Undergraduate Students at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

Undergraduate Students

Summer Undergraduate Research Program

The Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP) is an intensive, nine-week internship designed to provide research experience and mentorship for undergraduate students who are interested in biomedical research. Under the guidance of a faculty mentor, interns will complete an independent research project and present their findings at a competitive poster session. 

The program runs from Monday, June 17 through Friday, August 16, 2019. Students must be able to commit to this entire period in order to participate.

An online application for the 2019 SURP is available now. Click here to apply!

Areas of Research

Interns will be paired with a faculty mentor after selecting one of the following areas of interest:

  • Basic Science: Conducts structural, genetic, molecular, cellular, developmental and evolutionary biology;
  • Human Biology: Interdisciplinary research; conducts lab-based and computational research at the interface of basic, clinical and population sciences;
  • Public Health: Uses large populations as a "laboratory" to look for links between cancer and its possible triggers, from diet and lifestyle to environmental and genetic factors. Conducts statistical, epidemiological and prevention studies around the world;
  • Clinical Research: Works to develop and analyze new treatments for cancers and other Diseases; and
  • Vaccine and Infectious Disease: Integrates computational, laboratory and clinical research method to advance the understanding of microbial pathogenesis and infectious disease processes.

To learn more about the specific research interests of Fred Hutch faculty, please visit the Labs / Projects page.

Program Components

In addition to completing a mentored research project, interns will participate in professional development workshops designed to facilitate the preparation of competitive applications for graduate/medical school.  Workshops include:

  • Preparing a personal statement, resume, and abstract;
  • How to successfully apply to graduate or medical school; and
  • Preparing and presenting a scientific poster.

Interns will also attend weekly research seminars regarding a broad array of scientific topics. The program culminates with a competitive poster session.

The program also sponsors a number of social activities to foster interaction among interns and their mentors. Activities may include:

  • Attending a Seattle Mariners MLB game OR a Seattle Sounders FC match;
  • Riding the Seattle Great Wheel OR touring the Theo Chocolate Factory;
  • Taking a ferry to scenic Bainbridge Island; and
  • Hiking the trails on Mount Rainier.
Speed Mentoring Session: Perspectives About Successful Admission to Medical and Graduate School
Video by Dr. Steve Pergam

Eligibility Requirements

  • U.S. citizen or permanent resident;
  • Entering the summer BEFORE the final year (or semester or quarter) of undergraduate studies; and
  • Strong background in the sciences or related area of interest.

    * Please carefully review the FAQ's Among Applicants to ensure your academic standing and/or U.S. citizenship or permanent resident status qualifies you to participate in the SURP. If you remain uncertain about your eligibility upon reviewing the FAQ's, please contact us at:
    SURP (at) fredhutch.org prior to submitting an application.
Diversity Statement
The SURP endeavors to engage scientific curiosity and promote cancer research careers among undergraduates and is committed to expanding diversity among students who enter STEM fields.


Interns will receive $4,794 (minus taxes) for their participation in the Summer Undergraduate Research Program.


Roundtrip travel costs (up to $450) are provided. Travel arrangements will be coordinated by program staff unless otherwise requested. Interns who drive to Seattle may receive mileage reimbursement (up to $450).


Interns are responsible for their housing, meals, and transportation. Housing is available at the University of Washington's Stevens Court for approximately $2,300 (*in 2018) for the duration of the program. Housing applications for Stevens Court will be sent to students who are selected to participate in the program in early March. For more information about the amenities offered at Stevens Court, please visit UW Student Housing. Interns are welcome to make their own housing arrangements.

Local Transportation

Interns are eligible to purchase a subsidized transportation pass for $45. There is a free shuttle between the Fred Hutch and University of Washington campus that departs every 15 minutes.

Photo by Clayton Hibbert

How to Apply

An online application for the 2019 Summer Undergraduate Research Program is available now. Click here to apply!

The application consists of:
    1)  A 1-page Statement of Research Interests
         and Career Goals outlining your scientific
         background, current research interests, and
         how participation in the SURP will advance
         your academic and career aspirations;
    2)  Transcripts;
    3)  Up to two letters of recommendation;
    4)  *Identifying up to three faculty members who
           you would like to work with and a short
           description of why those particular faculty
           members' research is of interest to you.

*To streamline the process of identifying three faculty members, we suggest prospective applicants review the Current and Prior Interns page, which identifies intern placement in various labs/research groups by research division.  This could serve as a starting point to identify faculty whose research is of interest to you, understanding that all Fred Hutch faculty are potential mentors.

Alternatively, if you have a general sense for the type of research that interests you, i.e. basic science versus clinical research or public health versus infectious disease, go to the Labs/Project page to explore faculty who are conducting research within your scientific area of interest.

The application deadline is midnight Pacific Standard Time (PST) on Friday, January 11, 2019.  Letters of recommendation for up to two references are due by midnight Pacific Standard Time (PST) on Friday, January 18, 2019.  Notification of acceptance will occur in mid- to late-February. 

*Students are strongly encouraged to submit their application before midnight Pacific Standard Time (PST) on the date of the application deadline to prevent inundating the application portal, which may result in a failure to upload.  The application and recommender portals close promptly at midnight Pacific Standard Time (PST).  Given the number of applications received and in fairness to other applicants, the program is unable to accept late materials.

Contact Us

If you have any additional questions about the Summer Undergraduate Research Program that are not addressed in Frequently Asked Questions, please send an email to: SURP@fredhutch.org.

Visit us on Facebook for updates from the Fred Hutch SURP and our alumni!

**Please note: SURP staff are unable to facilitate research internships for students outside of the 9-week summer program and will not accept unsolicited or late applications. To learn more about other internship programs, partnerships, and opportunities at the Fred Hutch, please visit our Internship Opportunities page 

About the Fred Hutch

The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center is a world-renowned nonprofit research institution working to improve the prevention, detection, and treatment of cancer, HIV, and many other diseases.  To learn more about the Fred Hutch, visit our About Us page.

To view the story of professional baseball coach and player Fred Hutch and his brother Bill, a medical doctor and cancer researcher who founded the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, click here.

The Summer Undergraduate Research Program is supported in part by the Cancer Center Support Grant (CCSG) CURE Supplement: 3 P30 CA015704-41S1, U54 CA132381 (Fred Hutch) and U54 CA132383 (NMSU).