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PML Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship Program

2019 PML SURF students
Credit: NIST
2019 PML SURF students

The Physical Measurement Laboratory (PML) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) encourages undergraduate students to apply to its Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program.

SURFing the Physical Measurement Laboratory of the National Institute of Standards and Technology is a partnership with American colleges and universities, stimulating outstanding science and engineering students to pursue scientific careers by exposing them to the world-class facilities in the NIST Physical Measurement Laboratory, and strengthening undergraduate physics curricula by forming the basis for ongoing collaborations.

Research areas in PML

See PML's "What we do" page.

Student Eligibility Criteria

  • Must be enrolled as an undergraduate at a U.S. university or college with a scientific major.
  • Intend to pursue a graduate degree (M.S. or Ph.D.) in engineering, physical science, or information technology.
  • GPA of 3.0/4.0, or better.
  • Must be a U. S. citizen or permanent resident.
  • Two letters of recommendation into the program by physics, chemistry or engineering professors/department chairs, student transcript, and letter of intent/personal statement.

Plan of Operation

  • SURFers work directly with NIST Research Advisors.
  • SURFers participate in weekly seminar program, during which Fellows and Advisors present their research projects; SURFers also participate in extramural group activities intended to enrich the fellowship experience.
  • Fellows are encouraged to present their research results at National Meetings.

SURF Program Quick Facts

  • Application Deadline: February 3, 2020 or the first 1,000 applicants
  • Program duration: 11 weeks (May 26, 2020 - August 7, 2020)
  • In 2018, fellowships included a $4,500 (9 weeks) or $5,500 (11 weeks) stipend, travel reimbursement, and housing allowances.
  • Applicants must apply to announcement number SURF2020-0001 at to be considered for participation in the program. To apply for opportunities on USAJOBS, all applicants are required to have a profile. For applicants who need assistance with creating a profile, please visit
  • PML 2020 SURF Projects

Read more about the application or call Brandi Toliver at (301) 975-2371 if you need further information.


Electrical & Electronics Engineering


Created September 9, 2009, Updated January 15, 2020