SURFO Applications

SURFO BBQ on the GSO quad.
SURFO BBQ on the GSO quad.

Apply Now

Application Deadline.

Applications are due on 16 Feb 2024. Late applications will be accepted, with priority given to applications received on or before the deadline.


Citizenship. The SURFO program is limited to U.S. citizens or international students who are permanent residents of the U.S. or U.S. possessions.

Academic Standing. All undergraduate students are welcome to apply, but the SURFO program is targeted for students completing their junior year. 

Students with Disabilities. Your access in this program is important. This REU program makes every effort to ensure that students with disabilities can successfully participate. Please be in touch with us early in the program planning phase, so that we have adequate time to discuss and arrange accommodations.

Analyzing zooplankton samples with a video plankton recorder.
Ariel Pezner analyzing zooplankton samples with a video plankton recorder.

Selection Criteria

The selection of SURFO participants is based upon:

  • academic preparation in the basic sciences, math or engineering
  • possible career interest in oceanography or ocean engineering
  • research potential
  • ability to articulate, in writing, reasons for applicant’s interest in the program
  • recommendations from undergraduate professors, research advisors, employers.

NSF mandates that all REU sites in oceanography do not demand a response (acceptance or rejection) from the students before March 15, to give them an opportunity to choose among potential offerings. We try to match students’ interest(s) with advisors’ areas of research by March 1, juggling acceptance/rejection, pairing students/advisors. Wait-listed applicants are then contacted and asked to respond/accept within three days. Our goal is to complete the acceptance process by April 1st. Any student who is asked to accept or reject an REU offer prior to March 15 should contact the Division of Ocean Science’s REU Program Director, Lisa Rom at or 703-292-7709.

On Narragansett Bay.
On Narragansett Bay.

Application Materials

Applications are submitted through the National Science Foundations Education & Training Application (NSF ETAP). The application for this opportunity can be found by following this link.

You will be asked to provide personal and contact information, name and email address for two references, and to provide/upload the following documents:

1 – Statement of Interest

  • Career Interests
  • Research Experience (if any)
  • Reasons for Interest in this Program

2 – Letters of Reference (LOR, 2 required) 

  • LORs should be from at least one person (two preferably) who is familiar with your academic capabilities and can comment on your interest in research. The second LOR may be from a prior employer.
  • LORs are confidential, letters can be directly uploaded into the NSF ETAP portal by the reviewer.  (Note: an earlier version of this page stated that letters should be sent directly to the program coordinator: Professor David Smith – it is fine if letters were sent directly but submission via the portal is now preferred.)

3 – Resume which includes:

  • Education
  • Relevant Coursework
  • Honors/Awards
  • Work Experience
  • Computer Experience (Systems, Platforms and/or Languages used; Code writing experience; Hardware & Software familiarity)
  • Other Activities

4 – College Transcripts

  • for each college attended
  • we accept unofficial transcripts
2019 SURFOs on the Capt’n Bert (Lydia Nunez, Kamal James, Sommer Meyer and Ben Watzak).