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Undergraduate Program

Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU)

The Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Program is funded by the National Science Foundation to support twelve highly qualified students to undertake supervised research projects in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, for a period of 10 weeks each summer. This year the program will run from May 27 through July 31, 2020.  Travel days are May 26 and August 1.

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

  • Segev BenZvi (cosmology)
  • Nicholas Bigelow (experimental optics)
  • Robert Boyd (experimental optics)
  • Regina Demina (particle physics and cosmology)
  • Ranga Dias (materials at extreme conditions)
  • Kelly Douglass (astronomy and cosmology)
  • Dustin Froula (experimental plasma physics)
  • Pierre Gourdain (extreme states of plasma physics)
  • Ralf Haefner (computational neuroscience)
  • Andrew Jordan (theoretical quantum optics)
  • Kevin McFarland (experimental particle physics)
  • Miki Nakajima (planetary science)
  • John Nichol (experimental condensed matter physics)
  • Judy Pipher (experimental astrophysics)
  • Alice Quillen (astrophysics)
  • Dan Watson (astrophysics)

Each summer, the department's research effort involves approximately 20 undergraduate students, in addition to approximately 100 graduate students, 20 postdoctoral research associates, and 25 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.

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

Funding may also be provided in the following academic year to allow students to complete scientific articles on their research and/or support their attendance and presentations at conferences. University of Rochester participants are required to present their results at the local RSPS and URE 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 $5,000 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.

Participants

Our program supports a diverse group of participants. More than half of the NSF REU funds support students from other institutions, and the program aims for 50% representation of women and minority students.

University of Rochester students, particularly those who have partial funding for summer research from other University sources are welcome apply to the REU program. 

Eligibility

Most students must have completed at least four semesters of college physics and math. Students should have an overall GPA of 3.0 or greater, with a major in engineering or physics. Computer programming coursework and/or experience is a plus.

Preference will be given to students interested in research and/or considering an advanced degree. Members of under-represented minorities or students with disabilities 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 will open on November 20. To apply to the REU students must:

  • Complete the online application form, including the personal statement. Information should be formatted to fit within the space provided.
  • Request two letters of recommendation from faculty members, employers, or previous REU supervisors familiar with your abilities, interests, and motivation toward research. Recommenders should email the letters directly to connie@pas.rochester.edu
  • Include the complete email addresses and mailing addresses of the individual providing the letter of recommendation in your application.
  • Email a copy of your transcript to connie@pas.rochester.edu. Both official and unofficial transcripts are acceptable. Please be sure your name is on the course/grade listing.
  • Application deadline is February 15, with rolling admission until spaces are filled.

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.

Contact

Connie Jones
Department of Physics & Astronomy
Bausch & Lomb 253
University of Rochester
Rochester, NY 14627-0171
(585) 275-5306
(585) 273-3237 FAX
connie@pas.rochester.edu