FAQ

Please select any of these frequently asked questions for more information. 
  
General Program Questions
What is the IM-SURE program?
How long is the program?
If I have questions or comments about the program, who should I contact?
  
Eligibility
Who is eligible to apply to the IM-SURE program?
Do I need to have prior research experience to apply?
Is there a minimum GPA to apply to the program?
  
Application
How do I apply for the IM-SURE program and what are the deadlines?
How do I write the Personal Statement?
How do I choose my research project?
Can I work on more than one research project?
What is an official transcript and how do I submit it?
Who should write my letters of recommendation and what should they include?
How do I submit my letters of recommendation?
How do I change my recommenders after I’ve submitted my application?
How do I submit proof of my U.S. citizenship or permanent residency?
How do I submit proof of my health insurance? 
  
Program Acceptance and Preparation
When will I know the status of my application?
What happens after I get accepted to the program?
When will I receive my stipend? 
How will I arrange my housing?
How will I arrange transportation to the UCI campus?
What should I bring if I’m accepted to the program? 
Would you pay for me to go back home in the middle of the program? 
Do I have to participate in all 10 weeks of the IM-SURE program?
  
Student Life
What type of house will I be living in?
What is UCI and the city of Irvine like?
Can I enroll in summer classes if I am accepted to the program?
  
Program Components
What is a normal day in the IM-SURE program?
How do I work with my faculty mentor? 
Will I have the chance to develop my communication skills?
Will I learn about career and graduate school options in this field?
  
After the Program
How will I continue my research after the program ends?
After the program ends, how will I request travel funding to present at undergraduate research conferences?
  
  
General Program Questions
  
What is the IM-SURE program?
The Integrated Micro/Nano Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (IM-SURE) at the University of California, Irvine (UCI), provides a unique 10-week opportunity for undergraduates to become fully immersed in cutting-edge micro/nano research. Participants have the opportunity to choose from a variety of challenging and original research projects that explore a diverse and exciting range of topics in biomedical, physical and engineering micro/nano-technology. 
  
How long is the program?
The program lasts for 10 weeks during the summer. All participants must be available to attend the full 10 weeks of the program. 
  
If I have questions or comments about the program, who should I contact?
We welcome any questions or feedback about the program. Please select the “Contact Us” section of this site, and complete the form. A program administrator will follow up with you to address your inquiry. More specific program related questions or suggestions should be addressed to Said M. Shokair, Managing Director. 
  
  
Eligibility 
   
Who is eligible to apply to the IM-SURE program? 
Applicants must be non-graduating undergraduates from any university or community college with Junior or Senior standing obtained by the beginning of the IM-SURE program. Applicants should also be highly motivated, high-achieving science and engineering majors wanting to pursue research and careers in the fields of biomedical, physical, and engineering micro/nano-sciences. All applicants must be attending a four-year university after the conclusion of the program, and must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents. All participants in the program must also be able to show proof of valid health insurance for the duration of the program. This program is committed to promoting diversity within the fields of science and engineering. Women, underrepresented minorities, and individuals from economically and socially disadvantaged backgrounds are especially encouraged to apply. 
  
Do I need to have prior research experience to apply?
No, you do not need to have prior research experience. This can be your first experience conducting research. 
  
Is there a minimum GPA to apply to the program?
There is no minimum GPA to apply. However, all applicants should be in good academic standing and should be able to demonstrate high levels of academic achievement. 
  
  
Application
  
How do I apply for the IM-SURE program and what are the deadlines?
The IM-SURE application should be submitted online. The online application guides you through completing a personal profile, uploading a personal statement, selecting and ranking the projects you are most interested in, and registering two individuals who will submit letters of recommendation on your behalf. This information must be completed by the Application Deadline.  After submitting your online application, you are required to forward additional documents in support of your application, including transcripts, and verification of your U.S. citizenship or permanent residency. Individuals providing letters of recommendation on your behalf have the option of submitting these letters online or mailing an original letter. These supplemental materials (transcripts, verification of U.S. citizenship or permanent residency, proof of health insurance, and letters of recommendation) must be received by the Supplemental Document Deadline. To be considered for the program, all materials must be received by the posted deadlines. 
  
How do I write the Personal Statement?
As you are completing your online application, you are asked to upload a personal statement in a PC Word or PDF format. The personal statement is an important component of the application, and tells us who you are, why you want to pursue this research, and what impact you expect this experience to have on your future career. The personal statement should elaborate on the IM-SURE research projects that you have selected, why they were chosen, your experience relevant to the projects, and how the projects will help you meet your long-term education and career goals. You may include any other relevant experience or related coursework that you feel has helped prepare you for this program. The appropriate length for your personal statement is approximately 2-3 pages, double-spaced. 
  
How do I choose my research project?
As you are completing the online application, you are asked to select and rank five projects that interest you the most. To help you choose your top five projects, you should read the overviews of all available projects, along with information on related faculty, facilities, prerequisites and publications. If you are accepted to the program, every effort will be made for selected participants to work on one project within their five choices. 
  
Can I work on more than one research project?
No. Your time will be spent immersed in one project over the duration of the program. However, once in the program, you will be able to learn about other projects by interacting with other students and listening to their presentations and discussions in seminars and the Research Symposium.
  
What is an official transcript and how do I submit it?
An official transcript is a certified copy coming directly from your school’s Registrar. You should contact your Registrar and provide them with the mailing address to forward the official transcript on your behalf. You should request your transcript at least two weeks in advance to allow sufficient time for processing and mailing. Transcripts should be mailed to the IM-SURE Program address
  
You must submit transcripts for all colleges and universities that you have attended, and they should include course grades for the prior year’s fall term. Your transcript must be received no later than the Supplemental Document Deadline. No positions will be offered to an applicant unless all supporting documents are received.
  
Who should write my letters of recommendation and what should they include?
You must provide two letters of recommendation. Each letter should be written by someone who has closely interacted with you and can effectively comment on your academic performance, research abilities, relevant skills, ability to collaborate with a team, and preparation for this program. Letters of recommendation should ideally come from professors who have worked with you as a research supervisor, academic advisor, or course instructor. You should choose your recommenders at least one month prior to submitting your application so that you can discuss the program in detail and give them time to prepare information on your behalf.
  
How do I submit my letters of recommendation? 
Your letters of recommendation come directly from the individuals writing the letter on your behalf. As you are completing your online application, you are asked to identify two individuals who will submit letters of recommendation on your behalf, including their titles and e-mail addresses. After submitting your application, an e-mail will be sent to your recommenders, asking them to complete an online recommendation form. Your recommenders have the option of uploading a PC Word or PDF version of the letter of recommendation online or mailing an original hard copy. If your recommenders prefer to mail your letters of recommendation, rather than submit them online, they should mail the letters directly to the IM-SURE Program address.  
  
Your letters of recommendation must be received no later than the Supplemental Document Deadline. You are responsible for making sure your recommenders are aware of this requirement. An application is considered incomplete if the letters of recommendation are missing. 
  
How do I change my recommenders after I’ve submitted my application?
After you submit your application, you receive an e-mail confirming receipt of your submission. This e-mail includes a link and a code, allowing you to access and change your application information. You can change your recommenders by accessing your application and registering new individuals to send letters of recommendations on your behalf. An e-mail is generated to the new recommender, asking them to submit their letter of recommendation online or mail to the IM-SURE Program address by the Supplemental Document Deadline
  
How do I submit proof of my U.S. citizenship or permanent residency?
After submitting your online application, you are required to submit proof of your U.S. citizenship or permanent residency. You may provide a copy of your U.S. birth certificate, naturalization certificate, or a copy of your green card. Proof of U.S. citizenship or permanent residency must be received by the Supplemental Document Deadline. Proof of your U.S. citizenship or permanent residency should be mailed to the IM-SURE Program address.
  
How do I submit proof of my health insurance?
After submitting your online application, you are required to submit proof of your health insurance enrollment. Your health insurance must cover you for the full duration of the IM-SURE program. Please provide a copy of your valid health insurance card. This must be received by the Supplemental Document Deadline. Proof of health insurance should be mailed to the IM-SURE Program address.
  
  
Program Acceptance and Preparation
  
When will I know the status of my application?
Notifications begin in mid-March and be conducted no later than the end of May. All applicants will be notified whether they have been accepted to the program. 
  
What happens after I get accepted to the program?
After being accepted as an IM-SURE Participant, UCI contacts you to coordinate your housing, transportation and stipend. Based on your interests, you are advised of the research project you will be working on. Your faculty mentor will contact you to further discuss the project, address any questions you may have, and recommend literature to prepare for your upcoming involvement.
  
When will I receive my stipend? 
You receive $2,000 at the beginning of the program. You are be awarded the remaining amount closer to end of program, upon meeting program requirements and based on your progress and your faculty mentor’s evaluation of your efforts. 
  
How will I arrange my housing?
Prior to the start of the program, UCI contacts you to help coordinate your housing. The IM-SURE program provides free housing to all participants. 
  
How will I arrange transportation to the UCI campus?
Prior to the start of the program, UCI contacts you to help coordinate your transportation. The IM-SURE program cover transportation costs to and from the program for all non-local students. 
  
What should I bring if I’m accepted to the program? 
Your house provides a bed, furniture, all major kitchen appliances, and allows for Internet access, including Web and E-mail. You need to bring sheets for your bed, and personal items you need for the 10 weeks of the program. Bring clothes for warm weather and something warmer for the cool evenings by the beach.
  
Would you pay for me to go back home in the middle of the program?
Leaving in the middle of the program is not recommended unless there is an emergency. No funds will be provided for you to leave before the end of the program. 
  
Do I have to participate in all 10 weeks of the IM-SURE program? 
If you are accepted to the IM-SURE program, you must be available to participate for the full 10 weeks of the program. Please review the program dates carefully to ensure your availability.
  
  
Student Life
  
What type of house will I be living in?
IM-SURE students receive free housing at Arroyo Vista, a unique on-campus housing facility. One house accommodates all 16 students in the program. Bedrooms are designed for double occupancy, and rooms are shared between two students of the same gender. Each room is fully furnished with a bed, desk, chair, bookshelf, wardrobe, and drawer space. Rooms also feature Ethernet connections, and allow for internet access, including Web and E-mail. The house is complete with all major kitchen appliances, a spacious living room with cable TV, a study room, and coin-operated laundry facilities. 
  
What is UCI and the city of Irvine like?
UC Irvine is in the heart of sunny Southern California, famous for its perpetually sunny and spring-like weather. UCI’s location offers students an unlimited number of local spots and activities to enjoy. The campus is five miles from the Pacific Ocean, and driving distance from local museums, sports venues, concert halls, zoos, and theme parks, including Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm, Sea World, Magic Mountain, and Wild Rivers. Beautiful Catalina Island is just offshore. The UCI campus encircles the 21-acre Aldrich Park, and the campus itself is a natural arboretum planted with trees and shrubs from all over the world. Ring Road, a mile in circumference walkway circling Aldrich Park, is the pedestrian thoroughfare that connects the classrooms, eateries, libraries, laboratories, and housing. The Ring also serves as the outdoor staging for a full calendar of cultural and social activities. Bike trails connect UCI to student housing and to the beach, and pedestrian bridges connect students to local movie theaters, restaurants, shops and businesses.
  
Can I enroll in summer classes if I am accepted to the program?
No, you may not enroll in summer classes. The IM-SURE program is a full time program that will require your complete involvement. 
  
  
Program Components
  
What is a normal day in the IM-SURE program?
A normal day starts at 8:00 and end at 5:30, with an hour break for lunch. Each day is unique, and may include a variety of activities such as seminars and workshops, tours and fieldtrips. You also have devoted research time with your faculty mentor, to be completely immersed in your research project. Social activities throughout the week give you a chance to get to know other students, faculty, and administrators, including Deans and the Vice Chancellor for Research. 
After 5:30, your time is free to explore on and around campus. Several planned weekend activities give you the chance to make the most of your experience in Southern California and with fellow IM-SURE students.
  
How do I work with my faculty mentor?
Your faculty mentor provides you with training and guidance on your research project. Your mentor also meets with you to discuss your progress, address questions, help you develop critical skills, and help you with questions regarding your graduate school, career, and research goals. 
  
Will I have the chance to develop my communication skills?
Yes. A series of workshops, along with guidance from your faculty mentors, help you develop your writing and presentation skills. You also have a chance to utilize these skills by developing and delivering formal presentations and papers on your research.
  
Will I learn about career and graduate school options in this field?
Yes. You participate in workshops with faculty and outside professionals to help you learn about graduate school and career opportunities in the field of micro/nano science. Your faculty mentor is also available to help address questions and provide guidance. 
  
  
After the Program

How will I continue my research after the program ends?
After the program, you are encouraged to continue your research efforts under a faculty mentor at your home university. Additionally, you will continue to receive e-mail updates and will be encouraged to present your research findings at undergraduate research conferences, as well as other conferences highlighting micro/nano research and applications. Within the year following the program, you will be eligible to request travel funding to present at a local undergraduate research conference. 

After the program ends, how will I request travel funding to present at undergraduate research conferences?
You are eligible to request travel funding for one year following the end of your participation in the IM-SURE program. If you are interested in seeking funding, you first submit an abstract or paper to the sponsoring conference. After you receive acceptance from the sponsoring conference, you submit a proposal to IM-SURE. Submit proposals online via the IM-SURE Web site, under the “Participants” section. Your proposal must be in a PC Word or PDF format, and include an overview of your project and an itemized budget of projected expenses and needs. It should also include evidence of your abstract or paper being accepted by the sponsoring conference, and a description of the conference and its benefits. After submitting your online proposal, you receive an e-mail confirming your submission has been received. After your proposal has been reviewed, you are notified about whether your request will be funded.