School of Medicine

Wayne State University School of Medicine


1. I am planning to graduate this spring. Am I eligible?

Yes. In fact, you are highly encouraged to apply. If you are thinking that research in graduate school may be the right career path for you, a summer experience in research and the mentoring that our program Director, Dr. Sun, and your research supervisor can give you, can help you decide. On the other hand, if you are a senior who is solely interested in entering medical school to become a physician, your application will not receive a high priority.

2. I am in a masters program, am I eligible?

No. If you are interested in research, you should either apply to our graduate program or write to specific faculty to find out if they have opportunities in their labs, independent of the SURF program.

3. I am an international student residing outside of the United States. Am I eligible?

No. Due to the visa issues and time and likely delays to process such applications, we do not consider applicants for SURF from international students who are not already in the United States.

4. I am not currently enrolled but I am planning on enrolling as a freshman in Spring, Summer or Fall of this year, am I eligible?

No. The SURF program is directed at Juniors and Seniors. Occasionally, a Sophomore may be considered who has an especially keen interest in research and a likely career path that includes graduate school.

5. I am a freshman in college, am I eligible?

No. See answer to previous question.

6. What is the start and end date of the fellowship?

The research training supported by this fellowship must be done during the four month period between May 1 and August 31. The main requirement is that the student commit to the equivalent of 12 weeks of full-time research training. The exact start and end dates are determined in consultation with the student’s mentor. Many students begin around May 15 and finish up around August 7. Generally, participating students present their summer’s research (or interim progress report) in a SURF symposium around the first or second week in August.

7. Should I ask my references to write letters of recommendation?

No. We ask only for the names of references. We will follow up with requests for recommendations only for the highest ranked applications. Our evaluation process usually involves talking first with the applicant to confirm interest and form our own independent impression. Recommendations and transcripts will be needed only if the application moves to the next stage of consideration. This procedure also enables us to ask specific questions to your references about intellectual capability and research experience.

8. Can I take classes during the fellowship?

If you are already a Wayne State student it might be possible to take a class if approved by your mentor. Non-Wayne State students who are awarded the fellowship are not permitted to register for classes at Wayne. Fellowship recipients are assumed to do full time research training for 12 weeks. If taking a class reduces the amount of research training accomplished per week, then, according to what you agree with your mentor, you may be expected to extend the research training period so that you get a full 12 weeks in the lab.

9. Are there other activities for SURF students during the summer besides research?

Generally, the 4 – 10 summer fellows meet with the program director or other faculty members on a biweekly basis, to provide social interaction, lunch, and additional information about graduate life. These gatherings may include meeting with current grad students, admissions officers, hearing about other faculty members’ research, visiting the Art Institute or other Detroit institutions, an annual picnic, student symposium, etc. Some years it includes an outing to a Tigers game. We try to make all aspects of the summer a fun and enjoyable experience for the student.

10. Are housing or travel allowances provided by the fellowship program?

No. However, summer housing in on-campus dormitories is available at a reasonable cost. Alternatively, some students have teamed up with one another to rent a house or apartment together. If we call to discuss your application and housing is a concern, raise the issue then. Some mentors have provided additional funding for out-of-state students if housing assistance were needed. However, this is possible only by special arrangement with specific mentors. No travel allowances are provided.

11. I am a foreign student. Am I eligible to apply for the SURF fellowship?

Depends. If you are currently a student in the United States and meet other program criteria, you are encouraged to apply. However, if you are a foreign national living outside the United States and do not have a “green card,” you are not eligible. This policy is only for the SURF fellowship. Applications to our graduate program can come from either foreign or American students