Pelican Nebula

Cornell University
Department of Astronomy

Summer 2021

Research Experiences for Undergraduates


Astrophysics and Planetary Science

Quick facts

Up to ten 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 2021 and who will graduate at or after the end of the 2021 fall semester or quarter at their school are eligible.
Please note that our grant does not allow us to accept applications from students who are not U.S. Citizens or permanent residents.

Summer 2021 - 10 week program

Tentative program dates: June 8 to August 13. Firm dates will be announced by February 28.

We hope to host an in-person program but based on the pandemic, it may be hybrid or remote.

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

To apply
Our new application site is ready!

The application website will ask you for a statement describing your background, educational goals, and your scientific interests. Be sure to tell us about your computer experience and include any other information you think is relevant!

We do not require that you have college research experience, but if you have any, tell us about it. Did you participate in a standalone research program, either an REU or something similar, or did you do your research during the school year, either as part of a class or outside of your coursework? How did you become engaged in it? What did you do? How long were you engaged? How much time were you putting in per week? What did you learn, in terms of science, skills, your understanding of how science is made and of science as a potential career?

You will also be asked to submit contact information for two letter writers 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. Double check email addresses for typos!

Uploading is preferred and is the most efficient means of processing your application materials. If necessary, however, please contact :
astroreu at cornell dot edu
to make alternative arrangements.

In order to prevent potential mix-ups, it's a good idea to avoid uploading multiple iterations of a file using the exact same name. Please indicate in the name the date of the latest version!

Complete applications and all supporting materials must be received at the above address no later than Friday, February 5, 2021 at 5:00 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: astroreu at cornell dot edu

Program details

Students will work on individual research projects with Cornell faculty and research staff on a wide range of topic in astrobiology, Solar System exploration, planetary science, exoplanets, instrumentation, cosmology, gravitational waves, galaxies, radio astronomy and star formation.

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. Depending on whether the program has an in person component and how long it is, students will also participate in one or two field trips, 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 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. If the program is partly or fully in person, we will also provide up to $700.00 for travel to and from Ithaca.

Go to Visit Ithaca for information on travel to Ithaca.

Contingent on whether there is an in person component to the program, and depending on University summer housing rules, students will be eligible to apply to on-campus housing facilities and dining plans. We will make information available as soon as it is made public by the University. You will find more housing information in the Cornell Campus page.

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

First selections will be announced after February 28, 2021.

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, award NST/AST-1950324.

Cornell University is an equal opportunity employer.

Last updated: 22 December 2020.