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Summer Undergraduate Research Experience

The West Virginia University Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) Site has been refunded for summers 2017-2019! The summer 2019 SURE program will begin accepting applications in January 2019. Check back in January for more information.

The culminating Summer Undergraduate Research Symposium for the 2018 SURE experience took place on Thursday July 26, 2018 at the WVU Alumni Center. The symposium event was open to all beginning at noon (Welcome and Keynote) and 12:30-2:30 pm for the open poster session. At this event 109+ undergraduate students displayed the results of their summer research or creative works in poster form. See the symposium brochure and poster winners for more information.

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 29-July 27, 2018; 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 2018 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.
  • In addition, NSF KY-WV LSAMP Alliance funding will provide SURE support for an additional 10+ undergraduate STEM majors who are also from underrepresented populations (e.g., Hispanic, African-American, American Indian, etc.). We especially encourage these students to apply.
Applications for the 2018 SURE program are now open! 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!

2018 WVU SURE at West Virginia University (May 29 to July 27, 2018): SURE Student Application, printable student fact sheet & flyer (To be completed by the student!)

2018 WVU SURE at West Virginia University (May 29 to July 27, 2018): 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 February 28, 2018. The online application may be closed at midnight on February 28, 2018. Though we will accept supporting documents (transcripts, resume, and rec letters) after the Feb. 28 deadline, priority will be given to applications completed by/before the February 28th 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 with questions.

SURE Facts

  • Selected participants will work on research at West Virginia University for minimum of 40 hours per week 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 29, 2018 and runs for 9 weeks until the end on Friday July 27, 2018. 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 23-27, 2018).
  • The SURE program will begin with one day of training (safety, library resources etc.) and employee processing on Tuesday May 29, 2018. Training day attendance is mandatory.
  • The SURE program “officially” ends with a culminating poster presentation at the “Summer Undergraduate Research Symposium 2018” during the week of July 23-27, 2018.  Family, friends, research mentor, 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 (minimum of 40 hours per week for 8 weeks) research from May 29-July 27, 2018
  2. one-credit hour research class (2017 syllabus, training and event schedules)
  3. attendance at the one-day training/processing on Tuesday May 29, 2018
  4. participation and poster presentation during the “Summer Undergraduate Research Symposium 2018” week of July 23-27, 2018.
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 - 2018
c/o Office of Undergraduate Research
306 Student Services Center
PO Box 6212
Morgantown, WV 26506-6212

Funding for the 2018 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.