The Carolina Summer Research Fellows (CSRFs) program provides a small group of incoming first-year students the opportunity to have $5,000 for a summer research project of their own design. Upon approval of their research proposal—a process that follows the same one as the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program—they will receive an award of $5,000 to pursue that research project.

Frequently Asked Questions

I accepted my Carolina Summer Research Fellowship (CSRF) offer. What should I do now?

Please register for the Carolina Research Scholar Program (CRSP). Although CRSP participation is not a requirement for the Carolina Summer Research Fellows, we strongly encourage it. The CRSP program serves as a framework to guide you in navigating the process of designing and pursuing mentored research, scholarship or creative performance, and communicating your discoveries and findings to the larger community. The “Carolina Research Scholar” transcript designation is also a way for us to recognize your contributions to UNC’s intellectual and cultural climate. Registering for the program is important as it adds you to the CRSP listserv which we use to communicate important information about deadlines and opportunities for CRSP participants. You’ll need your onyen and PID to register.

Complete the “Research Path Questions” form:
Please also complete the form entitled “Research Path Questions.” You’ll need your onyen to access this form. The form asks you to reflect on possible research interests and activities. Consider this an exploratory opportunity—we know you’re just getting started and the ideas you share on the form do not commit you to any particular topic or action. This just gives us a sense of what you’re thinking about now. We’ll use this information to match you with an OUR Ambassador in your broad field of interest.

The OUR Ambassadors are undergraduate researchers from many different academic disciplines. They’ve served as hosts for our Celebration of Undergraduate Research, organized information sessions, and worked with individual students to provide advice about undergraduate research. The Ambassadors are eager to get to know you as you embark on your college career and to provide information and perspectives about undergraduate research. Once we’ve matched you up with an Ambassador, you’ll be able to talk with her/him via email over the summer and you’ll meet the Ambassadors in person at a special fall meet and greet.

CSRFs will also have a unique opportunity this fall to meet with our Distinguished Professors in Research and Undergraduate Education. These Distinguished Professors are faculty who make outstanding contributions to undergraduate education and help to foster a culture of undergraduate research on our campus. They will be of great assistance as you begin to plan your own research project(s).

Enroll in IDST 195: Modes of Inquiry:
We encourage you to consider enrolling in IDST 195: Modes of Inquiry. In this 1-credit course, offered on a pass/fail basis, you’ll hear renowned Carolina faculty describe their path to research and discuss what they find compelling about their topics and processes. This is a very interactive course which provides an opportunity for you to engage in dialogue and conversation with faculty who are passionate about their research journey. This course also fulfills one of the requirements of CRSP.

Connect to OUR Social Media:
You can stay informed about undergraduate research activities at OUR in several ways. You can sign up for the OURinfo listserv (through which you’ll receive the OUR e-newsletter) and read the OUR Blog to learn about different undergraduate research projects, read advice from faculty and get a sense of the range of experiences that are available to you. You can also like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

Will any research project be acceptable?

Projects in any discipline and on any research topic are acceptable. But not just any project will be approved. Your research project must be approved by the SURF Selection Committee. For guidance on what an acceptable project would be, please refer to the SURF rubric (pdf). CSRF proposals that are categorized at Level 1 will receive funding.

Will I be eligible for a normal SURF or an Honors SURF after this program?

No. All UNC undergraduates are only eligible to receive one SURF, Honors SURF, or CSRF during their undergraduate career.

How is this similar to SURF?

The submission process, selection criteria, and reporting requirements are all the same. Please refer to the SURF page for more information about these aspects of the program.

How is this different from SURF?

OUR staff and the Distinguished Professors in Research and Undergraduate Education will meet with CSRFs during their first year at UNC to help them start on the path to submitting a great research proposal. At these meetings, topics of discussion will include finding mentors, taking research-oriented classes, and narrowing your interests. Also, an approved CSRF proposal will receive an award of $5,000, while regular SURFs receive $3,000.

What happens if my research proposal isn't approved?

If your proposal is not approved, you will be encouraged to submit a revised proposal for the following summer.