Research Experience for Undergraduates

The Department of Physics and Astronomy is pleased to announce that we will be hosting a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) site, sponsored by the National Science Foundation, in the summer of 2016. This is an exciting opportunity for talented undergraduates to spend the summer months doing cutting-edge research with physics and astronomy faculty members. Our site has space for ten students. They will live on campus for ten weeks, in a dormitory, and work a regular schedule. Each student will be under the supervision of a faculty member from the Department of Physics and Astronomy.

The Department of Physics and Astronomy is closely associated with the NanoCenter at USC, a multidisciplinary research facility. In addition to research, students will engage in a series of weekly activities that will complement and enhance their research experience. These activities will include hands-on workshops that introduce students to common research techniques and strategies in physics and astronomy, as well as presentations on research strategies, intellectual property, and communication skills. There will also be regular social activities and outings to local attractions. The summer will conclude with a symposium in which the participants will present their research findings in the format of both a poster and an oral presentation for an audience consisting of other student researchers, graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, and faculty.

Students will be paid a stipend of $5000. The participants' housing costs will be covered by the program, and they will receive an allowance for on-campus breakfast and lunch dining. Students are eligible for reimbursement of travel expenses to and from Columbia, South Carolina, up to $400.

The program will run for ten weeks, from Sunday, May 22 to Friday, July 29, 2016. The research mentors and their areas of research are given here.

To apply, students should submit a letter of application that contains the following information:

  • Name
  • Mailing address and the institution they attend
  • Telephone number
  • E-mail address
  • A personal statement about why the student is interested in the program and which of research area(s) he or she would like to be involved in.

In addition, each student should arrange for one letter of recommendation from a faculty member at their home institution and should send a copy of their academic transcript. All application materials should be submitted, preferably by e-mail, to or by regular mail to:

Professor Brett Altschul
Department of Physics and Astronomy
University of South Carolina
712 Main St., Room 404
Columbia, SC 29208

Applications should be received by February 29.

Students from the southeastern United States, minority students, and students from colleges with limited research opportunities are especially invited to apply.

For additional information, please contact the REU site director, Brett Altschul, at