A-to-Z Index

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Who is eligible?

US citizen, currently enrolled rising junior or senior chemistry or closely related science major will be given priority.


  1. What is the deadline for non-JMU students?

Applications must be postmarked by March 15, 2013.  You may send by regular mail.  There is no need to fax or to send by registered mail.


  1. What are the required application materials?

Application form sent by mail, one of recommendation letter from a chemistry professor who knows you well (sent by mail), and official transcripts from all colleges you have attended.  (Please do not send any materials by email).


  1. What do you provide for my participation?

Along with the opportunity to do research and the benefits that result from that activity, we will provide housing at no cost to you, one credit hour of research credit, and a $4200 stipend for the full ten weeks.  We do not provide travel costs or board while you are here.


  1. How many people apply?
  We generally receive about 100 - 130 applications for 12 positions (two chemical
  research, two student sign language interpretors).


  1. What are the chief selection criteria?

We are looking for students that this research opportunity would most benefit in their development in chemistry.  A strong GPA helps but is not the primary criterion.  We consider the interests, goals and plans of the student, the school and the kinds of opportunities that he/she has there, and other factors.  We are interested in filling at least two positions with students from the deaf community and we also encourage members of other historically underrepresented groups to apply.  Students from the Appalachian region are also encouraged to apply, but we do not limit the program to participants from this geographic area.  We do not accept freshmen or graduating seniors.  Letters of recommendation should originate from a full time chemistry faculty member and should address how the REU program might benefit your career development.


  1. Is my application kept private?

All efforts are made to keep application materials confidential.  Only the secretary, director, co-director, the selection committee (and if you are accepted, your mentor) will see the application.  If you mark an interest in materials science, your application will be given to the materials science program director for consideration in that program.  After the review process, all rejected applications will be destroyed.


  1. How long will it be before I learn the status of my application?

The committee will receive the applications shortly after the deadline passes.  It usually takes about 2 weeks for the decision, and then the director will begin making contacts.  If first round students do not accept the offer, then second round students will be contacted.  This process sometimes takes until the end of April.   If you have not heard anything by the first week of May, it probably means that someone else has been made an offer and we are waiting to hear back from him or her.  It does no good to call or email about your application.


  1. It sounds like competition is tough, should I even bother to apply?

Of course you should.  If you are interested in a career as a chemist or a closely related field this is considered to be one of the best activities in which an undergraduate can participate.  Most students submit several applications to several schools.  We ask that you be fair with us and don't submit unless you truly would like to come here.  If you are early accepted to another REU site and choose to go there, then please withdraw your application so you won't take up a position we could potentially offer another student.


  1. How will I be notified?

The director or a faculty mentor will call your campus number first to let you know if you are accepted.  If this is unsuccessful, we will email you.  If you are not accepted, we will send a letter near mid May.  We have a small and overworked secretarial staff so we are not able to acknowledge every application as received.


  1. If I am accepted, what are some of the details?

We will start the REU program at 9 am on Monday, May 28, 2012.  This is Memorial Day.  We generally arrange for those living in campus housing to arrive the evening before the first day of work.  The housing will include a kitchenette and you should bring everything you would need for living in a typical furnished apartment.  A bike is a great idea, too!  Stipends are typically paid twice during the summer and there are no taxes withheld.


  1. What about the research?

Prior to your arrival, a faculty mentor will contact you.  He/She will provide details on the project and send you appropriate reading material if necessary.  The director does not get involved in the details of any given research projects (other than his own) the research goals, activities, etc. are between the student and his/her mentor.


  1. Can I take summer school or a second job while in the REU program?

No.  The nature of the program is such that you will be involved 100 % in research for the ten week period.


  1. Can I arrive late or leave early from the program period?



  1. Do high school participants have a different schedule than college participants?

Yes.  The high school student and teacher program begins on June 24, 2013 and ends August 2, 2013.


  1. When does the research program end?

This summer, the last day of formal activities will be August 3, 2012.


  1. Expectations?

We are looking for dedicated students who are self-starters and have a passion for learning.  We expect participants to be here in the labs for full workweeks including some nights and weekends as directed by the mentor.  Each participant will do several presentations during the summer including one in a final, formal group symposium.  A written report will be required and due on the final day.  After the program is ended it is hoped the students continue with research at their home institution and present or publish as appropriate.  Students who are within a reasonable driving distance to JMU will be invited to present at the annual JMU spring symposium in April.  There may be some travel funds for students to present at national or regional meetings.