FAQs for SURF Candidates – UCSD Medical Scientist Education Program

Who is eligible to apply for SURF?

  • Must be an undergraduate student in good standing.
  • Individuals from racial and ethnic groups that the National Science Foundation has demonstrated are underrepresented in health-related sciences nationwide (see NIH guidelines). In addition, it is recognized that under-representation may vary from context to context, and persons from racial or ethnic groups that can be convincingly shown to be under-represented are eligible for support under this program.
  • People with disabilities, who are defined as those who have a physical or mental impairment that significantly limits one or more major life activities.
  • People from disadvantaged backgrounds.
  • See the Eligibility page for more details.

Can I apply if I am currently a freshman?

Yes, you can apply if you are currently a freshman. The SURF program encourages applications from students in their early undergraduate years.

Can I apply if I am currently a senior?

Graduate students are not eligible to apply. Students must continue their undergraduate studies.

How do I submit my application?

Complete the online application. Follow the instructions for submitting your two letters of recommendation.

Official transcripts should be emailed to [email protected] (preferred)

Official paper transcripts can be sealed and mailed to:

UCSD SURF Program
9500 Gilman Drive MC 0661
La Jolla, CA 92093-0661

What is the application deadline?

Please see the How to Apply section of this website.

What factors are considered in the admissions process?

The admissions committee considers a minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale, a declaration of serious interest in pursuing an MD/PhD degree, previous research experience, and an evaluation as indicated in the letters of recommendation.

FAQ for accepted students

Who is my assigned mentor?

The SURF program includes a wide range of mentors, including research professors in bioengineering, bioinformatics, neurosurgery, pediatrics, public health and radiology. Applicants will be asked to rank the departments participating in the given year. Accepted candidates are matched with a mentor based on their experience. The preferences of all accepted candidates are considered during the selection process.

What are the objectives of the program?

To introduce disadvantaged and/or underrepresented students to careers in academic medicine through hands-on laboratory and clinical experiences with current academic clinicians, researchers, and physicians/doctoral students. interns; Offer group activities; Provide MSTP-SURF specific activities and workshops; Foster a network between SURF participants, current MSTP students and research professors.

What do I need to accomplish during this program?

Along with the 8-week research experience, SURF students will present their research at the annual MSTP-SURF Research Symposium. In addition, we ask that you include a written document of 5 to 10 pages summarizing the data of your research project.


Can I take a summer course while participating in SURF?

While participating in the SURF program, students are not permitted to take a summer course, either at UCSD or at an outside institution.

What type of accommodation is available?

On-campus apartment-style accommodation is available for our students. The apartments vary in size and generally house two students per apartment.

Do I have to live on campus if I live locally?

SURF students are strongly encouraged to live on campus for the duration of the program. Living on campus enhances the SURF experience and is convenient for attending SURF events.

How is the trip organised?

The SURF program will arrange travel for all accepted participants to and from UCSD for the 8-week program.

Does SURF pay for parking?

The SURF program does not reimburse students for parking.

Is transportation offered to/from my lab?

Students can walk or take the free campus shuttle to labs located on campus or at the VA Hospital. Public transportation to labs located just outside of the UCSD campus is available free of charge with a UCSD student card.