Participating in scientific research can be a highly valuable and rewarding part of your undergraduate education here at CU. Many students develop their interests, skills and contacts by working on one or more projects during their time at university. Research programs range from volunteer to paid to paid+housing/living expense allowance.
Working in a research program can also be a significant help in ensuring success in your post-graduation plans. Research experience is highly recommended for those who are considering post-graduate academic programs, and can help you decide whether this is the right path for you. For any career path, a research advisor can provide letters of reference and valuable contacts. Being able to describe your research accomplishments can make your resume a standout when applying for nearly any type of job after graduation.
For any research position, students are advised to start looking early! Many programs are very competitive and some have very early deadlines or specific skill requirements (e.g. coding). Many will also require recommendation letters which means you will need to find writers and give them plenty of advance notice. Make sure you read through the Are you Ready for Research? page to ensure you're prepared to start applying for research opportunities.
**Note: All programs and web addresses are current as of writing (and we’ll try to keep this up-to-date) but as web addresses and programs come-and-go some links may no longer work. Please notify the APS department if you find anything out of date or have new opportunities to suggest.**
Many thanks to the Summer Science Program for many of the resource links below
CU Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP)
UROP affords undergraduates a unique educational experience of collaborating with a faculty mentor on the design and implementation of a project. At the same time, faculty have the opportunity to work closely with students and receive valuable assistance with their own research or professional activity. UROP adds a new dimension to the undergraduate experience. It also encourages students to conduct research and pursue academic interests outside of their regular courses by employing them to work on special projects. Projects are expected to contribute to the student's academic development.
CU/LASP Research Experience for Undergraduates
The University of Colorado Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP) invites undergraduates to apply for a paid summer research experience for highly motivated students interested in solar and space physics. Students will come to Boulder, Colorado for 10 weeks to work on a research project with a mentor. The topic areas span the field of solar and space physics, from instrument hardware to data analysis to modeling of the Sun, the Sun-Earth system, the near-Earth environment, or the heliosphere.
If you’re looking for a summer REU in planetary science, our professional organization has just put together a clearinghouse for all REU’s involving planetary science. There are nearly twenty posted so far.
AAS Committee on the Status of Minorities in Astronomy
Great resources for undergraduates looking for REUs, Internships, Scholarships, Travel Grants & Bridge programs.
Astronomy REUs (Nationwide)
The Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and supports active research participation by undergraduate students in astronomical research. REU projects involve students in meaningful ways in ongoing research programs or in research projects specifically designed for the REU program. Students may not apply to NSF to participate. Students apply directly to REU Site.
CU Career Services Resources for Internships
Career Services defines an internship as a hands-on, career-related experience that supplements classroom academic experience to enhance the student’s education. Internships can be paid or unpaid, and students may or may not receive credit for the experience.
The NASA DEVELOP National Program fosters an interdisciplinary research environment where applied science research projects are conducted under the guidance of NASA and partner science advisors. DEVELOP is unique in that young professionals lead research projects that focus on utilizing NASA Earth observations to address community concerns and public policy issues. With the competitive nature and growing societal role of science and technology in today’s global workplace, DEVELOP is fostering an adept corps of tomorrow’s scientists and leaders.
DEVELOP bridges the gap between NASA Earth Science and society, building capacity in both participants and partner organizations to better prepare them to handle the challenges that face our society and future generations.
Must be a current high school, college, or graduate school student at an accredited US school, at least 18 years of age and able to provide personal transportation to and from the DEVELOP location. Spring term deadline late October, summer term deadline early February.
Space Astronomy Summer Program (SASP)
Each summer, the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) brings a dozen highly motivated college students to Baltimore, Maryland, for a Space Astronomy Summer Program (SASP). STScI is the scientific operations center for the Hubble Space Telescope and the future James Webb Space Telescope. The SAS Program runs from mid-June to mid-August, and is designed for upper division undergraduates with a strong interest in space astronomy. Students work individually with STScI researchers and staff on research projects that might include data reduction and interpretation, software development, scientific writing, preparing data for public releases. The program affords students the opportunity to attend lectures on a variety of exciting topics related to space astronomy, the Hubble, and James Webb Space Telescopes.
The Space Astronomy Summer Program provides students a fun, educational experience within a team-spirited environment. Students will receive a comparable monetary stipend, housing assistance, and travel to and from Baltimore.
University Space Research Association
The Education Programs Office (EPO) offers multiple internship programs to high school, undergraduate, and graduate students who are interested in exploring the career possibilities at NASA. EPO programs encourage academic achievement and provide valuable on-the-job training and exposure to a variety of career fields directly related to NASA’s technical workforce.
Amgen Scholars allows undergraduates from across the globe to participate in cutting-edge research opportunities at world-class institutions. 17 leading institutions across the U.S., Europe and Japan currently host the summer program.
Undergraduate participants benefit from undertaking a research project under top faculty, being part of a cohort-based experience of seminars and networking events, and taking part in a symposium in their respective region (U.S., Europe or Japan) where they meet their peers, learn about biotechnology, and hear from leading scientists.
American Astronomical Society Resources for Internships & Scholarships
The National Space Club offers a major scholarship each year to encourage study in the STEM- related fields. The scholarship, which includes the opportunity to serve as the Keynote speaker at the Goddard Memorial Dinner, the premier networking event in the Aerospace field, as well as $10,000 is awarded, to a U.S. citizen in at least the junior year of an accredited U.S. High School through Graduate University, who, in the judgment of the award committee, shows the greatest interest and aptitude.
The Dr. Robert H. Goddard Scholarship
The National Space Club offers a major scholarship each year to encourage study in the field of engineering and science. The scholarship, in the amount of $10,000, is awarded to a U.S. citizen in at least the junior year of an accredited university, who, in the judgment of the award committee, shows the greatest interest and aptitude.
Women in Aerospace Scholarship
Women in Aerospace (WIA) is offering two merit-based scholarships to young women who are rising seniors in college and studying aerospace fields. The application process is relatively simple.