Frequently Asked Questions

How do I contact the REU program for further information?

The director of the REU program at the IfA is Nader Haghighipour.
You can send email to

or send correspondence to:

Dr. Nader Haghighipour
REU Program 
Institute for Astronomy 
2680 Woodlawn Drive 
Honolulu HI 96822

Please do not ask to check if your application is received. We receive over 600 envelopes or emails related to the applications and do not have the resources to answer individual requests about completeness. Once we begin reviewing the applications, we may contact you or your letter writers if there is important missing information.

Who is eligible to apply to the REU program?

All applicants must be enrolled in an bachelor degree program at the time of the REU. Seniors who will graduate before the summer of 2019 are not eligible. Applicants must be a US citizen or permanent resident.

What is the deadline for applications?

The application form and at least two letters of recommendation must be received at the IfA by February 1, 2019.

Note that if you are accepted into the program, we will request an official transcript as verification. Letters of recommendation must be in pdf format and uploaded directly onto the website using the reference-upload-form.

What kind of academic background is required for the REU program?

A strong science background is obviously beneficial. Many, but not all, previous participants had GPAs greater than 3.5. An astronomy major or minor is not required, however. You will learn a lot of astronomy through the exposure that this program offers, in the research program, the observing, and the seminar series.

What other skills would be useful for my application?

Computer programming skills are a plus since much of modern astronomical research (image analysis, data processing, solving equations, etc.) is computationally intensive. Good verbal and written communication skills are useful because of the interactive nature of the program and because REU participants are expected to write up their research and give a presentation to the Institute at the end of the summer. Previous research experience, however, is not a requirement.

How many applicants apply to the program each year?

The program is competitive: there are typically over 300 applicants for the 10-12 participants each year.

How are students matched with a faculty member and research plan?

Faculty members propose an REU project in a particular field. The REU research page has summaries of the various research programs at the Institute. Applicants should indicate which research area they are interested in working on in the application form. The faculty then review the applications in their relevant field and choose a student based on their academic record, accomplishments, personal statement, and letters of recommendation.

When will I know if my application is successful?

We expect to begin contacting successful applicants on March 1, 2019, but it may be several weeks before the list of REU participants is finalized. Please note that we do not have the resources to check an application for completeness before the deadline (that is your responsibility), but we will email every applicant of our decision by the end of March.