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Research experience for undergraduates

Engaging in independent research under the direction of a faculty member can be one of the most exciting and rewarding experiences of your undergraduate career.

An opportunity to do research as an undergrad

The Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Program is designed to give undergraduates the chance to work with faculty and their research groups on advanced research projects.

The REU program is coordinated jointly by the Office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education (VPUE) and the Office of Student Affairs in the School of Engineering.  The Mechanical Engineering (ME) Department Summer Undergraduate Research Institute (SURI) is the ME Department's REU offering.  Students who are accepted into SURI will receive a summer fellowship stipend sufficient to cover on-campus housing or the equivalent.  On-campus housing and a meal plan through the Student Housing Office may be available but please note that this is a separate program and must be applied for separately.  Participation in SURI is not a guarantee of room and board.  Living on-campus is not a requirement for SURI participation.  Whether you are well into your major or still testing the waters, all engineering students are strongly encouraged to consider taking advantage of the REU program.  SURI runs ten weeks, from June (beginning shortly after commencement) through August.


With a few changes from previous offerings, the ME Department will be continuing SURI during the summer of 2017.  Once again, the program is open to Stanford undergraduate students only.

Eligibility and priority

Enrollment in SURI is capped this year.  Once the limit is reached we will be unable to accept additional undergrads.  As we expect more students to seek these opportunities than the available slots, the selection will be made on a first come, first served basis.  To be eligible, a Stanford undergraduate must not have received a BS prior to the beginning of the summer research experience.  Students may be rising into their sophomore, junior or senior year in the fall quarter following the summer research experience.  Students who will be in their fifth (coterminal) year are also eligible as long as the BS has not yet been conferred, but will be given second priority.  Students do not necessarily have to be declared ME majors but, if not, then they must then be sponsored by a faculty appointed within the ME Department.  SURI is not a summer job, students should plan to be fully immersed in the SURI experience during the program.

Students should not be enrolled in classes over the summer quarter.  SURI students are expected to devote themselves to their projects and not try to combine SURI with other programs or "second jobs."  We understand that some SURI students may wish to take courses or participate in other activities during the summer.  In light of the VPUE's guidelines, if a SURI student wishes to deviate from the SURI guidelines as outlined earlier in this paragraph by taking up to five units of coursework, or working another job up to ten hours per week, obtain email approval from your SURI faculty sponsor first, followed by an email request to the SURI Administrator, Perry Thoorsell, cc'ed to the SURI Faculty Advisor, Prof. Hai Wang.

How to apply

There is no formal application for participation in SURI. Students who are interested in participating in SURI should seek out research opportunities directly with affiliated ME faculty and secure a commitment/position for the summer by the end of May.  Please do not ask the SURI Administrator for open positions.  The burden is on the student to establish a connection with a faculty sponsor.

Sponsoring faculty must then contact the SURI Administrator, Perry Thoorsell, with an email indicating intent to sponsor the student.  Upon receipt of this email from the faculty sponsor, the student will be contacted directly with further instructions.  Again, space is limited.  Faculty will need to communicate with the SURI administrator regarding openings as soon as possible.  Once the cap has been reached SURI enrollment will be closed and students will be waitlisted.

Appointment dates

The date of the appointment is flexible, but as a guideline, it consists of a period of ten weeks beginning Monday, June 19, 2017.  We will hold a kick-off breakfast meeting on Monday, June 20, and students will participate in our poster session, presenting results at the end of the program, on Friday, August 25, 2017.  Students are required to submit a two-page write-up of their research experience, which will be used to evaluate the SURI program.