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AO REU Summer Program

Click here for Summer 2018 Details!



The Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico invites applications for its NSF-funded Research Experience for Undergraduates summer program.

Students selected for the program will work with staff scientists on projects related to ongoing research or instrumentation development. Students will be exposed to the interdisciplinary character of this unique research facility through lectures by the staff and visiting scientists, seminar series, tours of the observatory facilities and frequent informal discussions with staff and scientists. Students are also expected to have the opportunity to conduct hands-on observing with the 305-m telescope.

A bonus of our program is the opportunity to explore the beautiful island of Puerto Rico and its culture. Normally, a few students from universities in Puerto Rico, supported by our scientists or other programs, also have summer research internships at the Observatory

Participating REU students will receive a $450-per-week stipend and reside in Visiting Scientist Quarters at the observatory, where meals are available in a cafeteria. Room and board will be covered.


Undergraduates who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents and who will be enrolled in a bachelor's degree program (part- or full-time; in the US or abroad) during Fall 2017 are eligible for our program. Regardless of citizenship, if you have funding from other sources (e.g. your own college), you can apply using the same form and describe your funding in the comment box provided.

Research Areas

You will need to select three choices for the research areas of observatory science from Radio Astronomy, Solar System Radar, Atmospheric Science and Electrical Engineering to which you wish to apply. More information on this research areas page.

Application Process

Applications for the REU program should be made via the online form. You will need to provide the names and email addresses of three references who have agreed to write letters of recommendation. We encourage you to fill out this online application form as early as possible so that your references have sufficient time to upload their letters of recommendation.

Once you have submitted the online form, you will be sent a link to verify your email address. Your references will not be contacted until you have verified your email by clicking the provided link.

After email verification, we will send you a link to upload your supporting documents. Requirements for the supporting documents are given below and in the FAQ page. Your application is not complete until we receive all the supporting documents.

We expect to announce a decision on March 1, 2017 (and about mid-March for students on the waiting list). The REU summer program is scheduled to run from late May until mid-August. The exact date might differ slightly depending on you and your project mentor's calendars.

Supporting Documents

We generally look for students who are majoring in astronomy or physics, computer science and electrical engineering. Grades are important but so are the student’s enthusiasm, initiative, and future goals. We give emphasis to students with good math and computing backgrounds. See the FAQ page for details regarding the supporting documents.

Resume / CV
Should contain education details, previous employment, research / lab experiences, technical and programming skills, publications and awards. Maximum of two pages in PDF format.
Academic Transcripts
We require an unofficial transcript, to be submitted with the digital application, and a mailed-in official transcript, to be mailed on or before February 1, 2017. If you have multiple transcripts, please combine them into a single PDF file. Please scan the front and back of each printed page of the transcript.
Personal Essay
Describe your educational background and goals, and your scientific interests and experience. Please include any information relevant to the evaluation of your potential for success as a research assistant in the Arecibo Observatory REU Summer Program. Maximum of two pages in PDF format.
Letters of Recommendation
We will contact your references directly after verifying your online application. Maximum of two pages in PDF format.


Online Application Open
December 15, 2016
Online Application Deadline
January 25, 2017
Supporting Documents Deadline
February 1, 2017
Initial Offers Sent
March 1, 2017

We will send final decisions, after all positions are filled.
REU program
May - August, 2017 (10 weeks)


Please look at the FAQ page for additional information regarding the application process, requirements for supporting documents, topics to include in resume etc. If your question is not answered there, or if your situation is unique, please feel free to email us at reu-program@naic.edu.

The Arecibo Observatory Research Experience for Undergraduates program is funded by the National Science Foundation under grant number AST/1559849.