Summer Undergraduate Research Program

The MUSC Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP) is a 10-week research and educational based program run by the College of Graduate Studies on the campus of the Medical University of South Carolina. The purpose of the SURP is to promote access to graduate education and to enhance specific skills that are required for success in a subsequent M.S., Ph.D. or M.D./Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences. MUSC offers this valuable opportunity to academically talented and motivated students who confirm a strong interest in graduate and/or doctoral studies.

Important Features

Trainees accepted to the MUSC SURP are matched with a graduate faculty mentor whose research focus is as close to the trainees’ interests as possible. However, our primary goal is to provide you with a research experience in an area of the biomedical sciences that will not only give you a broad view into the world of a researcher, but also enhance your scientific perspective and provide you with important “hands on” experience beyond what you receive in your undergraduate curriculum. In addition to working with a faculty mentor, our trainees are supported by a research team. This team may consist of graduate students, post docs, medical students, research scientists and other undergraduate or high school students.

As an MUSC SURP trainee you are enrolled in the course CGS 761 “Laboratory Observation and Apprenticeship” and will receive 15 credit hours on an MUSC transcript after successfully completing the SURP program. Students returning for a second summer receive 10 credit hours.

Professional Development

After several weeks of getting acclimated to the laboratory’s routine and equipment, SURP trainees are guided toward development of an independent research project. Additionally, the SURP trainee will participate in a variety of professional development activities such as:

  • Responsible Conduct of Research - a 1-week course in Research Ethics
  • Select group of Core and Specialized lectures
  • Journey Club meetings and seminars that may be encouraged by their labs
  • The Big Brother/Sister program – Each SURP is paired with a graduate student who will provide first-hand information about MUSC’s Graduate Programs
  • Scientific Writing – Trainees prepare a report about their projects written in the form of a scientific journal article.
  • SURP Colloquia – a one-day conference during which student trainees present their final projects to their peers, mentors, and research team.

Social Events & Sense of Community

SURP participants are encouraged to build both social and academic networks with one another and with members of the university community. Participants are encouraged to organize and coordinate activities with their peers during off-hours, and the College of Graduate Studies will offer planned activities and events for all SURP participants. One of the social events is a cruise around the Charleston Harbor.

Financial Support & Housing

  • SURP participants will receive a living allowance of $400/week for a total of $4000 to help pay for expenses while participating in the SURP. (Please note: this living allowance is not tax-free and taxes will be deducted if required.)
  • Students accepted into the program that reside outside of the greater Charleston Area, convenient housing will be offered at 930 North Morrison St. You can review this housing at:

    Floor plans offered to our SURP program are 4 bedroom suites. Each student has their own bedroom and the common areas are shared by their suitemates.

The estimated housing costs are approximately $2,500 for the 10 weeks; many students taking advantage of this housing will receive a housing allowance of $1,000.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicants must be:

  • Enrolled full time and in good standing in an accredited baccalaureate program at the time of application
  • Must be able to complete the entire 10 weeks of the program. (May 24th – July 31st)
  • Prior research experience and a GPA of 3.2 or higher are preferred (minimum GPA of 3.0 is required)
  • Priority is given to rising juniors and seniors with a strong interest in pursuing graduate studies

Research Interests

The core of the summer experience is an individual investigative research project conducted in the laboratory of a faculty member. Applicants will be asked to choose three areas of particular interest from the list below; every effort will be made to match SURP participants with a laboratory whose work is focused in one of the priority areas.

  • Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
  • Biostatistics & Epidemiology
  • Cancer Biology
  • Cardiovascular Biology
  • Cell & Molecular Pharmacology & Experimental Therapeutics
  • Cell Regulation and Signal Transduction
  • Drug Discovery and Biomedical Sciences
  • Genetics and Genomics
  • Microbiology & Immunology
  • Neuroscience and Addiction Research
  • Oral Health Sciences
  • Pathology & Laboratory Medicine
  • Regenerative Medicine & Cell Biology

How to Apply

Application materials for the Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP) include:

Applications are not currently being accepted.

The application includes demographic information. You must provide all information in this area, including phone numbers and two separate e-mail addresses. You will also write a 500 word personal statement that answers the following:

  • Why you are applying to the MUSC Summer Undergraduate Research Program
  • Your career goals
  • Any past experiences that have led to your interest in research
  • Research experience
  • Additional information why you should be selected for the program

***This statement will be evaluated closely in our selection process

  • Two academic letters of recommendation from faculty at your current school who are familiar with your science coursework are required. These letters must be written on the school’s letterhead and signed by the faculty recommender. You will be required to provide the names and e-mail addresses of two (2) faculty who will write your recommendation letters at the time you submit your online application. A link will be sent to the recommender to attach their letter.

**It is your responsibility to follow up with your faculty recommender; we do not let applicants know if letters are received.

  • Official transcript of all college work (from each institution attended). Only official transcripts are accepted. MUSC SURP does not accept unsealed (opened) transcripts. If you send an unofficial transcript your application will be considered incomplete and you will not be considered for review.

Transcripts can be sent electronically from your registrar’s office. If your school does not offer electronic transcript submissions, please send your official transcript via regular mail, express mail, or FedEx: transcripts must be received by the application deadline

  • E-mailed transcripts must be sent by your registrar’s office to:
  • Mailed transcripts must be in a sealed envelope with the registrar’s stamp or signature across the back of the sealed envelope.

Mail transcripts to:

Ms. Carla R. Gadson, M.Ed
Director of MUSC Summer Programs
68 President St MSC 501
Charleston, SC 29425

After all notices of acceptance are made, applicants will be required to submit additional information. A packet of forms will be e-mailed to you and must be completed and returned upon receipt. You will be required to agree to a criminal background check and a drug screen test in accordance with the offices of MUSC HR and Risk Management. Failure to pass these will result in an automatic rescinding of your acceptance into the MUSC SURP program.