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Program expectations

What is the daily and weekly work schedule for Cary REU students?

The Cary REU program requires a full time commitment and will demand your complete attention during the 10 weeks. As an independent research program, students have freedom to set their own work schedule in consultation with their mentors, averaging 35-40 hours per week. Students are encouraged to enjoy week ends and holidays, though certain research projects involving field or lab work may demand occasional work beyond the normal work week. 

Can I take a course or have a side job while attending the Cary REU program?

As a full time commitment, participation in the Cary REU program does not allow for other activities such as a side job or course during the 10 weeks. 

What are the expectations of students in the Cary REU program?

See the 2020 Student Handbook.

What are the activities students in the Cary REU program will participate in?

See the Activities page.


Am I eligible to apply if I am not a U.S. citizen?

To be eligible for NSF/REU grant support, you must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.

Am I eligible to apply if I am not an undergraduate student?

No. To be eligible for NSF/REU grant support you must still be enrolled as an undergraduate during the summer of 2021. This excludes students who will be starting college in the fall of 2021, and those who received their undergraduate degree in spring of 2021. However, second semester seniors who will be completing their undergraduate degree in December 2021 or January 2022 are eligible.

Am I eligible if I cannot participate in the full 10 week program?

No, the program is a full time commitment from June 7 to August 14, 2021. Program dates are NOT flexible.


When is the application due?

The application must be submitted electronically by midnight EST, Friday January 29, 2021.

What is GPA max?

We are asking for your institution's maximum GPA. Some schools run on a 4.0 scale, some on a 4.3 scale and others use a different scale. We use this to determine where your GPA falls within your institution's scale.

Some schools do not use a GPA scale. If this is the case please indicate this and have your written evaluations or other source of information about your performance available upon request.

How important is the essay portion of the application?

We are looking for thoughtful answers to our essay questions. Since most of the students that apply to our program are highly qualified, the essays are a very important aspect in our final decision-making process. Therefore, it is in your best interest to put time, effort, and careful thought into writing these essays. You are encouraged to address specific aspects of the Cary REU program in general, and your preferred research project(s) in particular, in your essays.

Do I need letters of recommendation?

You are asked to provide the names and contact information for three references. Please confirm that each reference is willing to serve in this capacity. We will contact the references of selected applicants for letters of reference or responses to a set of questions. You do NOT need to provide letters of recommendation with your application.

How do I rank my project interest?

It is essential that you indicate which projects you are interested in. You will only be considered for projects that you rank, and the order of preference will be taken into account when considering your application. Many students end up being considered only for their top choice project, so do the best you can to identify the project that most interests you.

Application review and notification

How will my application be reviewed?

The Cary REU Program typically receives several hundred applications. Each application is considered carefully by a review committee with an emphasis on identifying students who can benefit most from participation. The smaller pool of candidates is then reviewed by the mentor teams for projects the applicants ranked at their top choice(s). References are contacted at this stage and top candidates interviewed. The Project Directors make the final decision based on preferences from the mentors. 

When will I be notified if I have been accepted?

Students will be contacted by the end of March.

Diversity statement:

The Cary REU program is grounded in the conviction that diversity in our community of scholars fosters creativity, productivity, inclusion and growth. We welcome participants of all races, religions, sexual orientation, age and ability status to join our community.  Students from groups traditionally underrepresented in ecology and first generation college students are particularly encouraged to apply.

I have additional questions...

Take a look at the 2020 Cary REU Student Handbook, keeping in mind that the 2021 program will be different.

Contact Dr. Alan R. Berkowitz