Research Experiences for Undergraduates (NSF REU-Site) Program Information


What Does the Program Pay For?

  1. Participants are awarded a "take-home" stipend of $5,250
  2. All room and board expenses
  3. Participant project expenses
  4. Travel to and from MLBS

Participants pay no fees or tuition charges of any kind.  Project and travel support is generous, but does require approval.


What is it Like Living at MLBS?

Most program participants live together in rustic eight-person cottages with shared living room and bath. Rooms are double-occupancy. Other housing arrangements can be made as needed. All station residents share three meals a day in the main dining hall.  ► More about living at Mountain Lake.


Eligibility and Expectations (adapted from NSF web site)

Undergraduate student participants supported with NSF funds in an REU Site program must be U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals, or permanent residents of the United States. An undergraduate student is a student who is enrolled in a degree program (part-time or full-time) leading to a baccalaureate or associate degree. Students who are transferring from one college or university to another and are enrolled at neither institution during the intervening summer may participate. High school graduates who have been accepted at an undergraduate institution but who have not yet started their undergraduate study are also eligible to participate. Students who have received their bachelor's degrees and are no longer enrolled as undergraduates are generally not eligible to participate. Students graduating in the May before the program are not eligible. Put simply, only applicants who are returning to an undergraduate program after the summer REU program are eligible. In addition, as a REU researcher you are expected to be in residence at the Station for the full ten weeks of the program. Special scheduling needs (raised. short trips away) can often be accommodated if raised in advance and agreed to by the research mentor and program coordinator.  Field biologists often work long and irregular hours six or seven days a week. REU program participants must agree to the same. Commuting is not permitted. It is also important to consider that field work is often physically strenuous and demanding. Program participants need to be physically fit and willing to embrace physical labor, demanding hiking, and long hours in the field in all weather conditions. ► More on NSF eligibility information.


Application Procedure and Requirements

Complete application and reference letter must be submitted using the on-line forms by the deadline date. Applications are evaluated based on three components - essay, reference letter, course experience.  Applications must be submitted in English. Incomplete applications can not be considered:

  1. A one-page (600 word) essay written by the applicant, and pasted into the application form. The essay should stress (a) past experiences that qualify you for this research internship and what you gained from them, (b) your interests and professional goals, and (c) what you hope to achieve by spending the summer at Mountain Lake. If any mentor options or project areas appeal to you, please let us know, and why. 
  2. Transcript and GPAs. Electronic file of official or unofficial transcript must be uploaded with the application.
  3. One recommendation from a research mentor, academic advisor, or science instructor who knows you and your potential for research well. Nonacademic or "community" referees (e.g. coaches, religious leaders) are much less valuable.  Letter writers must complete the Reference Letter Form with their letter before the application deadline. You should provide your letter writer with the link to the reference letter form - It is also a menu choice on REU program pull-down menu. You must also make sure your email address that you provide us in your application matches, exactly, the email address you give your letter writer.  Your email address is how we link applications and reference letters.  


Academic Credit

REUs can not enroll in courses while participating in the REU program. But up to 12 hours of UVA academic "Research Credit" can be received while participating in the REU program. Applicants interested in this option should contact the station during the application period to make special arrangements.