Summer Undergraduate Research Program

Two students with SURP poster of the Automated Design for Human Powered Vehicle project

*SURP 2020 Updates*

SURP Projects to be Completed Remotely

Due to the stay-at-home state order, SURP 2020 projects will be completed entirely remotely.  While this is a change from our original plan, it may offer an opportunity to some students who would not otherwise be able to participate.  We are really excited by the faculty proposals, and feel strongly that SURP will provide you with an outstanding undergraduate research experience! Cal Poly faculty and staff genuinely appreciate your flexibility during these unprecedented times, and the fact that we can continue with our Summer Undergraduate Research Program is a testament to everyone’s resiliency and can-do spirit! Application Deadline: Monday, May 4th.

SURP student interacting with faculty during Symposium event
SURP award winners with Prof Bob Crockett

The College of Engineering (CENG) initiated a Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP) in 2017. The purpose of the program is to provide research experiences for our undergraduate students working alongside our faculty during the summer. This program also supports the scholarly efforts of our faculty through engagement with undergraduate students. Projects lead to student-faculty authored publications in venues appropriate to the area of research conducted during the summer. Further, the program invites industrial and other external sponsors to provide university-industry collaborative research and project activities.

This program supports Cal Poly’s educational mission as both faculty members and students are provided a significant opportunity for their professional growth. SURP students gain valuable training in research methods and practices, professional experience, have opportunities to apply classroom knowledge and theories in a research setting, and work in a team environment. Through collaboration with faculty members and external sponsors, SURP students gain “Learn by Doing” research experience that will support their growth as a student and set a foundation to build on as they pursue their career goals. Depending on the project, students may have tangible products such as data sets, hardware prototypes, software code, other forms of intellectual property, abstracts and/or research posters, and co-authored publications. SURP faculty participants are able to implement the teacher-scholar model while making progress in their area of research. Partnerships with industrial and external sponsors through SURP support the California State University’s mission of preparing significant numbers of educated and responsible people to contribute to California’s economy, culture, and future. Industrial and external SURP project sponsors gain a head start in cultivating professional relationships with talented and motivated SURP students.

Visit the following links for samples of SURP projects from recent years:

Printable FAQ (PDF)

Who Can Apply?

All undergraduate students in the College of Engineering (CENG) are eligible to apply for the 2020 Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP). Preference will be given to lower division students (students completing their freshman or sophomore year) who have not previously participated in SURP. Seniors graduating during the 2019 – 2020 academic year or who are entering a Cal Poly graduate program during the 2019 – 2020 academic year are not eligible to apply.

How do I select the research topics/faculty mentor to work with?

SURP has solicited and selected research project topics from CENG faculty. All selected research topics and associated faculty mentors for SURP 2020 will be posted on this webpage in early April. Please review these research topics and indicate your top three project choices. Also indicate whether you would be open to other projects if your top three are not available. You are encouraged to discuss your application with the faculty mentor of interest.

When does SURP start and how long does it last?

SURP is an 8-week long program, and SURP students are expected to spend at least 20 hours/week working on their research projects. SURP students and their faculty mentor agree upon a start date for their research project that falls within the summer 2020 quarter. While the 8-week SURP project must be completed during the summer 2020 quarter, the 8 weeks need not be contiguous. SURP students may not use any time worked beyond 20 hours/week to shorten the 8-week duration of the program.

Is there a specific application format?

Applications are submitted online. Instructions and application link will be posted on this CENG SURP webpage. Applications must include a resume and a cover letter that indicates your top three project choices, as well as why this opportunity is important to you. Also indicate in your cover letter whether you would be open to other projects if your top three are not available.

How will students be selected for SURP 2020?

Associate Dean Robert Crockett will review the applications and work with the identified faculty mentor to make a final decision and inform the selected student participant(s).

What review criteria will apply?

Student applications will be evaluated and matched to faculty projects based on the student-project fit, as determined by the student’s resume and cover letter; preference will be given to lower division students (students completing their freshman or sophomore year) who have not previously participated in SURP.

What is the Application Submission Deadline?

The exact date will be posted on this webpage in mid April.

How do I submit my application?

Applications are submitted online using Cal Poly Handshake, starting April 20.

When will I know if I have been selected to participate in the 2020 CENG SURP?

Associate Dean Robert Crockett will notify the selected students by early May.

Do I need to do fill out any additional paperwork after I have been selected to participate in SURP?

All selected students will be asked to review and sign the SURP participant Commitment and Expectations form.

How much compensation will each SURP student participant receive?

Each SURP student participant will receive a CENG Summer Research Grant of $3,000. SURP students will not receive additional funding for working more than 20 hours/week or for more than 8 weeks. This grant will be disbursed through the Financial Aid Office.

Does SURP provide housing and meals for its student participants?

No. SURP student participants are responsible for finding and paying for their own housing and meals for the duration of the program.

Can a student receive funding for working on more than one research topic?

No. A selected student can receive only one CENG SURP research grant.

Can a student participate and receive funding from multiple SURP programs?

No. Other colleges at Cal Poly run SURP programs and may permit CENG students to participate. However, students are limited to participation in only SURP program at a time at Cal Poly.

Questions should be submitted to Robert Crockett, Associate Dean for Innovation Infrastructure: (805)756-2131.

Coronavirus Update and Resources