Selection Process

How does the selection process work?

The review and selection process occurs in several steps:

  1. First, submitted applications are reviewed by the REU team to verify applicant eligibility and to confirm all the required application materials have been provided. An applicant must satisfy all eligibility criteria and have submitted an application comprising all required materials in order to be considered.
  2. Next, eligible and compliant applications are released to applicants’ first-choice research area for merit review and possible selection. Participating faculty select students whose applications are highest ranked and whose skills, knowledge, and interests are best aligned with available projects.
  3. Applications that were not selected by first-choice are then released to second-choice research area for review and consideration.
  4. Applications that were not selected by first, or second-choice research areas are released third choice research groups that have projects available in applicants’ designated research areas.

A student may receive only one position offer and if an offer is declined, another will not be made that term.

How are applications judged?

Applications will be assessed based upon the applicant’s performance in completed academic coursework, and especially coursework in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM), strength of recommendation letter, expressed scientific interests, and the applicant's background, experience, accomplishments, and interests as they relate to the research programs to the Physics/JILA research areas.

What are my chances of getting selected?

The chances of being selected depend on factors including the quality of a given application, the total number of applications submitted, the number of applications requesting the same first, second and third choice laboratory placements, the number of available positions opportunities for each research group, and the availability of funds. These factors vary each year so it is not possible to predict an individual’s chance of being selected for any given application cycle.

When and how will I find out if I've been selected?

Offers will be made to students as early as late February and this cycle can take until mid-April to conclude. You will receive an email message from the REU team notifying you of your selection. This email includes a details from the Physics/JILA REU Program Director explaining the programs requirement and provisions of your appointment.

Please make sure the email address on your account is current.

If I don't get selected this time, will my application be reviewed again next year automatically or do I have to reapply?

No. You must reapply.

If I request a certain field of study am I guaranteed to be placed in it if I am accepted into the program?

We try to match the applicant’s interests with available projects and, but this is not always possible. Faculty read applications carefully and look for students they think would benefit from being in their lab and research group.


What if I can only participate for a portion of the appointment period due to other commitments?

Participation requires a full-time commitment for the duration of the appointment period. You should plan to be at the CU full time and avoid obligations that will interrupt your appointment. Appointments are for 10 weeks during the summer.

Is there any flexibility in start and end dates?

Our program has set dates. If you are extended an offer and you have restricted availability, check with us to see if it can accommodate you.

Do I get any vacation during the appointment period?

The program does not include vacation or sick leave. You are not expected to be present on days that the University is closed due to a holiday. Most faculty will help you design a schedule that is mutually agreeable.

How often do I receive a stipend payment and where does it come from?

You will receive your stipend payment via direct deposit. Once you have accepted an offer, you will be sent a follow up email with onboarding instructions.

What is my tax liability for the stipend I am paid as a participant in this program?

We cannot give participants tax advice. All stipends paid to you are reported to the Internal Revenue. We do not withhold taxes from these payments; participants should consult a tax expert with their questions.

What kind of travel reimbursement will I receive?

Participants are reimbursed for one domestic round trip (if permanent address is more than 50 miles from the host laboratory) up to a maximum of $500.00. Transportation expenses will be reimbursed on the basis of the most direct route and detailed expense receipts are required. Travel by a private automobile will be reimbursed at the current state government rate or the cost of the lowest commercial airfare, whichever is lower.

Where will I live?

Housing is coordinated with CU’s Conference Services and you will be housed in CU’s student dormitory. You will be assigned an account with Conference Services for your housing and dining services. A sustenance award is credited directly to your account help offset lodging and meal plan expenses. Details about this award are included in your offer letter and Statement of Understanding.

Does the program pay any tuition costs I might incur while participating if I am taking this for college credit?

No. Tuition and fees incurred during your participation in the program are not reimbursable.

Do I have to prepare a report or give a presentation at the end of my appointment?

Yes, you will be asked to prepare a research report, in consultation with your faculty advisor and research group. You will also be required to provide oral presentation. We require oral presentations at the end of the appointment.

What should I expect from the mentoring relationship at the laboratory?

Your faculty advisor and their research group provides the following: on-going technical guidance and advice; appropriate materials, equipment, technical and clerical support, and office space for you to perform your research activities; and a professional and stimulating intellectual atmosphere.


What is the source of funding for this program?

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Office of Science provides the funding for this program.