Pelican Nebula

Cornell University
Department of Astronomy

Summer 2020

Research Experiences for Undergraduates


Astronomy and Astrophysics

Quick facts

Up to eight undergraduate Research Assistantships to join a vibrant research community at Cornell's Department of Astronomy and the Cornell Center for Astrophysics and Planetary Science.

United States citizens or permanent residents who have completed 1 to 3 years of undergraduate academic training by June 2020 are eligible.
Please note that by regulation we cannot accept applications from students who are not U.S. Citizens or permanent residents.

Summer 2020 - 10 week program

Program dates are Monday, June 1, 2020 to Friday, August 7, 2020.

To get the most out of the program, it is best if students begin and end on those dates, but please let us know if you need to accommodation due to your academic calendar.

To apply
Starting December 18, please submit your application.

The application website will ask you for a statement describing your background, educational goals, and your scientific interests. Include whatever further information you consider relevant. Be sure to include information about your computer experience.

You will also be asked to submit two letters of recommendation and transcripts as supporting materials.

  • Unofficial transcripts are accepted as long as they are generated by your college or university website. If you cannot obtain them, we must request official transcripts. Please upload them as pdfs via the application website.
  • If you are accepted, you will be required to send official transcripts covering all of your college work.
  • The application website will generate an e-mail requesting your letter-writers to upload their letters once you enter their information.

Uploading is preferred and is the most efficient means of processing your application materials. If necessary, however, you may send letters and transcripts (unofficial transcripts accepted as long as they are generated by your college or university website) in pdf format via email to:

reu at astro dot cornell dot edu.

You may also mail them to:

REU Astronomy Coordinator
Department of Astronomy
510 Space Sciences Building
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853-6801

In order to prevent potential mix-ups, please avoid sending duplicate copies of recommendation letters and transcripts.

If your letter-writers will e-mail their letters directly to us, please ask them to send them as pdfs and to name the files:
Their Last Name_Your Last Name (their last name underscore your last name).

Complete applications and all supporting materials must be received at the above address no later than Friday, February 7, 2020 at 5 pm EST.

Please note
The selection process begins immediately after the deadline is due. We cannot accept late applications or supporting materials.
Make sure any materials that are sent by mail have enough stamps. We are not responsible for postage due.

E-mail the program coordinator: reu at astro dot cornell dot edu

Program details

Students will work on individual research projects with Cornell faculty and research staff on a wide range of topics in planetary science, solar system exploration, astrobiology, exoplanets, radio, infrared and radar astronomy, and related theoretical topics as well as astronomical instrumentation. Students interested in computer science and engineering are also encouraged to apply.

You can view previous years' research topics here.

In addition to conducting individual research projects, students will also participate in a series of group activities including lectures, roundtables and workshops. Students will also participate in a geology tour of the Finger Lakes area and a trip to New York City to the American Museum of Natural History.

For each participant, a stipend of $6,000.00 will be provided for the ten week session, plus $1,250.00 for housing and meals. The program will also provide up to $700.00 for travel to and from Ithaca as well as $1,000.00 towards the costs of travel for observation or other research-related activities, or a professional meeting. Eligible expenses include travel, meals, lodging, meeting registration and preparation of presentation materials.

Go to Visit Ithaca for information on travel to Ithaca.

Students will be eligible to apply to on-campus housing facilities and dining plans. There is more housing information in the Cornell Campus page.

We encourage eligible students to apply to the Leadership Alliance in addition to our program.

First selections will be announced after February 28, 2020.

For other summer astronomy opportunities, visit the Internship and Summer Jobs page of the American Astronomical Society; NASA's One Stop Shopping Initiative; the Institute for Broadening Participation's Pathways to Science; the National Science Foundation's Astronomy REU page.

The REU program is funded by the National Science Foundation.

Cornell University is an equal opportunity employer.

Last updated: December 2019.