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SURF Application

The application for the 2022 Virtual SURF Program is OPEN. Prospective applicants must complete the requirements posted in the vacancy announcement by 11:59 PM (ET) on February 15, 2022.   

SURF Webinar-2020
SURF Webinar-2020
This webinar is for students to learn more about the National Institute Standards and Technology (NIST) and provide tips to submit a competitive application to the SURF Program.

Students must apply on USAJobs.Gov to be considered for acceptance into the program. To apply to the program, a USAJOBS profile is required. If you do not have a profile, please create it here .

Note: The university component has been removed from the application requirements. Thus, universities should not submit proposals nominating students to participate in the SURF Program.

A complete submission (via USAJOBS.GOV) contains the following:

  1. Responses to the questionnaire (includes eligibility and vacancy questions). Note: You may preview the eligibility and vacancy questions here
  2. Two (2) letters of recommendation - Please request and enter the contact information on USAJOBS.Gov from individuals who are knowledgeable about your academic achievements and research experience. Feel free to ask your professors (current and past), research mentors, or internship supervisors. NOTE: You must submit your application for the letter writer to receive the request to provide a recommendation. The request for a recommendation letter will come from the e-mail msghelp [at]  Additionally, it is the applicants responsibility to provide the correct information and make sure the letters are completed by the deadline.  NIST will not accept hard copies or submissions not uploaded in the portal. 
  3. Personal statement-  The personal statement is the opportunity for NIST staff to learn more about the student and why he/she should be selected for a fellowship in the SURF Program. Students are encouraged to compose a personal statement which includes the following:
  • Commitment to participate in the program and work in a laboratory environment;
  • NIST laboratory preference  and why you selected that laboratory
  • Description of relevent research experience;
  • Description of prioritized research interests;
  • How you expect to personally benefit from participating in the program
  • Career goals.

  4.  ​​​​​​Resume-A brief (two pages or less) resume which includes name, e-mail, school name, G.P.A., research experience, technical skills, extracurricular activities, and graduation date (example resume).

  5.  Transcript(s) from your current undergraduate institution only (unofficial is acceptable). Note: The transcript must confirm your current enrollment status. 

  6. Proof of U.S. citizenship: Proof includes a copy of an unexpired U.S. Passport, birth certificate, or naturalization certificate.

Proof of U.S. permanent residency: Proof includes an unexpired green card.
NOTE: Driver license and social security card are not adequate forms of proof of U.S. citizenship.

  7.  Verification of health insurance (copy of insurance card)

The SURF Program at the Gaithersburg campus is anticipated to run between May 23 – August 5, 2022 or June 6 – August 5, 2022; adjustments may be made to accommodate specific academic schedules (e.g., a limited number of 9-week slots). Students are expected to participate in the program until August 5, 2022.

View the list of frequently asked questions.

To see the breadth of the SURF program, see examples from the past SURF student projects descriptions and activities:

Created May 27, 2010, Updated January 1, 2022