Research Experience for Undergrads

ruler-1A Research Experience for Undergraduates (or REU) is a program where undergrads do research with a faculty member and receive a salary for doing so.  Many of them are summer programs where they provide you with housing and a salary along with the chance to do research.  It’s a good deal all around.  It’s a great chance to get some experience.   It gives you the chance to see if you’re interested in a particular area, or even interested in doing research in general (for example, while doing a REU in mechanical engineering, certain people learned that they liked doing research, but definitely not in mechanical engineering!).  It also looks very good on your resume when you’re applying for jobs and graduate school.

If you are interested in the idea of doing an REU, there are people at OU who’ve done one and can tell you what it’s like.  If you’d like to see what sort of REU’s are out there, go to the math department’s undergraduate webpage and you’ll find a link to the list of all the REU’s in mathematics funded by the National Science Foundation.

Many of the REU’s have an application deadline at the end of January or beginning of February.  If you’re interested in applying, you should start looking at programs now so that you have time to do applications and get letters of recommendation in time for the deadlines.

Closer to home, there is a REU at OU on metrology.  Who knew that there was still research to be done on the simple act of measuring things?  If you’re interested in engineering, or are interested in staying in Norman for the summer and doing something more interesting than working retail, then this could be just your thing.  They sent us the following and asked us to share it with you:


I am pleased to announce that the School of Industrial Engineering at the University of Oklahoma will be hosting its Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) in Metrology for its eighth summer.  The Metrology REU is sponsored by the National Science Foundation and the Department of Defense.

The Metrology REU gives undergraduate students in engineering, science, and mathematics the opportunity to conduct research in several exciting areas, including coordinate tolerance metrology, roughness metrology, reverse engineering, biomanufacturing applications, and nano-metrology, among others.

The REU will take place from June 3 to August 7, 2009, and offers a summer stipend of $3000 with housing, some meals, and travel paid.

Please see the attached flier and visit our (soon to be re-designed) website,, for more information.  Questions can be directed to

We hope to see you at the OU Metrology REU this summer!


Addendum:  We’ve also received the following announcement for an REU:

Dear Colleague:

On behalf of the College of Engineering at Boston University, I am
pleased to announce that the College will host National Science
Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Program in
Photonics research this year.

This program encourages students from all engineering, mathematics and
natural science disciplines to apply. Specific program details and
requirements can be found on our website at The
application system is now open for students to begin the application
process. The deadline is February 15, 2009.

I thank you in advance for sharing this information with your students
and colleagues. If you have any questions or would like a flyer to post
in your department, please contact us at or at the phone
number listed below.


Sarah Silva

Addendum 2:

Esteemed colleague,

San Diego State University is pleased to invite applications to its
Summer 2009 Mathematics Research Experiences for Undergraduates and
Teachers program.  The program dates this year will be June 22 —
August 14, and the projects will be in biomathematics and mathematics

Please announce to any interested and qualified undergraduates,
inservice teachers, as well as to any graduate students interested in
leading a project team.  The program will pay a stipend and provide
room and board for nonlocal participants.  The application deadline is
March 2. For a detailed program description and application
instructions/materials, please see the program website:

Thank you for your assistance in sharing this opportunity, as well as
with writing letters of recommendation.

Best wishes,
Vadim Ponomarenko
Program Director

Addendum 3:

Here is yet another summer research opportunity.


3 thoughts on “Research Experience for Undergrads

  1. Let me just add my recommendation for REU or other summer research programs. It’s a great way to find out what research in mathematics is all about. (Here’s a hint: it doesn’t involve problems listed in a book with answers to the odd-numbered ones in the back!)

    There are programs for students at all levels of mathematical study. Some (like the Summer Mathematics Program for Women Undergraduates at Carleton College) are for students just finishing their first or second year of college-level math, while others require students to be further along in their coursework.

  2. Here is an REU opportunity (at Carleton College – see my previous comment) for women undergraduates who are in their first or second year of college:

    The deadline for applications is February 19, 2009. Please pass this along to any women who may be eligible.

  3. Pingback: It’s REU Season! « OU Math Club

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