List of Undergraduate Research Opportunities

The terms Research Experience for Undergraduates Programs or REU’s are used to describe programs providing undergraduate research experiences. This term is used by agencies of the federal government and by private associations. The largest of these REU programs is the one sponsored by the National Science Foundation. The NSF program focused on below is the NSF summer REU. The NSF also provides REU support through supplements to ongoing NSF research grants of longer duration.

The summer Research Experience for Undergraduates program (REU) supports active research participation by undergraduate students in any of the areas of research funded by the National Science Foundation. REU projects involve students in meaningful ways in ongoing research programs or research projects specifically designed for the REU program.

Typically, an REU site consists of a group of 10 or so undergraduates who work in the research programs of the host institution. Each student is associated with a specific research project, where he/she works closely with the faculty and other researchers. Students are granted stipends and, in many cases, assistance with housing and travel. Participants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents.

Students do not apply directly to the NSF to participate in REU activities. By going to the following site, students may examine opportunities in the subject areas supported by various NSF units. Students may search the site by research area and keywords. Students must contact the individual sites for information and application materials. A contact person is listed on each site.

The Vanderbilt Institute for Nanoscale Science and Engineering (VINSE) brings ten students each summer to campus to work closely with VINSE faculty on research projects in cutting edge areas of nanoscale science and engineering. This summer program is funded by the National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates (NSF-REU) program. Participation in the program provides students with a true interdisciplinary research experience in an environment where physicists, chemists, biologists, and all engineers collaboratively solve problems and create new scientific understanding. Each student works directly with VINSE faculty members and their research groups and has access to the VINSE laboratories, which are shared facilities available to all authorized users.

Program Highlights

  • Choose from ~ 30 projects available each year for 10 positions, giving increased flexibility to match student interests
  • Receive a $5000 stipend, room and board, plus a $500 travel allowance to offset the cost of getting to Nashville
  • Undergo informal training on scientific writing and giving oral presentations
  • Participate in a field trip to the Oak Ridge National Laboratory
  • Participate in optional outreach opportunities with local high school students
  • Enjoy social activities and a final banquet
  • Participate in a poster competition to receive a travel award to attend a national professional meeting to present their work

Students who are US Citizens or Permanent Residents majoring in science or engineering are eligible to apply to the REU program. Students from underrepresented groups and institutions are strongly encouraged to apply. Students are to be notified of their acceptance into the program by email by mid-March annually. Selections are primarily based on academic standing and faculty recommendations.

Purpose:  The Amgen Scholars Program provides approximately 250 undergraduates each summer with the opportunity to engage in a hands–on research experience at some of the world’s leading educational institutions.  Each host institution has approximately 25 Amgen scholars.  The Program seeks to increase learning and networking opportunities for students committed to pursuing science or engineering careers and to broaden their perspectives and experience.   

Host Universities: California Institute of Technology, Columbia University, Barnard College,  Howard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University, University of California, Berkeley,University of California, Los Angeles, University of California, San Diego, University of Washington, Washington University in St. Louis

Program eligibility:  Amgen Scholars U.S. program applicants must be:

  • U.S. citizens or permanent residents
  • Undergraduate students enrolled in an accredited four-year college or university in the United States, Puerto Rico or other U.S. territories
  • Sophomores (with four quarters or three semesters of college experience), juniors or non graduating seniors (those returning in the fall to continue undergraduates studies.)

U.S. Program participants must also have:

  • A cumulative grade point average of 3.2 or above
  • An interest in pursuing a Ph.D. or an MD/Ph.D.

 Program Benefits:  Amgen scholars will

  • take part in important university research projects, gain hands-on lab experience  and contribute to the advancement of science
  • interact and receive guidance from faculty mentors, including some of the world’s leading academic scientists and
  • attend scientific seminars, workshops and networking events
  • Financial support is a critical component of the Amgen Scholars Program   Please note that the details of support vary by the host university.  See each university’s summer research program website for more information.
  • Each host university has its own application process, but the application deadline for all universities except one is early February.  The Cal tech deadline is mid-February.

Caltech’s Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships (SURF) program introduces students to research under the guidance of seasoned research mentors at Caltech and JPL. Students experience the process of research as a creative intellectual activity.

SURF is modeled on the grant-seeking process:

  • Students collaborate with potential mentors to define and develop a project
  • Applicants write research proposals for their projects
  • A faculty committee reviews the proposals and recommends awards
  • Students carry out the work over a 10-week period in the summer, mid-June to late August
  • At the conclusion of the program, they submit a technical paper and give an oral presentation at SURF Seminar Day, a symposium modeled on a professional technical meeting

Fellows receive a $6,000 award for the ten-week period. Award payments are distributed in equal installments in late June and late July.

Eligibility Requirements for Visiting (Non-Caltech) Students

To be eligible for SURF, you must:

  • Be a continuing undergraduate student and eligible for fall term registration
  • Have a cumulative GPA of at least 2.5/4.0
  • Complete the second semester or third quarter at your college or university
  • Not be under any disciplinary sanction
  • Students must identify and contact a mentor in advance of submitting an application. A mentor must agree to support your application, help you to develop and define a research project, and assist you in the writing of the research proposal.

For more information, please visit:

The joint Materials Research Center program at Columbia University and City College of NY (CCNY) will support 10-15 outstanding undergraduates as Summer Research Fellows each year. This research program provides a $4,000 stipend for each successful candidate, free campus housing (worth $2,700) in which you are expected to reside, and possible assistance with round-trip travel (up to $500 if necessary). Those selected will have an opportunity to participate fully in an interdisciplinary research program that draws faculty from the Departments of Physics, Chemistry, Applied Physics, Chemical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Materials Engineering, and Electrical Engineering, nearby government laboratories (Brookhaven National Laboratory), and industry (IBM).

RPU Application Requirements:

  1. Online application form submitted by the deadline
  2. Unofficial College/University Transcript
  3. Personal statement essay (500 words maximum) describing:
    · Your research interests and experiences
    · Which REU projects interest you and why
    · Expectations for the summer
    · Graduate school plans, and your career plans and goals
  4. Two recommendation letters from professors or lab supervisors (at least one should be from a math, science or engineering professor). Two letters are required to be submitted.

The Department of Biology, Department of Brain & Cognitive Sciences and the Center for Brains, Minds and Machines at MIT offer a joint 10-week research-intensive summer training program in the biological sciences, neurosciences or biomedical-related fields to advanced sophomore and junior science majors from other colleges and universities who have an interested in a research career. This summer internship program is funded in part by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the National Science Foundation, and the MIT School of Science.

Program Eligibility

Only current undergraduate students studying full time in the U.S. are eligible for this summer program. MIT undergraduates are not eligible for this program. Students studying abroad for more than one semester are not eligible.

In addition:

  • Be current sophomores or juniors who have successfully completed introductory courses in the biological sciences (Seniors in a 5-year program are also eligible)
  • Maintain a minimum 3.5 GPA in the science courses.
  • Have demonstrated an interest in basic research and in a career in the sciences.

Preference will be given to applicants from non-research intensive colleges and universities. Foreign students are not eligible unless they are currently enrolled as full-time undergraduates at a college or university in the U.S. on a student visa.

Program Description

Students accepted into the program receive their 10-week practical training in one of over 90 research laboratories affiliated with the Department of Biology or the Department of Brain & Cognitive Sciences at MIT.

Areas of research are very diverse and include Biochemistry & Biophysics, Bioengineering, Cancer Biology, Cell Biology, Chemical Biology, Computational & Systems Biology, Developmental Biology, Genetics, Genomics, Human Genetics, Infectious Diseases, Immunology, Microbiology, Molecular Biology, Molecular Medicine & Human Disease, Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience, Cognitive Sciences, Computational Neuroscience, Systems Neuroscience, Neurobiology, Plant Biology, Structural Biology, Systems Biology, or Virology.

In addition, students receive training in reading and discussing scientific research papers, are exposed to scientific writing, practice giving oral presentations on their summer research and meet with various faculty to discuss scientific careers.

Students accepted into the program receive:

  • Campus housing.
  • A weekly stipend.
  • Travel allowance to and from MIT (domestic travel only).
  • An MIT email account.
  • Subsidized pass to the athletic facilities.
  • Wireless internet access.
  • Access to the MIT Medical Department.
  • Organized social activities and weekend outings.

For more information, please visit:

The Rockefeller University’s Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program is designed to provide qualified, highly motivated college students majoring in the life or physical sciences, an opportunity to experience laboratory research. Each year, outstanding college sophomores and juniors are chosen from a large pool of applicants. SURF students are matched according to their stated field of interest with faculty, postdoctoral researchers or graduate students. SURF students work with leading scientists in a broad range of areas including biochemistry; structural biology and chemistry; molecular, cell and developmental biology; immunology; virology and microbiology; neuroscience; physics; and mathematical biology. The 18 students accepted into the SURF program will receive a stipend of $4,000.00 for the 10-week period of June 1 through August 7. Free housing will be provided for students who cannot commute.

Applicants to the SURF Program must submit:

  • The completed on-line application form.
  • A two-page summary statement describing the applicant’s academic background, scientific interests, research experience (if any) and career goals. Applicants should discuss how they would benefit from the SURF Program.
  • An official transcript (uploaded as part of the online application).
  • Two letters of recommendation preferably from professors or mentors who can evaluate the applicant based on performance in current or completed research projects.