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What is an REU and what can it do for you?

From a presentation by Lance Baird

What is an REU?

  • REU stands for research experience for undergraduates
  • REU programs are funded by the National Science Foundation and are generally held at universities and sometimes at private businesses
  • There are also SURF, which stands for summer undergraduate research fellowship, programs which are exactly like REUs
  • REUs give undergraduates the chance to do real research with universities and certain companies
  • They generally consist of a 10 week program during the summer, in which a student does research alongside a faculty member of the participating school or company

What is expected of the student

  • Generally the student is expected to put in about 40 hours of work in a week
  • Although the work load differs with each institution, most schools require the student to do a poster session at the end of the program relating what his/her research group has accomplished

Why should one participate in an REU?

  • First of all, any kind of research looks great on one’s resume and gives one much more of an advantage when applying to graduate and medical schools
  • Second, almost all REUs pay one anywhere from $2,500-3,500, supply food and housing, and pay your travel to a nationally sponsored convention in your field of study
  • Third, doing and REU gives you a great opportunity to see a different part of the country, meet new people, and scope out possible places for graduate or medical school


  • The eligibility for an REU differs for each institution, but generally a G.P.A. of about 3.0 is required and the student should be either an entering junior or senior

Applying for an REU

  • Generally, applications are due by the beginning of the year
  • Approximately Feb.-March
  • Applications should be turned in as soon as possible
  • Most applications require the student to write a letter of intent or personal statement

Websites for Info. on REUs