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Program Outline

Notice to Potential Applicants

Our proposal to NSF seeking to create an REU site at Berkeley for summer 2021 was not approved. We will try again next year.

— The Organizers

The undergraduates who receive offers and accept will participate in a ten-week summer research program on the Berkeley campus.  Each student will be matched with a faculty advisor and, typically, become a member of a group that includes Berkeley undergraduates, graduate students, and postdocs.  Many of the projects will offer opportunities for hands-on experimentation.  While the main activity will be research, students will also participate in twice weekly meetings:  on Monday morning the students will gather with program organizers for a check-in, while the week will conclude with a Friday research seminar presented by a Berkeley faculty member.   Occasional group field trips will be organized to Bay Area science facilities, such as SLAC and NIF, and to area attractions such as San Francisco and the Marin Headlands.

All students will have an opportunity to take a newly designed machine shop course, conducted by student machine shop staff and emphasizing best practices in safety.  Optional short-courses in mathematical physics and Python will be offered, through “boot-camp” courses conducted by volunteer postdocs, based in part on online modules created for this purpose. These courses will support students needing such training for their research, but can also be taken by any student wanting these skills.

Student requirements include: 1) research participation, 2) weekly meeting attendance, 3) oral presentation of their research, 4) a technical paper, written in the style of a conference proceedings paper, describing their research, and 5) a poster suitable for presentation at an APS meeting. In addition to the weekly seminar, there will be and occasional field trips to area facilities, such as LBNL and SLAC. Electronic versions of the talks, research papers, and posters will be archived on the REU web site.


The 2021 program will run from June 7 to August 13.


The program will be held on the University of California, Berkeley, campus. Most of the Bay Area is easily accessible from Berkeley via BART and Metro buses, including San Francisco. There are excellent outdoor recreation opportunities nearby, including Pacific Coast beaches, Point Reyes, and Big Sur. Somewhat further are California’s nine national parks, including Yosemite.


Students will be housed together in a residence hall, in single rooms – most likely in the International House, a residence within a short 5-minute walk from Physics.


Participants arriving by air will most likely utilize either the San Francisco (SFO) or Oakland (OAK) International Airports.  From either, one can travel to the Downtown Berkeley BART station, which is a 10-15-minute walk to the International House.

Program Support

Program support for 2021 is anticipated to include the following:

  • $6000 stipend for the 10-week program
  • Paid housing in a campus dormitory
  • Pre-paid meal card covers the majority of food expenses
  • An average of $800 to reimburse round-trip traveling costs, depending on the distance traveled.
  • Coverage of the University Service Fees:  Students will have a CalCard providing access to university libraries and recreational facilities, a Berkeley email account, access to associated bConnected products such as an interactive calendar,  etc.

All research expenses are the responsibility of the host group.


We will give preference to applicants who will have finished at least two years of undergraduate physics training by Summer, 2021. Women, minorities, and all other members of under-represented groups are especially encouraged to apply.

NSF REU support is available only to US citizens and permanent residents of the US and its territories (“green card” holders). Applicants not meeting these requirements can apply and must note prominently their status: Admission will only be granted if non-NSF funds become available.

Admission is competitive.  The review process is holistic, taking into account accomplishments relative to opportunities available to date, with consideration of the benefits that might derive from participating in the Berkeley Physics REU program.