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Undergraduate Programs

REU Frequently Asked Questions



What is the time commitment for REU program?

Do I get paid as an REU participant? 

I accidentally closed the online application before submitting, what should I do?

Where will I live for the summer? How does the housing payment work?

What are the dining options on campus? Does the REU support a vegetarian/vegan/kosher/gluten free or other diet?

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

I am not currently declared as an Engineering major. Can I still enroll in this REU?

I have previously participated in REU. Can I apply again?

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

What are the social activities? 

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

I am waiting to hear from a job offer. Can I join REU later after hearing the results of this offer?

What is the process of applying for the REU program? What is the selection process?

Can students change their project preferences?

How many offer letters does each student receive?

Will students that have not been matched to a project be notified?

I was not placed on a project.  Is there any way I can still be a part of REU?

The project I listed as my first choice listed me as their first choice.  Why didn't I get placed on this project?

I am not a University of Rochester student; can I enroll in the REU?

Are there opportunities to expand my involvement beyond REU?

Is my REU stipend taxable?

As an REU participant, are there any restrictions during the summer?


What is the time commitment for REU program?

The Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program is 9 weeks long. It begins the Tuesday following Memorial Day, and includes 9 work weeks, completing the last week of July. For 2018, the program will run from 5/29/18 to 7/31/18. The final presentation/poster session will be on Monday, 7/30/18.  All REU participants must be present during the entire 9-week duration.

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Do I get paid as an REU participant? 

Yes. The stipend for 2018 is $4,500.

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I accidently closed the online application before submitting, what should I do?

The online system does not save your entries before you submit. However, if you close the tab, but not quit the internet application, your information is often saved in the browser.

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Where will I live for the summer? How does the housing payment work?

All REU participants are provided housing for the summer on the University of Rochester Campus. You will be housed with members of other research programs operating over the same time. Participants from Rochester wishing to live off-campus must submit a formal request to do so.

Participants need to provide their own bed linens and toiletries. We also recommend participants bring or purchase upon arrival a fan for the summer months. The residential buildings are older, do not have air conditioning and do not have elevators. However, the building can accommodate those with mobility issues.

You must complete an application for summer housing with the found here.

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What are the dining options on campus? Does the REU support a vegetarian/vegan/kosher/gluten free or other diet?

In addition to housing and your stipend, REU participants are given a meal stipend of $500 to cover the cost of meals. The stipend is not intended to cover all your food expenses. Participants will have to purchase a meal or two, but also provide meals at events and workshops you are required to attend.

As far as places to eat, there are places in walking distance of campus that provide variety of cook-to-order meals. Within a 1/2-mile walk is also the Rochester Medical Center with a full cafeteria and College Town which houses many restaurants that accept your campus dining stipend as payment. More detailed information found here.

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

Yes, as a first‐year student you are eligible to apply for REU. We recommend that you be at sophomore or junior standing, as you would have taken more foundational engineering courses, but many projects are also accessible for first‐year students. We encourage you to apply.

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I am not currently declared as an Engineering major. Can I still enroll in this REU?

Yes, you can enroll and accept a position. One aim of this REU is an interdisciplinary approach to problem solving. Each project does require at least an intermediate level of understanding with computer programming, basic mathematical principles, chemical properties and physics.

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I have previously participated in REU. Can I apply again?

Yes, you can apply again, however, due to the popularity of this REU, priority is given to first time participants.

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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 research topic from varied topics related to Human Health, nano particles and engineering. Several social activities also require your attendance. Additionally, the most important activity is the poster session on the last day 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.

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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: Rochester Public Market, the Memorial Art Gallery, Upper Falls Park and the Underground Railroad, Letchwork State park, Rochester International Jazz Festival, Finger Lakes Region, Rochester Rhythm & Blues Festival, a Rochester Red Wings Game and others.

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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 9 weeks. Thus, if selected for the REU you must agree not to take courses or hold a job during the program. Accepting an REU position implies that you agree to be available for the entire nine‐week program. You should consult with your faculty advisor regarding your specific work schedule and work schedule flexibility.

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I am waiting to hear from a job offer. Can I join REU later after hearing the results of this offer?

If you are offered an REU position, you may request a short extension to determine your acceptance status. All REU participants are given a standard 7-day window to respond.  Extensions will be granted to students who have legitimate concerns only, i.e. impending job offer. If you need an extension, please contact the REU Coordinator. Please note that the University has a deadline for when student names must be submitted for summer work; these deadlines cannot be extended. Once you accept an REU position, we expect you to fully participate in the program.

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What is the process of applying for the REU program? What is the selection process?

The REU faculty submit projects for students to choose from; students choose up to 4 of their favorite projects to apply for as REU candidates. The REU coordinator will review applications for completeness, fit within the REU program aims and eligibility. Working with the REU faculty/mentors, students are matched with projects using a combination of both student and faculty preferences. After the students submit their application, they will not be allowed to change their project preferences.  Selected students will receive offer letters with the next steps. Students will have one‐week to decide whether to accept or decline REU assignments.

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Can students change their project preferences?

No.  Unfortunately, due to the complexity of the matching process, students will not be able to change their project preferences. 

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How many offer letters does each student receive?

After the matching process has been finalized, students who have been matched to a project will receive ONE offer letter that states the project to which they have been assigned.  They will have a short grace period to accept or decline the offer by responding/replying all to the offer email.  The faculty/graduate mentors will be cc'd on the email.  Offer letters are typically sent by mid-March, unless otherwise noted.

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Will students that have not been matched to a project be notified?

Yes.  All applicants will be contacted whether or not they receive an offer letter. 

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I was not placed on a project.  Is there any way I can still be a part of REU?

We typically make a round of initial offers, then a second round of offers to other students if anyone from the 1st round declines. If you have been notified that you have not been placed on a project, then we have exhausted all our funding for this year.

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The project I listed as my first choice listed me as their first choice. Why didn't I get placed on this project?

There are many factors to consider when students are placed on projects.  The REU staff tries to accommodate both student and faculty mentor preferences; however, there will be projects and/or students that will not receive their first preference.  In addition, the REU works to offer this wonderful research opportunity to as many students as possible.

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I am not a University of Rochester student; can I enroll in the REU?

The REU program is federally funded by the National Science Foundation, and is intended for undergraduate students from any institution in the United States. This REU Program gives preference to students from institutions other than the University of Rochester who apply.

Please note that applicants must be U.S. Citizens or Permanent Residents.

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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 University of Rochester for graduate school.

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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.

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As an REU participant, are there any restrictions during the summer?

  1. Students must not register for any coursework during their program participation;
  2. Students must not work week outside of their research project duties and REU program seminars, workshops and social activities;
  3. Students must spend a minimum of 9 weeks working in the faculty mentor’s research group with the project they have been assigned to;
  4. Students must meet the eligibility requirements to participate in the REU Program, which include being a U.S. citizen or Permanent Resident;
  5. Students are responsible for submitting supplemental materials, such as proof of citizenship, summer housing application and REU program contract upon acceptance;
  6. Failure to complete the REU summer research commitment may result in the removal of the program and/or the stipend being reversed or partially reversed. 

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