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undergraduate research programs can have a variety of titles. These include
Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU), Summer Undergraduate Research
Program (SURP), Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE), Summer
Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF), and others. All of these names refer
to the same type of program: a summer research position in which undergraduates
usually receive a stipend (and sometimes additional funding such as travel
and/or housing expenses) for performing summer research.
undergraduate research programs allow undergraduates to conduct research, work
with a faculty member and their students, and live in the community;
furthermore, these programs can help undergraduates decide whether graduate
school (or if the particular program) might be in her/his future. If the
student decides to apply to graduate or professional school, she/he can request
a letter of recommendation from the summer research mentor. This personal
contact (and the research experience, itself) can be helpful in gaining
acceptance to graduate school.Finding
a program: Summer research programs vary widely in the
content and scope of what they offer, as well as the areas of concentration,
ranging from semiconductors and photolithography to marine science research.
Interested students should peruse the list below to find a program that is
similar to her/his research interests. Many summer undergraduate research
programs are part of the NSF-REU; thus, you might find it helpful to start your
search here (http://www.nsf.gov/crssprgm/reu/).
Below is a list of many summer undergraduate research programs, arranged by the
type of lab (academic / university labs versus U.S. government labs versus
pharmaceutical industry labs). You may also want to do Internet searches for
the various names used for summer undergraduate research (REU, SURP, SURE,
SURF) and your field (e.g., chemistry).
Applying to a program: Application requirements
vary between programs. Usually, more prestigious programs havehigher
requirements. Many programs require applicants to submit copies of their transcripts,
and most request one or two letters of recommendation from faculty. Some want
applicants to provide a short essay. Be
sure to understand the specific requirements of each program.Eligibility:
Some programs are aimed at students with experience in a specific area, others
are open to students with no research experience. Many are limited to U.S.
citizens or permanent residents (usually funded by the NSF), but some are open
to others. Some have higher GPA requirements and increased course requirements.
Some are targeted at students who are between their junior and senior years
while participating in the program, while others are open to sophomores as
Stipends: Stipends vary, but are usually in the range of $3000 to $5,500 for the summer. Most programs offer free or reduced-cost housing, many offer travel allowances, and some even offer health insurance for the summer.
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