Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU)

The Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Program is funded by the National Science Foundation to support ten highly qualified students to undertake supervised research projects in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, for a period of 10 weeks each summer. The program will run from May 28 through August 2, 2024. Suggested travel days are May 28 and August 3. The link below has details for the summer 2023 as an example.

Find information on this year's REU program.

The following Departmental faculty conduct research in diverse experimental and theoretical areas and have supervised students in recent years.

  • Segev BenZvi (astroparticle physics and cosmology)
  • Nicholas Bigelow (experimental optics)
  • Machiel Blok (quantum information processing with superconducting circuits)
  • Regina Demina (particle physics and cosmology)
  • Kelly Douglass (astronomy and cosmology)
  • Dustin Froula (experimental plasma physics)
  • Pierre Gourdain (extreme states of plasma physics)
  • Ralf Haefner (computational neuroscience)
  • Chris Marshall (experimental particle physics)
  • Kevin McFarland (experimental particle physics)
  • Miki Nakajima (planetary science)
  • John Nichol (experimental condensed matter and quantum nanostructures)
  • Alice Quillen (astrophysics)
  • William Renninger (experimental and theoretical nonlinear optics)
  • Petros Tzeferacos (computational astrophysics/plasma physics)

Each summer, the department's research effort involves approximately 20 undergraduate students, in addition to approximately 100 graduate students, 10 postdoctoral research associates, and 20 regular faculty members.

Much of the research done by past undergraduate research assistants has been published in scientific journals. Many students have also presented their work at national conferences and undergraduate research symposia at the University of Rochester.

Program Overview

Over the summer research period, participants attend a series of informal seminars covering research and related topics, such as preparing for graduate school. These seminars are intended to foster discussion among REU students and faculty. The core research experience takes place in the context of research groups working at the University's research facilities.

The world renowned International Jazz Festival is located downtown for about a week in June and there are other music and arts events throughout the summer. Parks in the area have beaches, kayaking, or hiking. Niagara Falls is only about an hour away.

At the end of the program students present their work at an informal symposium. They are encouraged to continue with their research advisors toward completion of publications, submission of abstracts, and presentations of their research at professional and student conferences.

Funding may also be provided in the following academic year to allow students to support their attendance and presentations at conferences. University of Rochester participants are required to present their results at the local RSPS and UR undergraduate research conferences in the spring.

See the REU projects page for a description of last summer's research projects.

See the REU previous projects page for lists of summer projects for the past several years.

Stipend and Housing

Participants receive a stipend of $6,000 for the 10-week program.

Housing in an on-campus residence hall with other REU students is provided for students from outside the University of Rochester, along with supplemental compensation for meals/incidentals for those living on campus. Students living locally may commute from home.

Travel expenses to Rochester are provided for non-Rochester students.


Our program supports a diverse group of participants.


Most applicants will have completed four semesters of college physics and math. Students should have a strong GPA with a major in physics or related field. Computer programming coursework and/or experience is a plus.

Students interested in research and/or considering an advanced degree, members of under-represented minorities and students from colleges that lack comparable research are strongly encouraged to apply.

Participants in the REU program must be US citizens or permanent residents. Students who will complete their bachelor degree by May of this academic year are not eligible for the program.

Application Process

The application opens December 7. There is a new application process this year.  Applications are processed centrally for many different REU programs through the National Science Foundation's Education and Training Application (NSF ETAP). The link to the application is now open.

You may also visit and search opportunities by keywords such as Physics  or Physics University of Rochester depending how many results you want to see

To apply to the REU students must:

  • Create an account with the NSF ETAP site.
  • Complete the basic Registration details (Registration on side menu) that are common application details that are used for applying to our program and also to other programs. This component of the application asks about previous research experience (not required) but more specifics can be included with your application materials.  The ETAP site requests your test scores (SAT, ACT or GRE) but Rochester will not look at that information.  Other institutions might do so and your registration page is part of your 'profile' that is part of all your applications.  
  • Enter / upload other Application Materials (Application Materials on side menu) that include your personal statement, resume (or CV), your unofficial OR official transcript(s) (can upload transcripts from more than one institution).  All uploads to ETAP must be in pdf format.
  • Request your References (My References on side menu).  This enables you to invite your two references to enter basic reference details and upload a letter of reference.  You should receive an email from NSF ETAP when a reference has been submitted.  The letters can be from faculty members, employers, or previous research or REU program supervisors familiar with your abilities, interests, and motivation toward research so contact them about writing on your behalf before you start applications. Note that the letters uploaded to the ETAP portal apply to all opportunities so should not refer to specific programs. 
  • There are a few additional questions beyond the basic registration that we ask as part of our REU Site application.  Please complete this section as well.
  • Application deadline is February 7. This REU program joins other Physics REU sites with a common deadline of March 8 for students to accept/decline first round offers.  Sites may tender offers to students a week before this, but students will not be required to decide before March 8.

Questions ? email

Diversity Statement

The Department of Physics and Astronomy is committed to fostering a positive and inclusive department culture.  We believe that scientific research and education work best when they are being pursued by a diverse group of faculty, staff and students who are encouraged to realize their full potential.  Please refer to the Department's webpage on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for more information about our shared values and efforts toward building a diverse, equitable and inclusive environment at the University of Rochester.


The REU program is sponsored by the National Science Foundation, the University of Rochester, and the Department of Physics and Astronomy. See the National Science Foundation’s REU page for a list of other REU programs funded by the NSF.