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What is an REU?

Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REUs) are immersive summer research opportunities for undergraduate students. REU programs are funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and support several areas of research (chemistry, physics, mathematics, engineering, biology, astronomy, etc.). During an REU, you are able to participate and conduct full-time research under the mentorship of faculty, graduate students, or post-doctoral fellows in a research group. In addition, REU programs often offer seminars and workshops for graduate school preparation and professional development. Some programs also culminate with a university- or department-wide research symposium where students present their summer projects. REUs can be found at large research institutions, as well as smaller liberal arts colleges. Note: REUs strongly encourage people from underrepresented groups in STEM to apply.

  • Stipend provided to students (~$5,000; dependent on program/university)
  • In most cases, housing (typically on campus) and travel funds provided
  • 10 weeks of hands-on research experience
  • Workshops and seminars on graduate school preparation and professional development
  • Social activities
  • Deadlines are typically due early in the spring semester (i.e. January-March). See program websites for specifics.
  • Citizen or permanent resident of the United States
  • Academic major or relevant coursework (See program websites for specifics)
Application materials:
  • Application form (i.e. contact information)
  • Electronic transcript (official or unofficial, depending on program)
  • Essay/Statement
    • Describe your interest in participating in the specific REU program and why you are a good fit
      • Specifically state the research areas and/or faculty members that you are interested in working for
    • Personal motivations to perform research
    • Future career plans
    • Previous research experiences (if any)
    • Word count/page lengths are dependent on specific REU program
  • Recommendation letter

Make sure you check the program requirements for your program of interest before applying!