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Stanford Earth Summer Undergraduate Research Program

To learn more about the Stanford Earth Summer Undergraduate Research (SESUR) Program:

  • Attend an info session to ask questions and talk to former program participants! There will be two sessions: Wednesday Nov 29 at 12:30 and Wednesday Jan 17 at 12:30 in the Mitchell Bldg, room B04)  (download the 2018 presentation here)
  • Download the SESUR Flyer for Summer 2018.pdf.
  • Watch a video about the program. 

Click here to view a list of projects proposed by faculty in the School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences looking for summer undergraduate researchers. Remember, you are NOT limited to only the posted projects. We encourage you to reach out directly to faculty if you are interested in their research. 

The School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences will be offering approximately 24 Stanford students stipends of up to $7,000 to conduct research over the summer of 2018. Funding priority goes to current and prospective students in any of the departments and programs within the School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences who have not yet received departmental funding. We are primarily interested in funding freshmen and sophomores, though juniors and seniors in their first research experience will be considered. Co-terms are unlikely to get funded. Students who wish to conduct Honors research should apply for a Major Grant directly from Undergraduate Advising and Research

Students may apply to work with any faculty member in the School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences, which includes the departments of Energy Resources Engineering, Earth System Science, Geophysics, and Geological Sciences. Faculty in the Earth Systems Program who have an appointment in the School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences are also eligible to serve as advisors. You can browse through Potential Projects, or browse all faculty and their research interests. If you are interested in working with someone you see there, you can contact him or her directly.

How to Apply

In order to apply, you will fill out the online application form (look for the link on the right side menu above). The form will ask you some basic questions, and prompt you to upload your project proposal. The deadline for submission is 5:00 pm on Friday, February 23, 2018. You will develop the project proposal with a faculty member (and likely a graduate student or post doc as well) who will act as your advisor(s). Your proposed faculty research advisor must approve your application: once you submit it online, s/he will receive an email notification asking for approval.

The first page of the proposal must use this template for the Front Page of the SESUR Proposal.docx.  You must upload the pdf proposal file with the naming convention of  yourlastname-facultylastname-SESUR-2018.pdf 

Office Hours

Jenny is holding office hours to help with the proposal writing. In the Undergraduate Lounge in Geocorner room 114 (Building 320-Braun). Stop by with any questions about SESUR. OR call or email Jenny!

  • Monday Feb 12 at 1-3 pm
  • Thursday Feb 15 at 2-4 pm
  • Tuesday Feb 20 at 2-4 pm

The proposal

Your proposal should not exceed 6 pages total, and must include:

  • Basic information: Page 1 must be the information on the template - Front Page of the SESUR Proposal.docx.
  • A description of the proposed project: This section should comprise the bulk of your proposal. What is the broad question you will be addressing? Why is it a significant or important question? How exactly will you address it? What are the objectives of the research? What methods will you use?
  • A tentative work plan: When will you do the work you’ve proposed? When do you plan to be in the field? If you need to collect/prepare samples for lab analysis, when will you work in the lab? This section should not be written in paragraph form - a bulleted list or table is preferred.
  • A tentative budget: Please format this as a table. The maximum allowable stipend is $7,000, which breaks down to $700 per 40-hour week for 10 weeks (you may apply for any portion thereof). In addition, you may request up to $500 in laboratory analysis, equipment, travel costs or other expenses. The total budget may not exceed $7,500. Please ask for advice on how to do this if you have any questions.
  • Not in the proposal, yet mentors will be asked for one paragraph on whether, and if so, how the proposed research integrates with their own projects and if so what will be the separate intellectural property of the SESUR student. 

Reviewing the examples of past successful proposals, provided below, may prove useful for helping you think about how to construct your own proposal.  The budget should reflect the payment of $700 per week (old rate was $650 per week).

Proposals are due by 5:00 pm, Friday, February 23, 2018 . You and your advisor will be notified of funding prior to spring break.

If you are accepted…

Students who participate in the 2018 Summer Undergraduate Research Program are required to:

  • Enroll in EARTH 100: Research Preparation (1 unit) during spring quarter. The course includes several activities to help you create a successful summer research experience.
  • Attend a weekly lunch seminar series during the summer (when on campus), which will include lectures by faculty and workshops on poster-making and oral presentations.
  • Participate in a research symposium with a poster or oral presentaiont in the fall at  SURPS  and the Stanford Earth Undergraduate Research Symposium or spring quarter  at ASURPS and the Stanford Earth Research Review.
  • Complete program evaluations at the mid-point and end of your research.


For additional information, please contact Jenny Saltzman.