- I am still a first year (Freshman) student. Am I eligible for REU?
Yes, as a first-year student you are absolutely eligible to apply for the REU Program.
- I have previously participated in the REU Program. Can I reapply?
Yes, you can apply again.
- I am not an MSU student; can I enroll in the REU?
Yes, non-MSU students are eligible to apply.
- I am NOT a Citizen or Permanent Resident of the United States. Am I eligible?
No. Funding for the ACRES program is provided by the National Science Foundation, which has the restriction that participants must be Citizens or Permanent Residents of the United States.
- As a REU participant, are there any restrictions during the summer?
REU applicants should be able to commit to working full time for 10 weeks. Due to the intensive nature of this program, students should not plan to enroll in summer coursework or accept other employment during this time. Exceptions may be made for up to 5 units of coursework with prior permission via email from your faculty mentor.
Program elements and expectations
- What is the time commitment for REU? Is it flexible?
The Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program is 10 weeks long. For 2021, the program will run from Monday, May 24th to Friday, July 30th. All REU participants must be present during the entire 10-week duration. These dates are not flexible.
- What is the stipend for the program?
The program provides a $6000 stipend which will be paid in three installments - roughly at the beginning, midpoint and end of the 10-week period.
- Is my 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 be taxed, but if you have other sources of income during the year, then you'll end up paying some income tax on it later. Payment through this program is recorded as a stipend and not earnings, so students should check with their local scholarship/financial aid office for more information about how these funds will be classified.
- Where will I live for the Summer? How does the housing payment work?
In 2021, a decision will be made in early Spring 2021 about whether the program will operate completely online (with limited travel to campus, if the health situation permits) or completely in-person. If the program is held completely online, participants may reside at their normal location and will receive a housing and subsistence support of $250/week, paid in 3 installments along with their stipend. If the program is held in person, all REU participants will live together in on-campus housing, paid for by the REU program. A decision about in-person housing arrangements is yet to be made.
- Do you provide a meal plan?
Typically, all in-person REU students are enrolled in a meal plan which covers up to 200 meals in the 10-week period. Meal credits not used cannot be redeemed for cash. The meal-plan is paid for by the program. However, if the program is held completely online, the housing and subsistence support of $250/week, paid in 3 installments, will replace the meal plan.
- Does the program pay for travel to the REU site?
If the program is offered in-person or short-term travel to campus is required. Round trip travel to and from the REU site is covered up to $600. Our travel office will work with participants to book flights. Participants driving to the site will be reimbursed (at MSU approved rates) up to $500, based on round trip mileage from their destination to the REU site.
- As a REU participant, are there extracurricular activities that I need to participate in during the program?
As part of the 10-week summer research experience, students are expected to: (i) work full-time during the Summer on a substantive, faculty-guided research project; (ii) attend seminars, featuring speakers who will discuss their computational and data science research; (ii) complete a research computing bootcamp; (iii) participate in professional development activities; and (iv) prepare and deliver bi-weekly project updates, a final report and poster presentation. It is important to ensure that you are available for the entire REU Program, start to finish. The last presentation and poster sessions are well attended, and are excellent opportunities to show off your hard work while networking.
- What is the typical workload as an REU participant and what is expected of me?
As a REU participant you are committed to working a maximum of 40-hours per week for 10 weeks. Thus, you should not enroll in the REU Program if you plan on carrying a significant coursework load, or holding a part time job. Accepting a REU position implies that you agree to be available for the entire ten-week program. You should consult with your faculty advisor regarding your specific work schedule and work schedule flexibility.
- What is the process of applying for the REU Program? What is the selection process?
Faculty submit projects for undergraduates to apply to via the REU Program. These project descriptions give a broad overview of research direction faculty are pursuing; students are encouraged to email faculty/mentors to discuss more about the specific project. Students may choose up to 3 of their favorite projects in ranked order. Faculty/mentors are notified of the students that chose their project. Faculty mentors will review the REU candidates and submit their top candidate preferences. Students are matched with projects using a combination of both student and faculty preferences. At this point, faculty may reach out to their top student picks. Selected students will receive offer letters. Students will have a few days to decide whether to accept or decline REU assignments. We strongly encourage students to use this time to discuss with faculty what their specific Summer project might focus on.
- Have my application materials been received?
You and your references will automatically receive an email once your application has been submitted. We will not email you when your references are submitted. However, it is a good idea to follow up with your references once you’ve submitted your application.
- What are my chances of being accepted into the REU program?
Last year, we funded 10 students out of a pool of 127 applicants. This year, we anticipate funding about 10 students.
- When will I know if I have been selected?
We begin making offers in the first week of March, and try to notify students beginning March month end through mid-April at the latest regarding their application status.
- How many offer letters does each student receive?
After the application process has been finalized, students that have been matched with a project will receive ONE offer letter that states the project that they have been assigned to. They will have a short period to accept or decline the offer by responding/replying all to the offer email. The faculty/mentors will be cc'd on the email.
- 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.
- Whom should I ask for letters?*
Since this is a an undergraduate research program, the most useful letters are from previous research mentors. If you’ve done research before, get a letter from your mentor, even if your research was in a different area than you’d like to pursue.
If you've never done research, get letters from professors in the areas you’re most interested in pursuing research if admitted to the ACRES program (physics, mathematics, etc.). You want to ask professors you've taken classes from, graded problem sets for, or talked to for course and career advice. How well the professor knows you is more important than your grade in his or her class. It's easy to feel anonymous in classes at big universities, especially during the first two years, but professors are used to writing recommendations for students they don't know very well. Don't be tempted to ask for letters from elementary or high school teachers, your swim coach, your boss from when you worked as a clerk in a department store last summer, or even the graduate student who taught your physics lab.
Also, if you transferred from a community college to a university, get letters from university professors even if they know you less well. University faculty will compare you to other university students.
- Is an unofficial transcript sufficient?
Yes, this is preferred.
- How can I obtain an unofficial transcript?
There are several options. At many schools, students have access to a student portal that lists the information we need. For each course you took, we want to see the course number, name, units, grade, and which term you took it. You can save this file as a pdf and upload it to our site. If you can't get access to this information online, or can't save it once you do, you can either take a snapshot of your screen or order an official transcript sent to yourself, which you can scan and upload.