Frequently Asked Questions
Eligibility and Selection Process
How do I find which research projects are being offered this year?
Our program is quite large (approximately 70 students funded from a variety of sources), so we do not have a listing of research projects available prior to the program. Applicants may find it useful to refer to past student projects at www.engage.seas.harvard.edu, and to look at the research of individual faculty associated with each funding source to find areas of interest.
I am NOT a Citizen or Permanent Resident of the United States. Am I eligible?
Most of our funding for the program is provided by the National Science Foundation, which has the restriction that participants must be Citizens or Permanent Residents of the
United States. The Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering and the Rowland
Institute at Harvard do not carry that restriction. If you are an international student, you may find this link on obtaining the appropriate visa useful:
http://www.hio.harvard.edu/immigration/obtainingavisa/. Please note that if you are not already in the United States on an F-1 visa, the process for obtaining a visa can take as long as 2-6 months.
I have been in contact with a faculty member or researcher at Harvard, and would like to apply for REU funding to sponsor my research this summer.
Faculty or researchers must be associated with one of our funding sources. Among research groups that are associated with the various funding sources, we have more faculty who are interested in hosting students than we have capacity each year – therefore, all official offers for the REU are made through the Office of Educational Outreach Programs. If a faculty member or researcher tells you that he or she will host you in his or her research lab, it is not a guarantee of REU funding.
I really want to get an internship at Harvard. How can I increase my chances?
First, complete and submit your application. Ask people who know you well to write letters in support of your application. Second, apply to other programs at Harvard. The
Graduate School of Arts and Sciences has compiled a list of all summer intern programs based at Harvard, at http://gsas.harvard.edu/hils/summerinternships.html.
I am a Harvard student. Am I eligible for REU funding?
Much our funding is from the National Science Foundation (NSF), which in many cases strongly encourages grant recipients to reserve the majority of NSF-funded REU spots for students coming from outside the home institution. This approach gives students the opportunity to experience research environments at different universities. We encourage you to explore these opportunities external to Harvard for yourself, particularly if you are interested in graduate school. If you would like to stay at Harvard for the summer, we strongly encourage you to apply for sources of funding and support that are sponsored by Harvard in addition to applying for REU funding. We have had many students sponsored by HCRP or other Harvard funds participate in our REU activities. Please see these links for potential funding sources for your summer research:
• Program for Research in Science and Engineering (PRISE) – deadline mid-February
http://prise.harvard.edu, see also this helpful link for funding for summer research: http://priselink.harvard.edu/funding_your_summer_research.html.
• Harvard College Research Program (HCRP) – deadline late March
• Faculty Aide (matches faculty funds, submitted by faculty) – deadline mid-April
Please note that the REU has many program elements and weekly meetings – if you are selected for and accept REU funding, you are committing to be a part of our SEAS REU community and participate in these activities. Therefore, if you receive a PRISE award, we do not award REU funding, since both programs have substantial commitments outside of research.
How does the selection process work?
Some programs use a committee to select the students who will be in the program, and then match the students either in the spring, or at the program start. Our program’s process is a little different. Once our applications have closed, we open our application database to faculty and mentors who are interested in working with a student during the summer. As soon as a student is selected, an offer with a short project description is made to the student, and the mentor(s) are copied on the email. Students are given 1-2 weeks to respond. Once the student accepts the offer, we will send official paperwork. This process sometimes takes more time, especially for a program of our size. We try to notify students mid-April at the latest regarding their status in the program. If you have any questions during the selection window in March or April, please contact us and we will respond as soon as possible.
What are my chances of being accepted into the REU program?
Last year, we funded ~75 students out of a pool of 1000 applicants. This year, we anticipate funding about the same number of students.
When will I know if I have been selected?
We begin making offers in the second week of March, and try to notify students mid- April at the latest regarding their status in the program. Offers are made as soon as research mentors send their selections to our office for review.
I have pending offers from other programs. Can I get an early decision?
We do not make offers until after the application deadline so that all applicants have an equal chance. If you have a pending offer, please email us and we will put a note on your application with the date on which you must notify the other program.
Program elements and expectations
What are the program dates? Are they flexible?
Our program dates are June 8 – August 15, and are set by housing availability. We will not have housing for students outside of these dates. For students on the trimester or quarter system, we have in the past had students start a few days late or take exams here at Harvard with a proctor. These decisions are made on a case-by-case basis in consultation with the research group hosting the student.
What is the stipend for the program?
Our stipend will be $5000 for the 10 week program, and is set by the amounts in each funding source. We also provide up to $350 for travel to/from the program. We do not provide a meal plan.
Is housing provided?
Yes, interns will be housed on the Harvard campus, a 10-minute walk, or a short ride on public transportation, from most laboratories. Housing is provided free of charge.
What is the housing like/what amenities are provided with housing?
Students will likely be living in Mather House in single rooms in suites with shared bathrooms. Custodial staff will clean bathrooms every 2 weeks. We will provide one microwave/fridge combination for each suite. There is no access for summer program participants to kitchen facilities in Mather House. Rooms are NOT air-conditioned.
Do you provide a meal plan?
We do not provide a meal plan, but students will have the option to purchase one. The laboratories and residence halls are very close to many inexpensive restaurants.
I would like to take a class or have another part-time job during the summer.
Research and professional development activities associated with the REU will keep you busy. Summer courses are a significant time commitment. Therefore, we do not allow REU students to take classes during the program. Likewise, part-time jobs are not allowed.
This site is funded by the National Science Foundation REU Site program under Grant No. 1262895.
Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recomendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the NSF or other sponsors.