What is the NSF REU program?

The Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program supports active research participation by undergraduate students in any of the areas of research funded by the National Science Foundation. REU projects involve students in meaningful ways in ongoing research programs or in research projects specifically designed for the REU program. NSF funds a large number of research opportunities for undergraduate students through its REU Sites program. The Yosemite Environmental Science Research Training is only one of all the REU Sites. An REU Site consists of a group of ten or so undergraduates who work in the research programs of the host institution. Each student is associated with a specific research project, where he/she works closely with the faculty and other researchers. NSF does not have application materials and does not select student participants (students apply directly to the REU Sites).

Is the REU Yosemite Research Training in Environmental Science a paid research training?

Yes (as all REU Sites). Students receive a stipend of $4,500 for the nine-week period. Additionally, housing and meals are also provided by the program. Students who do not live in California are granted a round-trip ticket.

Where does the research take place?

The Yosemite Research Training in Environmental Science emphasizes field research. Field work takes place in Yosemite National Park. Lab work is done at the University of California at Merced, in the Great Central Valley, or at the USGS Western Ecological Research Center in El Portal, near the West entrance of the Park. The amount of time spent in the field and in the lab depends on the individual research project.

What about housing?

When in Yosemite National Park, students stay at the Sierra Nevada Research Station - Yosemite of the University of California Merced Natural Reserve System, which is located in Wawona Village, a few miles from the South Entrance of the Park. When in Merced, students stay at the UCM dormitories.

Who is eligible to apply?

Students who are entering their sophomore, junior, or senior year are eligible. Freshmen may exceptionally be considered. Students must be citizens or permanent residents of the United States or its possessions. Women and minorities are strongly encouraged to apply.

What do I need to apply and how do I apply? 

See the Online Application page.

When will you announce the outcome of my application? 

We will make announcements about student selection by March 15th.

What research projects are available to work on?

See the Research Projects page.  

Can my letters of recommendation be send in confidentially?

Yes, please have them sent to, with the subject line: "YESRT REU letter of Recommendation for 'Last name, first name".

Who can send in a letter of recommendation? 

Anyone who knows your capability or potential as a researcher can write a letter of recommendation, but current and recent past college mentors are preferred.

What if I have more questions? 

Please email them to and we will answer them.