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Undergraduate Programs

Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU)

People at an REU event.The University of Rochester is one of the smallest and most collegiate schools among the nation’s top research universities. Our goal is to develop students as researchers, collaborators, and mentors for academia and industry.

The Kearns Center provides academic advising and coordinates professional and social activities for many summer research programs within AS&E, including four National Science Foundation (NSF) REU programs:

Our best research students come through recommendations from faculty and fellow students who recognize talent at all levels.

NSF REU students receive:

people sitting on the grass by the sea
  • A $4,500 research stipend
  • Round-trip travel/travel reimbursement
  • On-campus housing and meal plan
  • An assigned advisor and mentor
  • GRE test preparation classes
  • Graduate school preparation seminars
  • Instruction in research methods
  • One credit of academic coursework
  • Complimentary tickets to local museums, sporting events, and/or concerts

The Advancing Human Health, from Nano to Network program is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and is currently in a renewal year. Program operation for Summer 2020 is contingent upon successfully being renewed by the National Science Foundation. 


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 should be notified in the beginning of March. The programs are anticipated to run from late May to late July, 2020.

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 this:








Day off

9 a.m. —GRE class

10 a.m.—Lab

5 p.m.—Workshop

8:30 a.m.—Lab

6 p.m.—Talk (optional, dinner included)

8:30 a.m.—Lab


1 p.m.—Lab

8 a.m.—Lab

Noon—Meet with mentor

1 p.m.—Lab

5 p.m.—Talk

10 a.m.—Lab

JazzFest (optional, multiple events)


The REU program concludes with a day-long Summer Research Symposium that brings together over 80 summer research scholars from our REU programs, Xerox Engineering Research Fellows program, and the Ronald E. McNair program. The Symposium includes lightning talks by students in the Advancing Human Health, From Nano to Network REU program as well as an opportunity to engage with the UR community and community at large through poster presentations. REU students are also required to submit a final paper, as specified by their faculty mentor.

Past Participants

Our 2019 REU researchers participated from:

  • Liberal Arts colleges like Bucknell
  • Other R1 Research Universities like Columbia
  • Community Colleges like Laney College (CA)
  • Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) like Norfolk State
  • Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) like Cal State Long Beach


Our 2019 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

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 will receive a housing allowance to pay for a local rental unit or sublet.

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.).

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.

Who handles the travel arrangements for REU students?

The Kearns Center arranges and pays for travel round-trip travel for most REU students to/from the city of their choice in the continental U.S. Baggage fees are the responsibility of each student. If a student wishes to drive to campus, the Center will reimburse the student for travel costs up to $450 and payment is made at the end of the summer. The reimbursement is based on the mileage rate established by the University (the rate was $0.58 per mile for the 2018-2019 academic year).

How is the stipend paid?

The stipend is paid out over 4 – 5 equal payments, depending on the pay cycle, and payments are made on the 15th 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.

How are REU students selected?

The selection process is based on the objectives of each grant and seems to match students with research that interests them. REU programs funded by the National Science Foundation generally seek to attract a diverse pool of talented students.

When will I know if I have been selected for an REU?

Award notices typically come in two phases – initial selection and waitlist selection – with initial notices going out in late February/early March and waitlist matches going out in mid-March. 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.

Information Sessions
The REU Experience at the University of Rochester Webinars
This fall the Kearns Center is hosting four virtual information sessions via Zoom for prospective REU students. Each webinar will feature an overview of the REU structure and programming, details about transportation, lodging, and meals, and Q&A with a student and faculty mentor team from 2019. 
  • Wednesday, October 9 at 2 p.m. EDT (1 p.m. CDT/12 p.m. MDT/11 a.m. PDT)
  • Thursday, October 24 at 12 p.m. EDT (11 a.m. CDT/10 a.m. MDT/9 a.m. PDT)
  • Wednesday, November 6 at 3:30 p.m. EST (2:30 p.m. CST/1:30 p.m. MST/ 12:30 p.m. PST)
  • Friday, November 15 at 3 p.m. EST (2 p.m. CST/1 p.m.  MST/12 p.m. PST)
To RSVP and receive the Zoom login for your session complete and submit the Webinar Registration Form.
All sessions are hosting on Zoom, an easy-to-use, web-based webinar tool suitable for laptops/desktops and smart phones (app available). Zoom works best when you have a microphone and speaker available, which comes standard on most laptops and phones.