Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU)


Paid 10-weeks of summer research at the University of Rochester (UR) beginning in late May, annually. Funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) for undergraduates from any institution in the United States. 

The David T. Kearns Center for Leadership & Diversity supports students through academic advising, tutoring, courses, and program coordination for various professional social and academic programs including 5 NSF REU programs. 

2024 University of Rochester REU Offerings


Chemistry Research for Medicine and Energy

Data Science: 

Computational Methods for Understanding Music, Media, & Minds*pending NSF funding decision

Electrical Computer Engineering: 

Imaging in Medicine and Biology for Underrepresented Minorities


Physics and Astrophysics


Nanophotonics, Quantum Photonics, and Vision/Biomedical Optics at University of Rochester

Each UR REU Includes

  • $5,500 - 6,000 Research stipend (department dependent)
  • Travel reimbursement
  • On-campus housing
  • Faculty mentor & Kearns advisor
  • Professional development workshops
  • GRE test & Personal Statement preparation class
  • Graduate school preparation class
  • Community building & social events
  • Opportunity to present your work at a conference-style summer symposium coordinated by the Kearns Center, visit the Kearns Summer Research Symposium page to learn more

UR operates on a personal scale, creating exceptional opportunities for interdisciplinary study and close work with faculty. Explore how graduate study or industry work fit into your future at UR! Complete your summer with new skills and an enhanced vision of yourself as a researcher, collaborator, and mentor to others. 

Information Sessions/Webinars 

The Kearns Center will be hosting information sessions on November 29th & 30th via Zoom for prospective Summer 2024 REU students. Each webinar will feature an overview of the REU structure and programming, application timeline, details about housing, transportation, and stipends.

Interested in attending? Please fill out our webinar interest form to receive an emailed RSVP link!


Eligible undergraduate students must be: 

  • U.S. Citizens, U.S. Nationals, or U.S. Permanent Residents 
  • Enrolled in any undergraduate program leading toward a bachelor’s or associate degree at the time of participation in the REU  

* UR REUs prioritize applicants from institutions other than UR


For more information, please email REU Coordinator Samantha Branch, at


Each REU program has its own deadline. Most applications will open in November and close in January/February. Please check individual REU websites for details.

Accepted applicants will be notified in the beginning of March.

To apply, you will need to submit:

  • Online application
  • Personal statement
  • Two references
  • Resume
  • Transcripts
REU Experience

REU Milestones

Students typically go through the following research stages throughout the summer program:

  • Prior to REU (mid-April): Connect with faculty mentor and outline research question(s)
  • Weeks 1 – 2: Read background literature, get acquainted with lab/equipment
  • Weeks 3 – 4: Define research project, participate in lab meetings
  • Weeks 5 – 8: Conduct research, analyze data, present initial findings
  • Weeks 9 – 10: Prepare talk, poster, and final paper and participate in Symposium

REU Calendar

Most weeks throughout the program have a consistent rhythm to them. A week may look like the calendar below.

Sample Calendar
Day off9 a.m. —GRE class 10 a.m.—Lab 5 p.m.—Workshop8:30 a.m.—Lab 6 p.m.—Talk (optional, dinner included)8:30 a.m.—Lab Noon—Lunch 1 p.m.—Lab8 a.m.—Lab Noon—Meet with mentor 1 p.m.—Lab 5 p.m.—Talk10 a.m.—LabJazzFest (optional, multiple events)
Past Participants

Our past REU researchers participated from:

  • Liberal arts colleges like Bucknell and Vassar
  • Other R1 research universities like Columbia and Harvard
  • Community colleges like Laney College (CA)
  • Historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) like Norfolk State and Morgan State
  • Hispanic-serving institutions (HSIs) like Cal State Long Beach and Valencia College

Our past cohort had the following characteristics:

  • Interested in pursuing an advanced degree: 49%
  • Interested in pursuing medical school: 11%
  • Underrepresented in STEM: 23%
  • First generation students: 37%
  • Female students: 43%
  • Class year: Rising sophomores – 11%, juniors – 40%, seniors – 49%
  • Students from outside of New York State: 86%
Frequently Asked Questions

I am not a University of Rochester student. Can I enroll in the REU?

Our REU programs are federally funded by the National Science Foundation and intended for undergraduate students from any institution in the United States. Preference is given to students who apply from institutions other than the University of Rochester.

What is the time commitment for the REU program?

The REU programs are 10 weeks long. They begin the week prior to Memorial Day and finish the last week in July.

What is the typical workload as an REU participant and what is expected of me?

As an REU participant, you are committed to working a minimum of 40 hours per week for the duration of the REU. Students who are selected for the REU, cannot to take courses or hold a job during the program. Accepting an REU position implies that you agree to be available for the entire program.

You should consult with your faculty advisor regarding your specific work schedule and work schedule flexibility.

I am a first-year student (freshman standing). Am I eligible for REU?

Yes, as a first‐year student you are eligible to apply our REU programs and freshman make up about 10 percent of our REU students over all programs. Most of our REU candidates apply as sophomores or juniors and have foundational engineering courses, but many projects are also accessible for first‐year students. We encourage you to apply.

How are candidates selected for your REU programs? When will I know if I have been selected for an REU? What if I am considering other offers?

Each REU program has its own selection and acceptance process so you should consult the page for your program of interest. Most programs make initial offers and hold a waitlist. It’s important to remember that students in both groups are high-caliber applicants who will excel in their chosen program; often the difference between an initial match and a waitlist match can be attributed to the competitiveness of the applicant pool and limited number of spaces available.

Where do students live during the REU program?

Most REU students live in on-campus residence halls (double occupancy) and are provided a meal allowance for buffet-style eating, grab-and-go options, and dining out at local restaurants.

Students who decide not to live on campus may receive a housing allowance to pay for a local rental unit or sublet, depending on the terms of the REU.

Do students have roommates? How are they assigned?

Most students who live in on-campus housing live in a double-occupancy room and have a roommate. We provide opportunities for students to meet virtually in April so that they can find and request a roommate that is a good match.

Requests for single-occupancy rooms will be reviewed and granted based on demonstrated need for privacy or accessibility.

What are the dining options on campus? Does the REU support vegetarian/vegan/kosher/gluten free and other diets?

In addition to housing and a stipend, REU scholars are given $400 in dining points to help cover the cost of meals. This stipend is not intended to cover all food expenses over the course of the 10-week program. However, food will be provided at social events and workshops throughout the summer, with accommodations for any dietary restrictions and allergens (information collected prior to arrival).

As far as places to eat, College Town houses a variety of restaurants, some of which accept our campus dining stipends as payment. For more detailed information, see the summer dining hours of operation page.

As an REU participant, are there extracurricular activities that I need to participate in during the program?

As an REU participant, you will attend seminars featuring speakers who will discuss their research and professional career paths. Several social activities also require your attendance. Additionally, the most important activity is the research conference at the close of the program. It is important to ensure that you are available for the entire REU program, start to finish. The last poster session is well attended, and it is an excellent opportunity to show off your great work while networking.

What are the social activities?

Many of our REU participants are visiting Rochester, NY for the first time. We aim to show you many of the attractions that Rochester offers, especially the wonderful sites and hallmark events of the summer. These may include:

Are students able to travel off-campus?

Yes, students enjoy many opportunities to travel off-campus, both formally and informally. We have a free shuttle system that takes students to shopping and recreational outlets in/around Rochester as well as on-campus access to Pace bicycle rental and Zipcar car rental systems. Additionally, the Regional Transit System has a stop on campus for students to conveniently and economically travel throughout the region.

The Kearns Center plans trips throughout the summer for REU students and each year a handful of students have cars on campus that they use for weekend trips in the area (eg. Toronto, New York City, Adirondack Mountains, etc.).

Who handles the travel arrangements for REU students?

How is the stipend paid?

The stipend is paid out over four to five equal payments, depending on the pay cycle, and payments are made on the 15 and last day of the month. Students can elect to sign up for direct deposit into a bank account or they can receive a “live” check.

Is my REU stipend taxable?

Yes. It is taxable and you should report it in your tax filings. No deduction is taken on your stipend payment because it is not large enough to get taxed, but if you have other sources of income during the year, then you’ll end up paying some income tax on it later. Since it is a stipend and not a salary, you will not pay social security tax on it.

Are there opportunities to expand my involvement beyond REU?

Quite possibly, you should speak with your mentor/advisor. For instance, students from the University of Rochester could enroll in independent study and receive course credit. Others have been able to secure funding through their faculty mentor to return a second summer. We also encourage students to apply to the University of Rochester for graduate school.

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