Summer Undergraduate Research Experiences (SURE)


No photo description available.The University of Wisconsin-Madison College of Engineering in cooperation with the Graduate SchoolNSF's Materials Research Science and Engineering Center, and the 3M Foundation hosts a summer research experience for undergraduate students from May 28, 2024 (travel day) through August 3, 2024. Participants will spend ten weeks conducting laboratory research in an area of engineering or the physical sciences. Students are exposed to other research available on campus through weekly meetings and faculty seminars, and participate in social activities with current graduate students. At the conclusion of the program, students present their research in an interdisciplinary poster session.

Students may request projects in the following College of Engineering departments and programs. Applicants are also encouraged to browse the list of engineering centers to see additional project possibilities.


Department/Program Degree(s)
Biomedical Engineering MS, PhD
Chemical and Biological Engineering MS, PhD
Civil and Environmental Engineering MS, PhD
Electrical and Computer Engineering MS, PhD
Engineering Physics MS, PhD
Environmental Chemistry and Technology Program MS, PhD
Geological Engineering MS, PhD
Industrial and Systems Engineering MS, PhD
Limnology and Marine Science ME
Materials Science and Engineering MS, PhD
Mechanical Engineering MS, PhD



The program provides students with opportunities that build on their interest in science and engineering careers. Participants conduct a research project under the direction of faculty mentors and work as members of laboratory research teams investigating problems in engineering and the physical sciences in an academic environment.

Furthermore, the program professionally develops the student through seminars, interaction with faculty members, post-doctoral scholars, and graduate students at the UW-Madison College of Engineering. Seminars include but are not limited to: how to apply to graduate school, fellowships such as the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, jobs post-PhD, how to know if graduate school is right for you.

Here, a SURE student is presenting her work at the annual College of Engineering Research Experience for Undergraduates on using computational methods for plastics recycling. From her professional development in the SURE program on poster presenting, she walks through her project to the Dean of Inclusion, Equity, and Diversity of the College of Engineering, Chris Castro.



All participants receive a financial support package worth approximately $8,000. This package consists of a $6,500 stipend for the ten­week period, travel expenses to and from the program, housing that is furnished and only 5 minutes away walking distance from campus, and a meal allowance.


SURE students have the opportunity to experience Madison during the summer. For example, Madison is surrounded by the 4 Great Lakes and SURE and GERS students were able to hop on a cruise and enjoy the sunset around Lake Mendota in August 2022.

The College of Engineering is made up of nine departments and is known internationally for its research in engineering and the physical sciences. The University of Wisconsin-Madison is located in the city of Madison on the south shore of Lake Mendota, one of several lakes in the area. The UW campus offers opportunities for interdisciplinary work between its superb undergraduate and graduate programs and other schools such as the School of Medicine and Public Health, School of Veterinary Medicine, and more. Madison is the capital of Wisconsin with a population of 200,000 and offers a wide variety of social, cultural, educational and recreational opportunities. The city is 1-1/2 hours northwest of Chicago and 1 hour west of Milwaukee. Students were able to explore both Chicago, Milwaukee, water-theme parks, Devil's Lake and other State/National parks with current graduate students on program-sponsered trips.


  • Undergraduate students majoring in mathematics, chemistry, physics, engineering, biotechnology related engineering areas, and other physical sciences with an interest in attending graduate school.
  • Students who have completed their junior year.
  • Students with an overall GPA of 3.5 or higher on a 4.0 scale. Because SURE/REU is a graduate recruitment program, specific GPA requirements for graduate applications in individual departments will be applied.
  • Students who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents enrolled in an accredited college or university.

Please note that the APPLICANT is responsible for submitting a complete application consisting of the following:

  1. The application form, available online.
  2. A statement of research interest. Be sure to include information on previous laboratory research experience, post­graduation (undergraduate) plans, any experiences you have had that have prepared you for this experience, along with your reasons for applying to the program.
  3. College transcripts. "Unofficial" transcripts printed from the college website are acceptable.
  4. One letter of recommendation from a professor in your major area or a former research advisor/supervisor.

Incomplete applications will not be considered. 

If you plan to submit a Summer Research Opportunities Program (SROP) application through the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC), PLEASE NOTE that applications are received after the SURE/REU deadline. We URGE you to submit an application early.

It is preferred that all application materials including references and transcripts be sent via email to No faxes, please. For further information, contact Kelly Burton at or (608­)263­-4583.



Criteria for selection will be based on academic qualifications as determined by academic record and prior course work, letters of recommendation, and the statement regarding scientific interests and career goals. Preference will be given to rising juniors and seniors.

Application Deadline

Rolling placements will begin December 1, 2023 with an absolute program deadline for receipt of materials of February 17, 2024. Apply early to increase the likelihood of placement in the laboratory of your choice. Complete the online application. References, letters and transcripts can be sent electronically to

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Graduate Engineering Research Scholars
© 2024. Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System.

GERS Program Manager
Kelly Burton
Phone: 608-263-4583

GERS Faculty Director
Victor Zavala
Phone: 608-262-4151

Support the Graduate Engineering Research Scholars Program by making a gift to the University of Wisconsin Foundation.

You can help support the Graduate Engineering Research Scholars Program by making a gift to the University of Wisconsin Foundation