The following listed below are the many opportunities available for students to conduct research, work with a faculty member, and live in a new or current community. These programs can also help undergraduates decide whether graduate school (or if the particular program) might be in her/his future.
Summer 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.
Summer 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: 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 well.
Stipends: Stipends vary, but are usually in the range of $3,000 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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