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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 undergraduate student

The Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program is designed to give undergraduates the opportunity 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 of $7,000, sufficient to cover on-campus housing or the equivalent. On-campus housing and a meal plan through R&DE’s Student Housing Office may be available, but please note that this is a separate program and must be applied for separately in Axess. More information is found on the Student drop-down menu under the Housing and Dining tab. Participation in SURI is not a guarantee of room and board and therefore students are responsible for keeping track of summer housing application deadlines. 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.


The ME department will be hosting SURI during the summer of 2018. Once again, the program is open to Stanford undergraduate students only.

Eligibility and Priority

Participation in SURI is capped this year, with a maximum of 45 spaces available. Once the limit is reached we will be unable to accept additional undergraduate students in our summer program.

To be eligible, a Stanford undergraduate must not have received a BS degree 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 degree has not yet been conferred, but will be given lower priority. If students are not yet declared as ME major, they must be working with an ME faculty member to participate in SURI. SURI is not a summer job, but students should plan to be fully immersed in the SURI research experience for the duration of the program.

SURI awards a fellowship stipend to participants; it is not a traditional employment agreement (there is no W-2 or 1099 issued at the end of summer). Students should plan to perform research in the lab for a minimum of 30 hours each week, unless otherwise arranged with their faculty sponsor. At the end of the program students will participate in a poster session, attended by faculty, staff and students, to talk about their research project and process.

We understand that some SURI students may wish to take courses or participate in other activities during the summer. The VPUE guidelines state that SURI students wishing to take up to five units of coursework, or work another job up to ten hours per week, must obtain approval from their SURI faculty sponsor first, followed by an email request to SURI Administrator, Michelle Rice, and cc’d to the SURI Faculty Advisor, Prof. Hai Wang.

How to Apply

Effective summer 2018 there is a formal application process 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 as early as possible. Faculty expect students to seek out research opportunities, so please be proactive in the process of finding a faculty/lab of interest.

Once you’ve secured a commitment from an ME faculty member, please complete the SURI student application (link below). Upon submission, ME Student Services will reach out to the faculty member to confirm their agreement to work on a summer research project with you. Upon receipt of the faculty approval, the student will be contacted directly with further instructions. Once the slot capacity (45 spots) is met, the application process will be closed and students may be waitlisted.

Effective summer 2018 we are implementing the following application process:

  1. Student Application (
  2. Eligibility/Priority
    1. Round 1:  ME, BME, or PD student (or student interested in declaring these majors) working with ME faculty; deadline March 15, decisions made by March 29
    2. Round 2:  ME student working with non-ME faculty; deadline April 5, decisions made by April 19
    3. Round 3:  student from any department working with ME faculty or lecturer; deadline April 26, decisions made by May 10
  3. Application Review and Faculty Commitment (faculty/department review)
  4. Decisions and Notification

Decisions will be made within two weeks of each Round deadline and students will be notified.

Appointment Dates

The dates of SURI program appointment are somewhat flexible, but as a guideline, they consist of a 10-week period beginning on June 18, 2018. We will host a Kick-Off meeting on Monday, June 18, to welcome you to the SURI 2018 cohort, review the program expectations, introduce our SURI faculty participants, and answer student questions. At the end of the 10-week program, in late August, students will participate in a poster presentation, to share the results of their research with the ME community. In addition to the poster session, students are required to submit a two-page summary of their research experience, which will be used to evaluate the SURI program.

Any questions about the SURI program, eligibility and application process should be routed to ME Student Services: