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Q.  What are the eligibility criteria? Are international students eligible?

The UT Astronomy NSF REU program is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) federal funding agency and as per NSF rules, eligible applicants must be a U.S. citizen, U.S. national, or permanent resident. We are bound by federal rules and cannot make any exceptions. We recommend that international students get advice from the undergraduate advisor at their home institution on summer research opportunities available in the US and globally for international students. Our UT website lists a subset of summer programs in the US and globally and students can contact these programs directly for more information and to find out whether they accept international students.

Applicants must already be enrolled as an undergraduate student (outside UT Austin) at the time of applying to our REU program and must have a graduation date of April 2025 or later. The UT Austin Astronomy NSF REU Summer 2024 program will run for ten weeks from Saturday May 25/2024 to Saturday August 3/2024 and only students who can commit to participating in person in all ten weeks of the program are eligible for admission. We especially encourage applications from students who are from institutions with limited research opportunities or/and are from backgrounds traditionally underrepresented backgrounds in STEM (e.g., first-generation college students, Pell grant recipients, students with disabilities, U.S. veterans, gender minorities, and racial/ethnic minorities, including African Americans, Hispanics, American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians or Other Pacific Islanders). 

Q) Does the NSF REU program admit undergraduates who are already attending UT Austin?

In order to be in compliance with our proposal submitted to the National Science Foundation (NSF), the UT Austin Astronomy NSF REU program cannot admit and use any NSF funds to support undergraduates at UT Austin. However, we open our REU professional development seminars throughout the summer to  astronomy majors at UT Austin.

Q.  Do you have a list of research projects you will be offering this summer?

We offer projects that span a wide range of research areas as specified on the REU website. During the application process on the Qualtrics form, you will specify your three preferred research areas in order of ranking.  We do not know the exact projects and mentors ahead of time, but the project title and mentors will be included when making offers to applicants. 

Q. When are letters of reference due and how should they be sent?

Reference letters are due on the same date as the application deadline and are to be uploaded directly to the link posted on the "How to Apply" page by the Refence contact.

Q.  Do you require official transcripts or will unofficial transcripts do?

Official transcripts are required.  An unofficial transcript may be submitted at the time of application, but official transcripts are due on the same date as the application deadline, which is posted on the webpage. 

If your school system can only send an official transcript, please have the transcript sent to yourself and then upload the official transcript.

Q. What type of financial support does the program offer?

Our REU program provides very generous financial and logistical support. We cover the cost of round-trip travel from the student's home institution or residence in the USA to the UT Austin campus, on-campus housing, background checks, gym fees, poster printing, as well as a round trip to McDonald observatory (if pandemic health and safety protocols allow a visit to the observatory). We also provide an allowance of $800 per week (which includes the NSF stipend of $700 and an additional supplement) for ten weeks. This allowance is used to cover meals and other expenses. In addition, we also provide funds for REU students to attend a future professional meeting (e.g., the AAS meeting) to present their research results from our REU program.