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Summer Undergraduate Research Programme (SURP)

Frequently Asked Questions 

Q1. Why is SURP 2021 offered as a virtual programme?
A1. The COVID-19 pandemic has imposed travel restrictions worldwide. As international exchange is integral to the development of students, CUHK will bring the Summer Undergraduate Research Programme (SURP) online so that international students who are interested in an overseas research experience will have the opportunity to engage with world-class CUHK faculties and develop research skills in their areas of interest without leaving home.
Q2. How will a virtual research programme work?
A2. Just like participating in a face-to-face research programme, the virtual SURP will require students to proactively engage with their CUHK host supervisors and research teams. Regular communication through emails and Zoom/Teams meetings should be made with the host supervisors. Students should be aware of the time zone difference between their home country and Hong Kong (UTC+8) and schedule their work effectively to meet the project goals.


On top of the research project, the Office of Academic Links will offer online cultural activities throughout the programme to allow participants to have the opportunity to learn the local culture and meet new friends with other international students through the SURP community.

Q3. What are the advantages of a virtual research programme over a face-to-face programme?
A3. Students participating in the virtual SURP will enjoy the benefits of a face-to-face programme without having to leave home. For the virtual SURP, the administrative fee will also be waived. There is no cost implication for participation in the virtual programme.
Q4. I will be in Hong Kong during the programme period. Can I physically take part in the programme at CUHK?
A4. Subject to the quarantine policy set out by the Hong Kong Government and the University’s policy for on-campus activities, holders of a Permanent HKID Card who will be in Hong Kong during the programme period may be able to conduct research on the CUHK campus subject to the consent of their CUHK supervisors. If you are a Permanent HKID Card holder, please upload a photocopy of your HKID Card in the online application form. The Office of Academic Links will assist you to go through the necessary procedures for on-campus research attachment.

Q1. My university is not an exchange partner of CUHK. Am I eligible to apply for SURP?
A1. All registered full-time students at overseas and non-Chinese universities who are in their senior years with good academic standing are welcome to apply for the programme, regardless of whether their home university is an exchange partner of CUHK.
Q2. I have finished the second year of my undergraduate studies but I am now in my gap year. Am I eligible for SURP?
A2. Students who are in their gap year are welcome to apply as long as they are registered undergraduate students at an overseas university during the programme period.
Q3. By the beginning of SURP, I will have only completed the first year of my study. Am I still eligible to apply for the programme?
A3. Applications from all overseas undergraduate students are welcome. However, priority will be given to senior students. Applicants are suggested to include their past research experience and demonstrate the ability to conduct research in their application. This will facilitate CUHK host supervisors to assess the applicants’ potential for SURP.
Q4. Are there any language requirements for SURP?
A4. Research work and reports will be conducted in English. However, different projects may have different language requirements as set out by the supervisors. Students should read the project description carefully before applying and discuss with their supervisors in advance to prepare for the project after admission.

Q1. Is it necessary for the letter of recommendation to be provided by a professor? Would a letter from a counsellor or staff member be acceptable?
A1. The letter of recommendation should be from an academic staff (a professor/lecturer) at the home institution dated within six months at the time of application.
Q2. The professors in my university do not share their recommendation letters with their students. Can my professor send the recommendation letter to the SURP admission office directly?
A2. The recommendation letter should be uploaded to the online application system along with the application. If your professor prefers the letter to be sent directly to SURP, he/she can send it to surp_oal@cuhk.edu.hk, quoting the applicant’s full name in the letter for reference. Please be reminded that the recommendation letter submitted via email should reach the SURP admission office before the application deadline.
Q3. Can I submit an academic transcript downloaded from the student information centre of my school instead of an official one issued by the Registry?
A3. An official transcript with the university emblem, student’s full name and academic record is required for the application.
Q4. Does SURP charge any tuition fee? How should I plan for the budget for participation in the programme?
A4. SURP does not charge any tuition fee. For the virtual programme in 2021, a deposit of HK$1,560 (US$200) will be required, which will be refunded upon successful completion of the programme.

Q1. The listed projects do not fit my fields of research interest. Will more topics be announced?
A1. All the topics offered by our host supervisors have been posted on the website. If a topic cannot be identified, you may look up the CUHK website and identify a potential faculty member to host your research attachment through SURP.
Q2. Do I have to major in a specific discipline to be eligible to apply for the related research project?
A2. The relevant background and experience of the applicants will be considered. Applicants are suggested to include their past experience in the application for the supervisors’ consideration. Applicants are also advised to complete all three options when selecting topics in the application to increase their chance of being admitted. Eventually, the decision of admission rests with the host supervisors.

Q1. How should I plan for my research project?
A1. A project outline suggested by the CUHK supervisor will be provided to the successful applicants during admission. Students should go through the outline and set a research schedule and weekly goals prior to the programme. Students are also advised to consult their CUHK supervisors about the research objectives, plan and schedule at an early stage.
Q2. Can I extend my research attachment at CUHK beyond eight weeks?
A2. SURP will take place for eight weeks during 28 June–20 August 2021. Extension of the research period beyond the closing of the programme is not allowed. Participants are suggested to schedule their work carefully during the eight-week attachment at CUHK.
Q3. How many credits can I get from this programme? Can I transfer the credits earned to my home institution?
A3. All SURP participants will be registered in a 3-credit CUHK course titled ‘Independent Research on International Studies II’. A grade and a transcript will be issued upon successful completion of the programme. If students plan to transfer the credit or apply for credit exemption at their home institution, they should check with the corresponding office(s) at their home institution for details. Students are advised to consult their home institution on credit transfer in advance.
Q4. Are SURP students required to attend classes at CUHK?
A4. SURP is a research programme and students are not required to attend classes.
Q5. Is there a minimum number of hours that I have to spend with my supervisor? Do I determine the whole schedule exclusively with my supervisor?
A5. SURP is an independent research programme where students are expected to take the initiative to plan their research with their supervisors. There is no minimum number of consultation hours with their supervisors. Students are suggested to work out the schedule for meetings with their supervisors to ensure ample guidance and supervision for their projects. In general, it is suggested that at least one meeting per week should be arranged with the supervisor.
Q6. How will I be assessed throughout the programme?
A6. Students will be awarded three credits by CUHK upon successful completion of the programme. A final report should be submitted by the end of the programme. The assessment could be in the form of an essay, presentation or any other assessment form as deemed appropriate by the supervisors. Students are suggested to consult their supervisors at an early stage about the type and criteria of assessment for the research project.



Email: surp_oal@cuhk.edu.hk