Information for principal investigators
This page highlights opportunities that undergraduates can directly apply to.
If you're interested in supporting undergraduates with NSF funding, explore NSF's funding programs on the Funding Search page. Most of NSF's programs allow proposers to include undergraduate employees in their project budget; some of NSF's programs focus explicitly on developing undergraduates' research skills, improving undergraduate education, or providing high-quality mentoring experiences.
Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU)
The REU program offers research opportunities to undergraduates in the research areas funded by NSF.
REU opportunities usually involve groups of about 10 students who work on research projects at a host institution based in the U.S. or in a foreign location. At each REU site, students work closely with faculty and other researchers, receiving mentorship and building their professional network.
REU participants receive stipends and, in many cases, assistance with housing and travel.
Undergraduate students who are citizens or permanent residents of the United States or its territories are eligible to apply.
Students must contact an REU site for information and application materials. Application materials for different REU opportunities can vary: they may require a statement of purpose, transcripts, reference letters or additional materials.
To find existing REU sites, visit the NSF REU Site Search. You can explore by focus area, location, or search by keywords.
You can also find a number of REU opportunities on the NSF Education and Training Application website, where you can prepare and submit applications for REU and other NSF education and training opportunities.
International Research Experiences for Students (IRES)
The IRES program offers international research opportunities to undergraduate and graduate students.
Participants are mentored by researchers at a foreign lab, allowing them to build their professional network. IRES opportunities usually involve small groups of students who travel to a host institution for a summer-length research project.
Undergraduate or graduate students who are citizens, nationals or permanent residents of the United States are eligible to apply.
Students must contact researchers with IRES funding for information and application materials. Application materials for different IRES opportunities can vary: they may require a statement of purpose, transcripts, reference letters or additional materials.
To find active IRES projects, visit the NSF IRES Project Search. Each project lists the name and contact information of the principal investigator, or lead, of that project.
You can also find a number of IRES opportunities on the NSF Education and Training Application website, where you can prepare and submit applications for IRES and other NSF education and training opportunities.
Pathways Internship Program
The federal Pathways Program is designed to recruit the next generation of the best and brightest to the federal workforce. Through NSF's Pathways Program, students can find paid internships in a variety of different science and engineering fields — letting them explore federal careers while completing their education.
The Pathways Internship Program is for current students in high schools, colleges, trade schools and other qualifying educational institutions.
Students interested in a Pathways internship at NSF must apply through USAJOBS. You can also use the USAJOBS site to explore other student internship and employment opportunities.
Summer Scholars Internship Program
NSF's Summer Scholars Internship Program is a 10-week-long summer internship for undergraduate and graduate students. Students participating in the program work in NSF offices that align with their academic interests.
Through the program, interns learn about science administration and how federal policies affect the science and engineering community.
Undergraduate students who are citizens, nationals or permanent residents of the United States are eligible to apply. Students must have completed at least their sophomore year.
Students interested in the NSF Summer Scholars Internship Program can apply through the following organizations:
For more information on the NSF Summer Scholars Internship Program, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Applying to graduate school?
Undergraduates and bachelor's degree holders applying to graduate programs are eligible to apply to NSF's Graduate Research Fellowship Program.
The program offers three years of financial support to students participating in full-time, research-based masters and doctoral degrees in science, technology, engineering or math or STEM education.