If your question is not answered below, please don't hesitate to email us at PathwaysToCUPhysics@colorado.edu. We would love chat with you!

Program Logistics

How does the program work?

The goal of the pathways program is to provide exciting research experience and inclusive mentoring to underrepresented physics students, leading towards graduate school applications, at CU or elsewhere. Some research placements will result from long-standing partnerships between CU and specific MSIs, while others will result from individual enquiries and applications from students themselves.

While the program will be tailored to each individual, all scholars will spend at least one summer (10 weeks) doing research at CU Boulder. In addition, this summer program will provide professional development opportunities, particularly focused on the graduate school application process.

Please see the ‘undergraduate’ page for more information about the application process. All applicants will be evaluated holistically, including overall and science GPA, personal statement, research experience, and recommendations from science faculty. 


Who can apply to the Pathways to CU Physics Program?

Any student attending an MSI and/or from a group that is underrepresented* in physics is encouraged to apply to the Pathways to CU Physics program. The student must be a rising junior or higher with a strong foundation in physics and mathematics, and be excited about physics research! There is no minimum GPA to apply. The hiring decision is made jointly by both CU and (for non CU students) home institution faculty.

*Underrepresented students in physics include: women, underrepresented minorities (African Americans, Hispanic Americans, American Indians, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, and other Pacific Islanders.), first-generation students and students with disabilities.

Do you have to have a minimum GPA or a certain major to participate?

No. We are looking for students with a strong foundation in physics and mathematics and (most importantly!) who are excited about getting involved in physics research.

Does the student need to be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident?

Summer positions at CU Boulder may be limited to U.S. citizens or permanent residents. This is because some funding agencies for these types of student research positions are limited to U.S. citizens or permanent residents. Applications from non-U.S. citizens will be reviewed case by case.

Does the student get paid?

Yes. In the summer the student will become a CU visiting researcher and will work full time for 10 weeks. They will be paid a work stipend and sustenance/housing stipend. Travel to CU Boulder will be reimbursed.

During the academic year the student will either be paid for their research work or be working for academic credit.

Does the student recieve any mentoring outside the research group?

Yes. This program is built around the co-mentoring of students by faculty from their home institution and CU. During the summer project at CU, the student will join the Physics/JILA Research Experience for Undergraduates summer program. This group meets weekly. Program participants attend a series of professional development presentations including faculty-led scientific talks acquainting the students with the scope of department research, speakers from industry, and workshops on oral and written science communication. The student will be required to submit a written paper and give an oral presentation at the end of the summer program. In addition there may be opportunities to attend a national conference.

In cases of Pathways MSI partnerships, will the faculty member at the minority-serving institution visit with the CU Physics faculty member?

Pathways aims to build long standing partnerships, focused on undergraduate research, between faculty at CU and other institutions, in particular MSIs. Faculty in a Pathways partnership will be in regular remote contact (email/Zoom etc) providing cross-institutional mentoring for students in the program. Funds are prioritized for students, but if an in-person faculty visit would be valuable for the project, that will certainly be considered.

I have questions about the CU Physics REU program, where can I find answers?

Please see the REU/Jila FAQs

Contact the Pathways Program if you have additional questions: PathwaysToCUPhysics@colorado.edu. We would be happy to help!

Research Opportunities

What research areas are involved in the Pathways program and open for opportunities?

For a closer look at the research we conduct at CU Physics, please go to the CU Physics Research website and click on the topics on the right side of the page to explore research groups and faculty. Pathways to CU Physics is a program supported by the whole department. Most research groups include undergraduate researchers and would be excited to consider Pathways students and partnerships!

Minority-serving Institutions (MSIs)

What's a minority-serving institution?

Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCUs) are institutions of higher education established prior to 1964, for the primary purpose of educating African-Americans. The majority of HBCUs are located in the Southeastern states, the District of Columbia, and the Virgin Islands. HBCUs comprise 3% of America's institutions of higher education, yet enroll 16% of all African-American students in higher education and award 24% of all baccalaureate degrees earned by African-Americans nationwide.

Hispanic-serving Institutions (HSIs) are accredited, post-secondary, higher educational institutions with at least 25%total full-time enrollment of Hispanic undergraduate students. HSIs include four-year and two-year, public and private educational institutions. HSIs enroll 40% of all Hispanic-American students of higher education.

The Asian American & Pacific Islander (AAPI) community is one of the fastest growing populations in the U.S. Projections indicate that by 2050 this population will double in size. As a result, the education of AAPIs will be critical in achieving the educational goals of the US.

The first Tribal College & University (TCU) was created on a remote reservation community on the Navajo Nation. They now exist throughout Native Country. The 35 public and private higher educational institutions provide a response to the higher education needs of American Indians, and generally serve geographically-isolated populations that have no other means of accessing education beyond the high school level.

Source : What is an MSI?

Is my school a minority-serving institution?