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Theoretical models for the frequency response of a cantilever beam immersed in a viscous fluid commonly assume that the fluid is unbounded. Experimental measurements show, however, that proximity to a surface can significantly affect the frequency response of a cantilever beam. In this article, we rigorously calculate the effect of a nearby surface on the frequency response of a cantilever beam immersed in a viscous fluid, and present a general theoretical model. Due to its practical relevance to applications of the atomic force microscope and microelectromechanical systems, detailed results are presented for cantilever beams with rectangular geometries executing flexural and torsional oscillations. It is found that dissipative loading in the fluid is primarily responsible for the observed variation in the frequency response, whereas inertial loading exerts a relatively weak influence.