Research Opportunities

Links and Resources for Undergraduates at Cal

How to find out about research opportunities for undergraduates on Campus: 
  • research.berkeley.edu: This is the campus-wide website for undergraduate research. Here, you can find out about funding applications for semester and summer programs across all fields. Browse away! The number of opportunities can be a bit overwhelming, so we’ve picked out a few highlights that physical science students may be interested in:
    1. Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships (SURF): Every year, the SURF program funds undergraduates in the College of Letters and Science to complete summer research on a project of their choosing. This is a great chance to spend a summer doing research in preparation for a senior thesis! Applications are usually due early in Spring semester.
    2. Student Mentoring and Research Teams (SMART): This programs pairs undergraduates with graduate student mentors to preform research over the summer. Note: this program also provides funding for the graduate students! Applications are due in Fall for grad students and in Spring for undergrads.
    3. Undergraduate Research Apprentice Program (URAP): Apply to a specific project proposed by a professor in need of undergraduate researchers. This will provide you with research funding during the semester! Deadline is withing the first few weeks of the Fall/Spring semester.
    4. Berkeley Physics Undergraduate Researchers (B-Purs): Physics only– Apply to receive a $500 stipend to work with a Physics faculty during the semester.
Research away from Berkeley:
The REU

The Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) from the National Science Foundation (NSF) program offers paid summer research internships in science hosted by universities across the country in several different fields. The run-time of most REUs is 10 weeks, starting in May or June and finishing in August or September. Applications for REUs are often due in January or February, but can have due dates as late as April.

For more information and a list of projects and institutions, check out the NSF REU website. From here you can narrow your search to fields such as physics, math, earth sciences, etc., and then search within those for specific subfields.

REUs have a few application requirements, however. Most ask for:

  • US citizen or permanent resident status (by NSF regulation).
  • Enrollment in an undergraduate degree program (by NSF regulation). Successful applicants are typically sophomores or juniors.
  • [typically] Personal statement 1-2 pages in length describing your experience, skills, interests, goals, and what aspect of the particular REU is of special interest to you.
  • [typically] CV or resume
  • [typically] Transcript
  • [typically] 2 letters of recommendation
A few more useful REU links from the APS: