Summer Undergraduate Research Program

The Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP) is an intensive, nine-week internship for undergraduates entering the summer before their final year, semester, or quarter of study. It's designed to provide research experience and mentorship for students 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 2024 SURP application is now live! Applications are due by midnight (PST) Friday, January 5, 2024 and letters of recommendation are due by midnight (PST) Friday, January 12, 2024. 

The program runs from Monday, June 17 through Friday, August 16, 2024.  Students must be able to commit to this entire period in order to participate.

Please feel free to reach out to program staff at with any questions. 

If you are looking for an alternate summer program, please check out our Catalog of Biomedical Research Internships

Areas of Research

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

  • Basic Sciences
    Structural, genetic, molecular, cellular, developmental and evolutionary biology.
  • Human Biology
    Interdisciplinary research; lab-based and computational research in basic, clinical and population sciences.
  • Public Health Sciences
    Large populations serve 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
    Development and analysis of new treatments for cancers and other diseases.
  • Vaccine and Infectious Disease
    Computational, laboratory and clinical research methods advance the understanding of microbial pathogenesis and infectious disease processes.

Learn more about the specific research interests of Fred Hutch faculty.

Program Components

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

Workshops include:

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

Activities Designed to Foster Interaction

The SURP program includes activities designed to foster interaction among interns and their mentors. Past activities include:

  • Attending a Mariners game or Sounders match
  • Riding the Seattle Great Wheel
  • Touring the Theo Chocolate Factory
  • Taking a ferry to scenic Bainbridge Island
  • Hiking the trails on Mount Rainier

Eligibility Requirements

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

Please carefully review the FAQs 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 prior to submitting your application.

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.

Compensation, Travel, Housing and Local Transportation

Interns will receive $5,085 (minus taxes) for participating in the program.

The SURP provides roundtrip travel (up to $450) to and from Seattle. Travel arrangements will be coordinated by program staff unless otherwise requested. If the cost of airfare is less than $450, interns may also request reimbursement for the cost of luggage fees and/or ground transportation to and from the airport. Interns who drive to Seattle are eligible for mileage reimbursement, up to $450.

Interns are responsible for their housing, meals, and local transportation costs. Housing is available at the University of Washington’s Stevens Court for approximately $3,000* for the duration of the program. Housing applications for Stevens Court will be available 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 also welcome to make their own housing arrangements.

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

The Summer Undergraduate Research Program is supported in part by the Cancer Center Support Grant (CCSG) CURE Supplement: 3 P30 CA015704-44S1, U54 CA132381 (Fred Hutch) and U54 CA132383 (NMSU).

* Estimate based on 2023 price

How to Apply

The 2024 SURP application is now live! Apply here today! Applications are due by midnight (PST) Friday, January 5, 2024 and letters of recommendation are due by midnight (PST) Friday, January 12, 2024

The application consists of:

  • A one-page Statement of Research Interests and Career Goals outlining the applicant’s scientific background, current research interests and how participation in the SURP will advance academic and career aspirations
  • Transcripts
  • Up to two letters of recommendation
  • Identifying up to three faculty members the applicant would like to work with, and a short description of why their research is of interest

We recommend applicants start by reviewing the Recent Interns page to help identify faculty whose research is of interest. However, all Fred Hutch faculty are potential mentors. If applicants have a general sense for the type of research that interests them, the Faculty & Labs page can help determine the faculty within that scientific area of interest.

We encourage applicants to review our "Tips for Submitting a Quality Application" below.

We encourage students to submit their application before the deadline. An abundance of last-minute submissions can overwhelm the application portal, which may result in upload failure. The same suggestion applies to uploading letters of recommendation. We are unable to accept any late submissions.

Tips for Submitting a Quality Application

The SURP is a highly competitive program. While adhering to the following recommendations does not guarantee acceptance into the program, it does improve your chances of creating a successful application.

To increase the likelihood of securing summer research experience, we encourage applicants to apply to a minimum of 5–8 internship programs.

Give Yourself Adequate Time to Complete the Application


Responses to open-ended questions should have a thoughtful, detailed response that shows the applicant:

  • Is interested in gaining research experience in a specific area, e.g. molecular or cellular biology, public health, etc.
  • Is concerned about a particular technology or methodology, e.g., cell culture, structural analyses, flow cytometry or specific biological model system, e.g., C. elegans or Drosophila
  • Has reviewed Hutch Faculty and Labs to learn more about their specific research interests

Proofread Application Materials


Students should thoroughly review their responses and supporting materials for accuracy and completeness before submitting their application. Given the number of applications received and in fairness to other applicants, the program is unable to accept late or revised materials.

Ask Friends, Professors, or Faculty Advisors to Review Your Statement of Research Interests and Career Goals


When preparing this document, consider the following key points:

  • What are your research interests and career goals? 
  • Why are you applying to the SURP at Fred Hutch?
  • What prior research experience do you have?
  • If you don’t have prior research experience, what position of responsibility prepared you for this program?
  • How will this opportunity further your academic and career goals?

Request Informative Recommendations


An informative recommendation should come from someone who can highlight your relevant strengths, your quality as a student compared to other students, your achievements; and how this program will further your academic and/or career goals.

When requesting a recommendation:

  • Choose your references wisely. Recommendations from individuals in a department or field similar to the program for which you are applying are viewed more favorably than recommendation letters from an individual in a non-related field.
  • Give your references at least two weeks to submit a recommendation on your behalf. We do NOT accept late application materials or recommendations. If you ask your recommender just a few days before the deadline, they may not have time to submit a recommendation and your application will be incomplete.
  • Make your request for a recommendation in writing or email, as well as in person. Give your references a copy of your resume and/or the following information:
  1. The name of the program and a brief description of what it entails (a link to the website can be helpful)
  2. The name of the host institution
  3. A brief description of how the program fits in with your goals
  4. A brief description of what you will contribute to the program and how you will benefit from participating
  5. The due date for the recommendation, to whom it should be addressed and how the letter should be submitted.
  • Send your reference a friendly reminder, preferably one week prior to the application deadline. Confirm they submitted the recommendation.
  • Finish up by sending your reference(s) a handwritten note of thanks.

Not the Right Fit? Explore Our Other Internships and Programs

Fred Hutch campus

Contact SURP

If you have questions about the SURP that are not addressed in our FAQs, please contact us. 

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.