Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Overview

Application for MRSEC REU Summer 2020
June 1 - August 7, 2020

The Brandeis Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC) announces its "Bioinspired Soft Materials” Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program for Summer 2020. The REU is a summer research program that will fund undergraduate students assigned to MRSEC laboratories. Questions?
E-mail Dr. Anique Olivier-Mason

What the MRSEC REU Offers

  • 10 weeks of hands-on research in a Brandeis MRSEC laboratory
  • $5,000 stipend per student
  • Free housing & allowances for meals and travel
  • Grad school preparation, faculty mentoring, professional development and social engagement with other students on campus
  • Poster presentation at the end of the summer at the Annual Brandeis SciFest Celebration


How to Apply

You will need to complete an online application. Use the link to the right to start the application process. Apply to REU


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Program Details

Eligibility to Apply
  • Must be U.S. citizen or permanent resident
  • Must be currently enrolled in an undergraduate program (biology, chemistry, physics, materials science, bio-engineering, computer science, and related fields). Students from community colleges are strongly encouraged to apply.
  • Students from underrepresented minority groups, women, and individuals with disabilities are strongly encouraged to apply.
Application and Program Timeline
  • The application opens in October

  • 11:59 PM EST, February 1, 2020: ALL application components must be submitted in order to be considered for selection to the MRSEC REU cohort. Your application will not be considered if it is missing any required application components.

  • We will start to review and consider applications before this date (rolling application) so the earlier you complete your application the better!

  • Late February: Acceptance notifications

  • Late May/early June - end of July/early August: 10 weeks of REU experience at Brandeis University

Application Components
  • Background/identifying information

  • Academic information

  • Resume

  • Transcript (we will accept unofficial transcripts)

  • Responses to the two essay prompts below. Please note that your responses need to be copied into the online application submission form and that each essay should be ~2-4 paragraphs in length.

  1. Please describe your previous research experience and correlate this previous research work to the theme of the Brandeis Materials Research Science and Engineering Center. Be sure to include the institution name(s), lab/PI name(s) and dates for each former experience.
  2. State how participation in the MRSEC REU program will benefit your future academic and professional careers.

  • Recommendation letters from two faculty members that are in a PDF format


How many students are selected to participate?

  • There are 6-8 REU students in a summer cohort.

Can a TA write my recommendation letter for MRSEC REU?

  • Applicants are free to ask whomever they feel would provide the best support as to why they are strong contenders to participate in REU. However, it is best practice to connect with your professor/PI first.

I do not have any research experience, so how should I respond to the essay question about previous research experience?

  • When you have limited or no research experience, it is best to describe a specific moment in a science class or a time at a museum (for example) that you became really curious and interested in a science topic. Consider writing about how you wanted to learn more—maybe that you started asking questions or were curious about the next steps in the research. Do not leave the question blank.

How can I make my essays better?

  • In your essay(s), take the time to review potential mentors and have compelling reasons to be placed at one lab. In other words, research the research before applying. When writing about your experiences, provide context, details and motivation behind your work experiences and organization participation—don't just write a list. Also, show that you have energy and enthusiasm for the work and curiosity to learn more. Lastly, have your application proofread by someone you trust before you send it.

As a freshman, how can I get a letter of recommendation when I don't know my professors well?

  • Differentiate yourself from the dozens of other students in class by making an appointment today with your science or math class professors. Go to their office hours. Ask questions in class. Get noticed. Ask questions about their classes and then say, "I'd like your advice about getting into science research."

How could I make my letters of recommendation better?

  • Make sure to ask the professors writing your letters of recommendation weeks ahead of the REU deadline if they are willing to write letters for you. Next, consider sending them your REU essay responses, resume and transcript. Remind them why you are awesome, why you are excited about this opportunity, and how the opportunity connects with your future goals.
Information about Previous Years' Cohorts