REU Guide

REU stands for Research Experiences for Undergraduates funded by The National Science Foundation (NSF).

REU Program List


There are many research interest areas, but most are STEM related!

REU sites are located all over the Unites States.  The International Research Experiences for Students (IRES) is another National Science Foundation-funded program that supports international research and may involve student travel.

Use the search terms “REU site international” to find these programs or consult the directory of active IRES awards.

Every deadline will be different, with some application deadlines as early as December and as late as April! You should check each application deadline on the host site informational page.

An REU Site consists of a group of ten 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.

Undergraduate students supported with NSF funds must be citizens or permanent residents of the United States or its possessions.

REU programs are an excellent opportunity for students to explore their research interests and gain valuable research experience. It can provide you an opportunity to learn about a possible graduate school of interest. It can also expand your list of professors to serve as references for future employment or grad school applications.

You’ll want to be intentional about what location and research areas you’re interested in, but the standard is as many as 15 applications. With at least two references for each application.

Click here for a list of current REU programs.  Be sure to click the links underneath the name of the program for program details and application information.

REU Do's & Don'ts

  • DO apply to universities all throughout the country.
  • DO start your applications early.
  • DO write an excellent personal statement be sure to mention your interest in graduate study.
  • DO get references from professors in the field you are applying to for your REU program.
  • DON’T use nonacademic references.
  • DO accept or decline an offer in a timely fashion.

What to Expect

  • Applications will consist of an application form, transcripts, and two to three letters of reference. There will be no application fee.
  • Most REU programs require a minimum GPA of 3.0. If you have under a 3.0 you application will not be considered.
  • Give you references about a month’s notice when asking for a letter of reference.
  • Many schools offer an online application that requires uploading your materials and letters of reference.
  • Most applications are available from early December until early to mid-March
  • You will have approximately 2 weeks to accept an offer.