REU astronomy physics program stands for Research Experience for Undergraduates. It is usually a summer term during which students spend time working on a research project.

What is a REU in astronomy or physics program ?

Such a program selects a handful of undergraduate students to participate in an exciting research project with faculty supervisors, their graduate students and other undergraduates in the program.

It is an incredible opportunity to step in the research area, give talks and presentations as well as writing scientific articles.

What Do They Teach ?

Within the fields of astronomy and physics, there are multiple categories that one cannot all master at once. Students are advised to choose a specialty to pursue.

It can range from studying condensed matter, gravitation, nuclear physics theory, general relativity to more engineering instruments like balloon-based experiments. 

How Does It Work ?

Most programs have more applicants than positions available. The latest to apply is usually the beginning of the year for the summer term. Try to get your application early and write to all the universities you are interested in.

For most applications, you will have to provide reference letters from your professors, a letter of motivation and transcripts.

Who Can Apply ? Why Would You Apply ?

Most undergrads who completed an introduction to physics program can apply to a REU program. They do not have to have declared their major but consistency in their studies is definitely a plus.

If you want to have a better idea of what astronomers or engineers are required to do or know, this is a good start. You will have more experience in that domain and will start making connections.

Social networking early in your career can open doors when searching for a job, applying to graduate school or finding a Master's or PhD program.

What Is the Difference Between each University ? What Choice Is The Best To Make ?

If you have no idea about where you want to go, focus on what you would like to do. If you aim to go to graduate school, think about a research area that you would like to study. Doing a REU in a university gives you the opportunity to meet with professors who can become your supervisor later on.

Each university has its advantages. Look up the list of teachers and researchers. You can email them or their graduate students to know more about the working environment.

The prestige of the school will also add some strength to your resume.


The REU astronomy and physics programs give you a wonderful glimpse into the world of astronomy. With facilities and equipments specific to the field, you will maybe discover a career made for you.