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How to Apply to the Physics Summer Research Program

Last updated: 08 December 2021

Update to the Application Process:  If you missed the deadline for the second part, we have had some students decline and are therefore opening a one-part application for Summer research only that is due by noon April 16, 2021.

Due to COVID schedule modifications, the "summer" undergraduate research program will be offered in Spring and Summer quarters in 2021.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Summer sophomores and all juniors must be declared Physics or Engineering Physics by application due date.
  • Sophomores applying for Spring quarter and any frosh need not be a declared major
  • Those with prior funding must apply for a Major Grant -- start now!
  • Co-term students who do not have their B.S. degree and have not yet entered the graduate part of their program are also eligible.
  • All students MUST:
    • Do research over their Flex quarter
    • Have enrolled for at least two (2) full-time quarters this academic year prior to their research quarter


Application Process

All applicants will be notified with a yes/no/waitlist decision by the end of February. This year, there will be a two-part application process, as detailed below.


Part 1 (informational). Due by noon on Friday, January 15, 2021, but you are encouraged to submit earlier.

In the first part of the application process, you will fill out an online application form. The form will ask questions about your background, experience, and interests. You do not need any prior experience to participate in the research program. This application is informational; your answers will be used in a match-making capacity only, not as a metric to determine who is accepted to the program. Based on your responses, you will be matched with a faculty mentor, either with our help, and/or by contacting faculty mentors on your own. All students must submit this part of the application, even if you have already identified a potential faculty mentor.


Part 2 (project and mentor specific). Due noon on Friday, February 12, 2021.

The application will require a short (1 page) statement named Lastname_Firstname_summary.pdf, e.g., Carbajal_Elva_summary.pdf.  This summary statement  file should include the following: 

1. A brief summary of your proposed research project.  Include a description of:
          a) the overall physics goal of the project and
          b) what you will be working on for the project,  as best you understand it now.
2. A description of what you hope to learn and/or accomplish this summer.
3. New due to COVID: If your project is not compatible with remote work, you will also need to submit a suitably altered project description that can be completed remotely.

In addition, you will be asked to submit:

  1. Your unofficial transcript with grades through Fall 2021; name this file as Lastname_Firstname_transcript.pdf e.g. Carbajal_Elva_transcript.pdf
  2. The Faculty-Mentor Agreement that is available as a view only  docx file that you should download, have your faculty mentor sign, save as a pdf, and then upload with the other documents forPart 2.  Name this file as Lastname_Firstname_FMA.pdf e.g. Carbajal_Elva_FMA.pdf

Faculty Mentor

Prior to submitting the Application, you need to find a faculty member to be your research mentor for the summer. Many faculty members make positions available for undergraduates to do research over the summer. Refer to the table of available positions at Undergraduate Summer Research Positions to find potential projects and faculty members with whom you may be interested in working.  The table also includes information on skills or coursework needed (often minimal!), whether at least one project is suitable for beginning students, etc. You are encouraged to contact faculty members directly to discuss available opportunities. In addition, for students that request it, we plan to help you identify potential faculty mentors based on the answers to part 1 of the application.

Note that this table of available positions is only a list of suggestions—you may work with any faculty member in Physics, Applied Physics or SLAC.

Those who wish to work with faculty in the School of Engineering should apply to that faulty member's department; see this SoE REU webpage for  information.


What to Submit: 

  • Part 1 (due by noon on January 15, 2021): Online Application form. All students must complete this form.
  • Part 2 (due by noon on February 12, 2021): We will post the online form in the coming weeks. For now, we include a tentative list of items you will need to submit.
    • A one-page description/abstract of the research work you will do this summer as you currently understand it.
    • A copy of your unofficial Stanford transcript through Fall Quarter 2020.
    • A signed (2020) Faculty Agreement Form [This is last year's; still to be updated]
  • If you missed the deadline for the second part, you can complete this form which leads to a link to the Waitlist.