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Frequently Asked Questions


  1. Are Engineering Physics majors eligible for this program?
    Yes, provided you work with a faculty member in Physics, Applied Physics or SLAC.  If you wish to work with a faculty member in the Engineering School, you should apply to appropriate  Engineering department's summer research program.

  2. Are there opportunities available for external/non-Stanford students?
    Yes, we have two opportunities for external physics students: the CAMPARE program, and the Leadership Alliance Summer Research - Early Identification Program (SR-EIP). Click here for more information.  The School of Engineering also has their own SURF program.  
  3. Can I apply if I have no research experience?
    Most definitely.  Everyone starts somewhere.  There are a number of faculty who will take on beginning students with the intent of providing training.   What is required is curiosity, initiative, and a willingness to learn and grow as a researcher.  Look carefully at the preferences in terms of skills and courses listed for each faculty member in the table of Summer Research Positions.  
  4. Do I have to be a declared Physics/Engineering Physics major to apply?
    Priority will be given to declared Physics and Engineering Physics majors who have declared on Axess by the application deadline.  The exception is that first-year students need not be declared majors -- exploring physics through summer research is part of how you can evaluate if Physics/Eng.Physics is the right major for you.  Otherwise, if you have a particular reason for not declaring, mention it in your application, or consult with Rick Pam, Academic Director of the Program, prior to submitting your application.
  5. What if I want to work with a faculty member who is not listed in the table of Summer Research Positions?
    You can work with any faculty in Physics/AppliedPhysics/SLAC  who are not listed in the table.  The table itself consists of faculty members who are actively looking for students, but other faculty are often open to hiring undergrad summer researchers. The Physics Summer Research Program provides funding directly to Physics/Eng Physics majors, not to faculty. Thus you are welcome to find other faculty members to work with, subject to FAQ #6, below.  Links to the faculty lists are here.
  6. What if I want to work with a faculty member outside of Physics, Applied Physics or SLAC?
    Under certain circumstances, Physics/Engineering Physics majors can work with a faculty member outside Physics/AP/SLAC:

    • You can work with any faculty member who appears in the table of Summer Research Positions, even if they are not in Physics/AP/SLAC.  These latter faculty are physicists by training and conduct substantially physics-related research.
    • If the faculty member is in a department with its own summer research program, you must seek primary support from the other department; this is especially true for faculty in Engineering departments.  You may apply to Physics Summer Reserathis program as a backup.
    • Your topic should be closely related to physics (e.g., biophysics, medical physics) and you must be directly involved in research;
    • If we have more applicants than we can support, priority will be given to students working with Physics/Applied Physics/SLAC faculty, all other things being equal.
    • If you are considering working for a faculty member outside Physics, Applied Physics or SLAC, it's important to consult with Rick Pam before finalizing your application.
  7. Do I have to be available for the full eight or ten weeks?
    Yes, you should be here for the 8 or 10 "official" weeks so that you can participate fully in all activities associated with the Physics/AP/SLAC Summer Research Program. If there are particular circumstances that prevent you from attending these weeks, mention them in your application or consult with Rick Pam prior to submitting your application.

  8. What are the selection priorities in the event there are more applicants than funding?
     All other things being equal, priority will be given to students who have not received support through the Physics/AP/SLAC program in previous years.  Priority order is as follows:                 (*) -- apply for Student Major Grant funding if possible
                     (**) -- must apply for Student Major Grant
    •         Rising seniors with no prior SRC funding (*)
    •         Rising juniors with no prior SRC funding
    •         Rising sophs with no prior SRC funding
    •         Rising juniors with prior SRC funding
    •         Rising seniors with prior SRC funding (**)

  9. Can I apply for summer research in physics if I am a rising 5th year or coterminal student?
    Rising 5th year or Physics coterminal students will have the same priority for funding as rising seniors (see #8 above). However, funding is not available for coterminal students who have received their B.S. degree or have already entered their Graduate program (this is indicated on your transcript).

  10. Can I apply if I was already supported through this program for summer research in Physics in a previous year?
    Yes, although your priority for funding is lower.  Note that:
    • Rising seniors/coterms who have received support in 1 or 2 prior years are required to apply for a Student Major Grant from Academic Advising. You are still encouraged to apply to this Physics/AP/SLAC program in case we have additional funding.
    • However, rising seniors/coterms who have received support in 2 prior years will not receive funding from this program; this is due to limited funding, not because we don't like you.  You still must apply for a Student Major Grant, but also investigate other sources of support, starting with your faculty research mentor. Note that Student Major Grant applications require a serious effort including literature review and a faculty support letter. Our students have a high success rate for these grants, but if you throw the app together the weekend before it's due, you'll likely not succeed.

  11. By submitting an application to the physics summer research program, am I committed to the program if I am accepted? What if I want to apply to other summer programs, such as other Stanford programs or one of the NSF REU programs at other universities?
    You are not committing to the program by applying, and are in fact encouraged to explore multiple programs since we cannot guarantee funding for all interested students. If you are accepted, you will be asked to commit by the start of Spring quarter.
  12. Do I have to live on campus while in the program?
    No, you don't have to live on campus. If you are interested in living on campus, see the web page for Summer Housing
  13. Does the fellowship also cover living expenses?
    You must pay your own living expenses out of the $7500/$6000 stipend  (10weeks/8weeks). This can be either in on-campus Summer Housing or anywhere else you choose to live.
  14. Can I attend summer school while participating in the Summer Research Program?
    No.  In past years faculty have found that attending summer classes during the day reduces a student's effectiveness in their research. You should plan to devote full time to your research over the 8 or 10 week period.