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Undergraduate Chemistry
REU and Undergraduate Summer Research Opportunities

The Chemistry Department offers summer research opportunities to chemistry majors and students from other universities.  Participating in summer research can help jump-start your career.  


Benkovic Scholarship

Planning to participate in research this summer? The Benkovic Summer Research Award can help you fund your chemistry summer research experience. The Benkovic Award provides financial support for undergraduates who are conducting outstanding unpaid summer research on campus under the direction of a faculty member. Only undergraduates who are conducting research in chemistry at University Park during the summer of 2019 are eligible to apply.

How to Apply

To apply, please submit an unofficial transcript and a one-page summary of your summer research plans to Stacy Englert ( by March 15, 2019.  All applications must include a letter of support from the faculty member with whom the student plans to do research with.


Summer REU Program

The Department of Chemistry Summer Undergraduate Research Program provides undergraduate students the opportunity to participate in frontier chemistry research at one of the nation's premiere research institutions.

The National Science Foundation funded Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program focuses on catalysis and dynamics. You can perform research with the listed participating faculty on any of the topics of the REU program: we match your interests with those of current faculty.

Students work closely with a Penn State faculty member, together with graduate students and postdoctoral scholars in the research group.

Possible Undergraduate Research Projects


How to Apply

  1. Create a Friends of Penn State account at:

  2. Complete the on-line application using the link in the next section (we recommend opening in a new window to keep the below instructions open) following the directions below:

  • Indicate two faculty members from whom we will request recommendations (please do not send these separately). We recommend that these letters be from your faculty advisor and a chemistry professor.

  • In your statement of research interests, Indicate your first, second and third choice of research project topics

  • Send an official transcript by regular mail to:

Chemistry Summer Undergraduate Research Program
c/o The Department of Chemistry
The Pennsylvania State University
104 Chemistry Building
University Park, PA 16802

Two students performing research in a lab
Apply Now

The Application closed on Feb 15th 2019

Program Information

The program will run from May 23rd to August 2nd for the summer of 2019. If these dates conflict with your school's academic schedule please let us know on your application form. It may be possible to arrange alternative dates in some cases.

  • Must be a US citizen to apply

  • Preference is for students who are entering the junior or senior year in fall 2019

  • Students should have successfully completed core courses in science and math

  • Applicants must be majoring in chemistry, biochemistry, chemical engineering or related majors

  • Have a minimum GPA of 3.00

Students will receive a stipend of $4,800 for the ten-week summer research program.

We will be able to reimburse out-of-state students for travel expenses to and from Penn State. The University Park campus is located in central Pennsylvania, in the town of State College. State College is about a three hour drive or bus ride from Pittsburgh and Baltimore, and about four hours from Philadelphia, Washington DC or New York. Flights into State College are available through Detroit, Philadelphia, Chicago O'Hare or Washington Dulles. For more information about traveling to State College, visit Penn State visitors' guide webpage.

Visiting REU participants will be housed in apartments that are a short walk from the Department of Chemistry. Students will be responsible for making their own arrangements for meals. A number of restaurants are available both on and off campus. On campus meal plans are available. Convenience and grocery stores are also within easy reach should students want to use the apartment kitchens and microwave ovens will also be provided.

Please let us know if you will be staying in the housing provided.  Parking is an option but will be an extra charge.

The first full day on campus will be spent on an orientation tour of the chemistry department, research facilities, libraries, and Penn State campus. This tour also includes recreation and cultural facilities, and other resource centers. You will meet your faculty advisor and the graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in your research group. During the second day, we offer an introductory safety course and a workshop on utilizing library and electronic resources. Additional professional development workshops will continue throughout the summer.

Throughout the ten week period we will have a weekly seminar where faculty will describe their work or other exciting current developments in their field. There will be plenty of time for discussion and questions. There will also be picnics, outings and other recreational activities organized. The aim is to encourage the participating undergraduates to get to know the graduate students, postdocs and faculty on an informal level.  These activities will help participants to get a feel one of the best ways of really getting a feel for what a career in chemistry is all about.

At the end of the summer students will present their work at a symposium. Each student will present a short talk and poster about their research to an audience of students and faculty advisors. We will provide training and assistance in preparing both the poster and oral presentation. In 2018, over 130 students participating in undergraduate research across campus took part in the symposium, giving students broad exposure to research at Penn State and experience presenting their work in a professional meeting environment.


Chemistry Summer Undergraduate Research Program
c/o The Department of Chemistry
The Pennsylvania State University
104 Chemistry Building
University Park, PA 16802