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Student FAQs

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Answers to some of the most frequently asked questions from students about our Summer research program.

Am I eligible? From VPUE

What do I write and say when contacting potential mentors?

Check out this SESUR list of suggestions, in addition to these suggestions from VPUE.  Faculty and other mentors (graduate students and postdoctoral fellows who have a project here are expecting to hear from you.  Send an email message with everyone on the project and set up a time to talk next week.

Can I take a class during the summer in addition to doing research?


Can I do fieldwork or interview people?

Fieldwork is allowed in SESUR.  All travel and any fieldwork off-campus must comply with the University’s Travel Policy

If your work involves interviews or other research involving people, you may need to be approved to work with Human Subjects.  Talk with your mentors about this.  You should include this in your proposal.

How does housing work?

You will apply for summer housing through Stanford for 10 weeks. This is your responsibility.  Your housing is independent from SESUR.

How do I get paid? What about taxes?

We highly suggest you set up direct deposit so the funds are directly transferred to your bank account.  Please do this or you will be sorry.  At least one student every year doesn't set it up and can't find their stipend which is a lot of money! Checks are sent to your address on file and too many times end up in locked PO boxes that you can't get to if you are off-campus. The payment is subject to tax and will be reported on your 1098T form. To learn more about taxes and tax forms, read this from the student financial services.

Can you tell me more about the time commitment/expectation?

SESUR is a 10 week program.  You will be expected to work full time - about 40 hours per week - during that time period.  

What if there are other costs for my research?

You should talk to your faculty advisor about costs for supplies and unusual travel expenses. 

What if the research preparation course SUSTAIN 100 conflicts with other courses that I want to take in Spring term?

You are required to take SUSTAIN 100, ESS 108, or an independent study course (1 unit, pass/no credit, EarthSYS 297) with Jennifer Saltzman.

What are the rules about funding from VPUE (the primary funding source for SESUR)?


  • I understand that I must be a current undergrad in good standing at Stanford.
  • I understand that I must be enrolled in units while using VPUE grant funding, except during the Summer. 
  • I understand that I may not receive both academic units and a stipend for any single project activity.
  • I understand that if I am a co-term that has not conferred their undergraduate degree, I am only eligible for these funds if I am still paying undergraduate (not graduate) tuition. 
  • I understand that I am not eligible for funding if I am serving a suspension.
  • I understand that I am not eligible for funding if I am taking while on a  Leave of Absence (LOA). 

For Full-Time Projects

  • I understand that if I am the recipient of a SESUR full-time stipend, I am committing to 35+ hours/week for 10 consecutive weeks unless otherwise agreed upon by my mentor(s) or program coordinator(s).
  • I understand that if I am the recipient of a SESUR full-time stipend, I am not permitted to engage in another full-time internship, job, or volunteer opportunity (whether funded by Stanford or otherwise), unless my faculty mentor(s) or program coordinator(s) have approved these arrangements.
    • I also understand that if I concurrently participate in another Stanford program, I should also abide by the funding and program policies of the sponsoring units/faculty/departments.
  • VPUE Undergraduate Research will verify your financial aid status through the Office of Financial Aid (FAO) to assess whether you may be eligible for a need-based supplement. I give permission to VPUE Undergraduate Research to verify my financial aid status.

All students who are being supported with VPUE funds (and non-VPUE funds administered through VPUE programs) are now required to complete a Student Contract and Waiver prior to receiving funding.