Student Undergraduate Research Fellows (SURFers) belong to a Learning Community built around curiosity, inquiry, creativity, and discovery. SURFers are an extraordinary, hand-picked, interdisciplinary collection of first-year students who are curious and creative. Are you a SURFer?

The touchstone of the SURF community for 2017-2018 is Santa Rosa Island. Throughout the year, SURFers visit CI’s Santa Rosa Island Research Station twice. Spending time on the Island with course faculty presents an opportunity to put classroom knowledge to work in the field.

First-year students of any major are eligible for SURF. Learn more about the value of learning communities here.

Benefits of SURFing

  • Join a community of like-minded students, and develop life-long friendships
  • Small courses that emphasize collaborative, hands-on, active learning
  • Courses taught by some of CI’s most dynamic and experienced faculty
  • Course-embedded peer mentors
  • Priority housing assignment for those living on campus
  • Multiple retreats at CI’s Santa Rosa Island Research Station
  • Present original research at conferences and begin building your résumé
  • Prepare yourself for additional research opportunities
  • Work closely with faculty throughout the year
  • CI’s first SURFers.
  • CI’s first SURFers (2015-2016).
  • Be better prepared succeed in your major
    …all this and you fulfill general education requirements along the way!

Common Courses

Students enroll together in 3 courses each semester. SURF lasts the full academic year. Research Ambassador peer mentor is embedded in the community and works with the Resident Assistant to promote the transition to University life for the SURF students living on campus.

  • For Fall semester, 9 units: UNIV 198 Introduction to Interdisciplinary Research, ENGL 102 Stretch Composition I, and COMM 101 Public Speaking.
  • For Spring semester, 10 units: UNIV 150 First Year Seminar, ENGL 103 Stretch Composition II, and POLS 150 American Government.

The courses included in SURF satisfies GE Areas A1 (Oral Communication) and A3 (Critical Thinking); the Spring Course block satisfies A2 (Written Communication) and C3b (Multicultural or E (Human Psychological and Physiological Perspectives) as well as the Title V American Institutions Graduation Requirement.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is eligible?

The SURF Learning Community is limited to 25students. Students must complete an application and be chosen by a faculty committee.

Do I have to be in a particular major to participate?

No. SURF is open to students of any major, and students who are yet to declare a major.

How are SURFers selected?

We select students who will enhance the learning community by demonstrating a high level of intellectual curiosity and willingness to be creative. A faculty committee selects SURFers based on their meeting baseline academic requirements, their interests, and a short essay.

I have AP credit that substitutes for one of the SURF courses. Can I be exempt from that course?

No. SURF courses are designed to be taken together. You can still use your AP credit to fulfill graduation requirements, consistent with university policies. Please check with an advisor to determine what your options are.

What is the value of a Living-Learning Community?

Learning Communities are considered High Impact Practices (HIPs). HIPs – including Learning Communities and Student Research – are shown to improve social integration and academic success (persistence and graduation). The value of Learning Communities is amplified for first-generation college students and students from traditionally under-represented populations.

Do I have to take part in all of the SURF activities?

Yes. The courses and extra-curricular activities are the heart of the SURF LLC.

Will this slow my time to graduation?

No. Each course fulfills a General Education or Major requirement.

Is there an additional cost?

No, there are no additional fees associated with the SURF Living-Learning Community.

Who will I learn from?

SURF courses are taught by some of CI’s most dynamic and experienced faculty.