get a request to send a letter until you submit your application!

Questions? Email: