Frequently Asked Questions

How do I contact the REU program for further information?

If you cannot find the information you are looking for on our website, please fill out the Contact Us form here.

Please note that we receive over 500 applications and over 1000 reference letters. It is not possible for us to respond to individual requests for the status of applications. We will contact you if your application file is not complete.

Final selections will be made March 1, 2020.

Who is eligible to apply to the REU program?

All applicants must be enrolled in a bachelor degree program at the time of REU enrollment. Seniors who will graduate by the summer of 2020 are not eligible to apply. Applicants must be a US citizen or a US permanent resident (Green Card holder).

What is the deadline for applications?

The application and two letters of recommendation must be submitted before February 1, 2020.

We recommend that, after submitting your application, you contact your references to make sure they have received our request for letters.

What kind of academic background is required for the REU program?

A strong science background is obviously beneficial. An astronomy major or minor is not required. You will learn a lot of astronomy through the exposure that this program offers, in the research program, the observing, and the seminar series.

What other skills would be useful for my application?

Computer programming skills are a plus since much of modern astronomical research (image analysis, data processing, solving equations, etc.) is computationally intensive. Good verbal and written communication skills are useful because of the interactive nature of the program and because REU participants are expected to write up their research and give a presentation to the Institute at the end of the summer. Previous research experience, however, is not a requirement.

How many applicants apply to the program each year?

The IfA REU program is extremely competitive. We normally receive over 500 applications.

How are students matched with a faculty member and research plan?

Applicants must choose two research areas from the list available on the application form. They must also choose two mentors in those areas. The selection committee will review applications and match applicants with mentors in consultation with the selected mentors and in consideration of the merit of the application materials.

When will I know if my application is successful?

Successful applicants will be contacted on March 2, 2020. All applicants will know of the status of their applications before the end of March.

Institute for Astronomy

We are one of the largest university astronomy programs in the world.