FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Applying to UO-REU

Back to Top What is the Application Deadline?
There is not a hard deadline. For 2018, we expect to have two rounds of acceptance offers. For the first round, we will begin making offers in mid-Febrary; for the second round, we will expect to begin making offers in mid-March, and will continue to review applications until all positions are filled. Please note that space if very limited.

How in depth should the personal statements be? Is there a word minimum, maximum, or suggested length?

We don't want you to feel burdened with a long complicated application, but we do want to know about you, your goals, studies, talents, motivation, and what you hope to gain from the program. You should clarify your research interests and perhaps list some labs in which you would like to work. Statement C is entirely optional.

There is no word limit for any of the statements. Just be as concise as you can without omitting any ideas that might help us in evaluating your application. Admission requires more than positive qualities and well written statements, it requires an available host laboratory for each participant; therefore it is suggested that, somewhere in your statements, you explain your research choices and possibly suggest some professors in molecular biosciences with whom you might want to work.

Leters of Recommendation:
   A) Whom should I ask for letters of recommendation?

The letters of recommendation should come from professional people who are qualified to advise us candidly on your abilities, motivation, integrity, intellectual vitality, and enthusiasm for science. They could be from professors, instructors, or other researchers in non-science fields.

   B) How can I submit my Letters of Recommendation?

Upload (strongly preferred):
Each recommender identified by the applicant will be emailed instructions for uploading the letter of recommendation. This option is only available for recommenders having an .edu account.

If you choose to email, please include the applicant's name in the subject line. You may send an attachment in any format or include your letter in the email body.

Slow Mail:
University of Oregon
Summer Research Program Administrator
Department of Biology
1254 University of Oregon
Eugene, OR 97403-1254

   C) Should the recommendation letters be submitted at the same time that the online application is submitted?
Doesn't matter. Ideally as soon as possible to have a complete application quickly.

Grades & Transcripts
  A) Is there a cutoff GPA for selection to UO-REU?
No. Although we seriously consider applicants' grades, we feel that grades very often do not reflect the creative abilities of prospective scholars; and so, we place heavy emphasis on candid evaluations within recommendation letters that accompany the applications.

  B) Why do you not want official transcripts?
We want to know what classes you've taken and the grades you earned. We ask you to send us a list of your classes and grades electronically (not hard copy), so we can easily add it to our database. It is best if you simply give us a list of your classes and grades. We don't want you to waste time or money arranging for official transcripts when you submit your application. When you are accepted into the program, we will ask for official transcripts to verify your application and to update your grades in our database.

  C) If it's really difficult to upload my transcripts into the application form, can I mail them or email a scan?
We want ultimately to have a spreadsheet that includes all applicants' information, including courses & grades, so we prefer to have you manually enter or upload your grades as neatly formatted text into the online application form. Our second choice would be for you to send them by email. But if it is much easier for you to mail them, that would be fine.

A) Can seniors/post-bacs apply and participate in the UO-REU program?
The UO REU program is limited to undergraduate Freshman, Sophomores, or Juniors. However, graduating seniors and post-bacs interested in summer research at UO should consider applying to the the University of Oregon Summer Program for Undergraduate Research (SPUR). For more information please visit spur.uoregon.edu

   B) Can international students (non-US citizens) apply and participate in the UO-REU program?
Most of our funding sources require that the UO-REU Fellows they sponsor be US citizens or permanent residents (having green card). However, occasionally we sponsor international students. In the past we have had international students participate in the program, but they supplied much of their own funding.

   C)Can students attending schools on the quarters system participate in the program?
Students attending schools which are on the quarters system should not be deterred from applying - each year we have one or two students who arrive in June as soon as they finish school.

Can I call to find out if my application is complete, whether I made the short list, or what faculty are reviewing my application?

Email would be better, but feel free to contact us with any questions.

Problems with online submission:
Some applicants have had problems with the online submission, receiving error messages or not being able to load the page. If you encounter problems, please:
   a) contact us, so we can correct it if it's on our end; AND
   b) send us your application information via email to uoreu@uoregon.edu and we will enter it into the database.

To make it easier, download the application form, fill it out, save it, and then email it to uoreu@uoregon.edu as an attachment. Most often, we have found that the problem has been on the applicant's side, generally with the internet browser. If you're so inclined, you might try to clear your cache, discard temporary internet files and temp files, and clear browser history. Then try again to submit.


Selection for UO-REU

Back to Top What are you looking for in a UO-REU applicant? Is it beneficial for me to have prior research experience? If I need prior experience to get in, how do I get experience in the first place?
In the selection process, we look for people who exhibit creativity, motivation, diligence, native intelligence, integrity, broad interests, an interest in the specific research at the University of Oregon, and an upbeat outlook, among other things. We try to choose candidates who would benefit most from this intensive program. We don't require prior experience to apply: Some of our labs prefer prior experience, others don't, and some prefer no experience. So, yes, prior experience is desireable for some labs but not others.

How does the selection process work?
The application materials, including basic information, areas of research interest, statements, transcripts, and letters of recommendation are compiled as a packet for each applicant. These are read and evaluated by the administrators, and a short list is made. Each participating faculty member evaluates packets from applicants who have similar research interests; each faculty member then generates a ranked list of preferred candidate applicants. The Director then makes offers of admission to the top candidate(s) on each faculty member's list. Because it often happens that a candidate applicant will be selected by more than one professor, it is helpful for us if you list professors with whom you might want to work. Thus, before each offer of admission is made, a professor and the candidate commit to working together in the summer program.

Following acceptance, the potential host professor and the candidate scholar then communicate with one another by email/phone, discussing the summer research possibilities, responsibilities, expectations, etc.

When will applicants be notified if they are accepted into the program?
We begin reviewing application files in early January, and continue until mid-March or until all spots are filled. In February, we begin to generate s short list of UO-REU candidates. From the short list, we begin making offers to candidates. The process of filling available spots generally takes a few weeks. We maintain a waiting list and ask for your patience. The last few slots are very fluid, because labs often find new funding or new openings. Thus, each year there are late applicants who are admitted to the program as late as May.

The UO-REU Program

Back to Top What are the UO-REU Progam dates?
The UO-REU program starts at the end of May and lasts for 10 weeks. Students attending schools which are on the quarters system should not be deterred from applying - each year we have one or two students who arrive in June as soon as they finish school.

What does the UO-REU program offer?
Round trip from your home to the University of Oregon and housing, including meals, are arranged by our staff and paid by UO-REU. Housing includes room and board, and UO-REU interns are housed together. Most UO-REU interns arrive about a week before the UO dorms empty for our summer break, and so during this period, interns are housed in doubles; but as the dorms become available during UO final exam week, they would move to a single, in an area with the other UO-REU fellows. For a few years, the stipend was $400/wk. This year we plan to increase the summer stipend, but a concrete number has not been decided at this time. Our summer stipend is paid only at the end of each month, with the 1st pro-rated paycheck at end of June (so interns come prepared to avoid a cash flow problem).

What is the weekly schedule for the summer?
The UO-REU experience is very intensive in research work, and in social, cultural, and recreational activities. UO-REU Fellows research 40+ hrs/wk, on a generally flexible schedule determined by the host lab and mentors. Each Monday morning, UO-REU Fellows attend a Faculty Research Seminar Series presentation on a specific area of life sciences research given by a different UO Professor. Each Thursday morning, UO-REU Fellows attend a Professional Development Workshop Series presentation or a facilities tour. One evening each week all interns discuss their ongoing research with their fellow interns at the Research Discussion Group Series. Events from previous years are listed here. Once or twice each week, the UO-REU Director meets for lunch in the cafeteria with all the UO-REU students to hear comments, complaints, problems, ideas for improving the program, etc. One or more evenings per week, the UO-REU group gathers with the UO-REU facilitator (a UO undergraduate researcher who participates in UO-REU, living in the dorms with the UO-REU group) to plan weekend activities/excursions. Throughout the summer, UO-REU professional workshops and individual mentors work to train UO-REU Fellows in reading and preparing scientific papers and scientific presentations, using online tools in life sciences research, keeping lab notebooks, responsible research conduct, accessing career opportunites, and other issues related to careers in life sciences research.

Undergraduate Research Symposium
At summer's end, the Undergraduate Research Symposium is held in 2 sessions; here, all UO-REU Fellows present the results of their summer work in formal oral scientific presentations.  Some students additionally prepare research posters for presentation at national meetings.  Several students each year will travel to national scientific meetings to present their work from the UO-REU program.

Outside the Lab

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What is available outside of the research program? Why is Oregon a good place to spend the summer?
The UO-REU Fellows travel all around Oregon for recreation, sightseeing, shopping, concerts etc. Activities may
include hiking in the Columbia River Gorge, the Cascade Mountains, Crater Lake, concerts/shopping in Portland & Seattle, various places along the Oregon coast, Silver Falls State Park, Fall Creek, the California Redwoods, climbing South Sister (of the Three Sisters, dormant (so far) volcanoes in the Cascade Mountain Range, visible from some of the labs), rafting on the McKenzie River, the Rogue River, canoeing on the Willamette River, and many more activities. Often a small group of interns and friends have climbed Spencer's Butte (a 2000+ ft peak in South Eugene) a couple times/wk. Eugene has many miles of bike trails and running trails around the town.

What recreational facilities are available on campus?
We have a terrific Student Recreation Center (SRC) with exercise machines, weight machines & free weights, swimming pool, climbing wall, squash courts, racquetball courts, indoor and outdoor tennis courts, aerobics dance and yoga classes, an indoor track and our world famous outdoor track, Hayward field. We have miles and miles of maintained running paths through the city. Miles of bicycle paths also wind through the city and into the countryside. The Willamette River is immediately adjacent to campus, and you can rent canoes, inner tubes, swim or just jump in on hot summer days. We have a great Outdoor Pursuits Program that offers courses in wilderness survival, rock climbing, sailing, and more; they organize trips around the pacific northwest (rafting, hiking, biking, canoeing, etc); and it has an extensive collection of guides, maps and videos. Here's a UO campus map and directions.

What is Eugene like?
The Eugene metropolitan area has a population of over 200,000. Yet the city of Eugene maintains a colorful, small town feel. Our links to Eugene culture and recreation and PlanetEugene offer information about arts, culture & entertainment, shopping, outdoor recreation, news, lodging, transportation & maps. You can also check it out on Wikipedia. Eugene is one of the most bicycle-friendly places in the country, with many miles of bike routes and bike paths through and around town, the parks and gardens, and the wetlands.

Eugene is often referred to as Track Town USA. You see people running constantly -- there are many 10K, 5K, 2K, and fun run races around town, all-comers track meets several weeks in the summer, running groups, and the Eugene Marathon. At Hayward Field, each year is the Prefontaine Classic Track Meet that brings world class runners. In the past, Eugene and UO have hosted the national championships, the world championships, and the US Olympic Trials.

The summer weather is dry, very low humidity, and very pleasant (July weather summary for Eugene). Throughout the summer, we have a Saturday Market, with a growers market, local food and crafts vendors, and local entertainment on the Market Stage. The Willamette River runs through the University and is joined by the McKenzie River just north of town. From Eugene, it is just over an hour's drive to either the Cascade mountains to the East, the Coastal Mountains and the Oregon coast to the West, and Portland and the Columbia River Gorge to the North. There is lots of great music in town. Oregon Bach Festival, Oregon Mozart Players, Jazz, Swing dances, salsa and tango groups, Zimbabwean marimba groups, drumming circles, Oregon Country Fair, City of Eugene Summer Concerts in the Park and Movie Night in the Park, and many more events and groups.

If I participate in UO-REU, what should I bring to Eugene?
The UO Housing "What to Bring" page lists some fundamentals. For Summer activities, you will want hiking shoes/boots, swim wear, running shoes, water recreation footwear (particularly TEVA-type sport sandals for tide pooling), sunglasses, sunscreen, hat. Overall the summers in Oregon are beautiful. However, you should be prepared for the extremes. Temperatures will vary greatly: in 2008, we had record heat in late May and record cold in early June; ski areas remained open in June, while students were trying to beat the heat by walking from their dorms to the river with inner-tubes. You'll want a warm jacket and sweaters for cool nights on coast trips, and camping in the mountains can be co-old. There are typically several days of 100°F weather each summer, but it's very dry heat. Be prepared for rain, for heat, but mostly for beautiful weather.
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