Astrophysics REU at Western Virginia University

Opportunity Description:

Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) is a 10-week summer program for undergraduate student research, funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). West Virginia University is proud to host a REU site focused on astrophysical research. Research projects will focus on the Milky Way interstellar medium, transient astrophysical phenomena, pulsars, magnetars, galaxy evolution, and gravitational waves. Projects are listed under Research Opportunities.

Each student will be associated with a specific research project, where they will work closely with their faculty research mentor and other researchers. Students receive a $5,000 stipend, $300 in travel expenses, meals, and lodging. Additional participant benefits include:

  • A two-day visit and scientific tour of the Green Bank Observatory (GBO). The GBO is the world’s largest steerable radio single dish and many research projects involve Green Bank Telescope data.
  • Research Poster Session: REU students will present their research at a poster session at the conclusion of the 10-week program. Students will gain an experience similar to that of an academic conference and to hone their skills discussing research with a diverse audience.
  • American Astronomical Society (AAS) meeting attendance: Students in the REU program will be sent to the winter American Astronomical Society (AAS) meeting, where they will use these skills at a genuine scientific conference. This conference hosts thousands of astronomers, whose research interests are representative of the entire field.
  • Seminars and informational meetings: students will be exposed to a wide variety of topics related to working in STEM fields.
  • Workshops: Workshops will be provided to give guidance on professional preparation, public speaking, professional interactions, and scientific poster creation. Topics include Graduate School Roundtable, Career Building (resumes, interviewing, elevator speech), Prestigious Scholarships, and Creating an Effective Research Poster.
  • Team Building Activities: The state of West Virginia has numerous outdoor recreational opportunities (e. g., biking, hiking, rafting) within a short drive of WVU that make ideal excursions during the program.

Minimum Qualifications and/or Eligibility Requirements: 

Applications will be accepted from rising sophomores through rising seniors, as well as rising freshmen with advanced (Honors or Advanced Placement) Physics and Astronomy coursework or those involved in the First 2 network.

REU participants must be citizens, nationals, or permanent residents of the United States. Qualified applicants will:

  1. Have a grade point average 2.8 or above in their STEM undergraduate coursework,
  2. Be majoring in physics or astronomy undergraduate degree programs (baccalaureate or associate and part-time or full-time), and
  3. Be rising freshmen through seniors.

Application Process: 

The deadline for applications is usually February 1st. 

Each applicant will be required to submit:

  • A formal application, which includes personal, academic (institution, major, level, coursework), and voluntary demographic information and future career plans
  • An essay on motivation for wanting to participate in the REU
  • Undergraduate transcripts
  • Letter of recommendation from a STEM faculty member familiar with the applicant’s abilities/motivation. Please have all letters of recommendation sent directly to 
For more information on this opportunity, please contact:

Dr. Loren Anderson