Job position at National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, Maryland or Boulder, Colorado. Deadline is on

Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships

Physics, Mathematics, Computer Science, Chemistry, Engineering

Job summary
Welcome, and thank you for your interest in the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)! Since 1993, SURF students from across the country have gained valuable, hands-on experience by working with cutting-edge technology in one of the world's leading research organizations and home to three Nobel Prize winners.

NIST is one of the nation's premiere research institutions for the physical and engineering sciences. As the lead Federal agency for technology transfer, it provides an essential interface between government, industry, and academia. As an organization, NIST is the embodiment of a scientific community; developed from a large and well-equipped research staff that enthusiastically blends programs addressing the immediate needs of industry with long-term research that anticipates future needs. This rare setting enables NIST laboratories to offer unique research and training opportunities for undergraduates, providing them with a research-rich environment and exposure to state-of-the-art equipment.

The NIST SURF program sponsors an 11-week summer internship program for undergraduate students enrolled at U.S. 2-year and 4-year institutions majoring in chemistry, computer science, engineering, materials science, fire research, nanotechnology, information technology, mathematics, biology, manufacturing, statistics, or other STEM disciplines. Designed to inspire undergraduate students to pursue careers in STEM through a unique research experience that supports the NIST mission, the program provides students with hands-on research experience under the mentorship of a NIST scientist or engineer in Boulder, CO, or Gaithersburg, MD. Students can work on projects in any of the NIST facilities listed below:
  • Communications Technology Laboratory
  • Engineering Laboratory
  • Information Technology Laboratory
  • Material Measurement Laboratory 
  • NIST Center for Neutron Research (administered jointly with the Material Measurement Laboratory)
  • Physical Measurement Laboratory

Additionally, special projects may be available through offices such as NIST's Special Programs Office, Technology Partnerships Office, and Standards Coordination Office.

View the 2019 Student Abstract Book to see examples of past SURF student projects and explore the breadth of the SURF program.


The program is open to U.S. citizens and U.S. permanent residents. Applicants must provide proof in their applications. A Certified Birth Certificate, U.S. Passport, U.S. Passport Card, Naturalization Certificate, Certificate of Citizenship, Consular Report of Birth (of U.S. citizen) Abroad, or Certification of Birth are acceptable forms of proof of U.S. citizenship. An unexpired green card is acceptable proof of U.S. permanent residency.
Social security cards and driver's licenses do not meet the requirements for proof of U.S. citizenship.

The program is open to current full-time undergraduate (first-year, sophomore, junior, or senior) degree-seeking students enrolled at accredited 2-year or 4-year colleges or universities in the U.S. or U.S. territories. First-year and seniors participating in spring commencement before the start of the program are eligible.
Transcript: Applicants must provide college transcripts to verify proof of enrollment. Unofficial transcripts are acceptable. The transcript must show the applicant's name, the university's name(s), all courses completed, and cumulative GPA.

Academic Standing: Applicants must have at least a 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale.

Majors Preferred: Students majoring in STEM disciplines, including but not limited to biochemistry, biology, biophysics, chemistry, computer science, engineering, materials science, mathematics, nanoscale science, neutron research, physics, and statistics, are encouraged to apply. There may be research opportunities for students with other majors.


  • The typical stipend is $6600 for an 11-week appointment, equivalent to $600 per week.
  • SURF participants work 40 hours per week, Monday through Friday.
  • Limited financial assistance for housing (up to $4500), travel (up to $500), and commuting (varies) is available for in-person fellowships.  
  • Students arrange their housing. The program plans to share a list of affordable housing options in an email to accepted students.
  • Virtual SURF participants do not receive financial support for housing, travel, or commuting expenses.
  • Payments will be disbursed electronically by NIST to participants. All participants are required to provide NIST with direct deposit information.
Tip: To strengthen your application consider posting a video-summary of your most exciting research.