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Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some answers to questions we are frequently asked about our program:

What if I don't have much research experience?

We frequently consider students without prior research experience, especially if it's because they come from schools where there were no research opportunities. Our program is structured to give you the background you need to succeed in a research project even without prior experience. We're mostly looking for students with a passion for research, a willingness to work hard, and an interest in physics.

I heard BYU is a Mormon school and I'm not a Mormon. Is that a problem?

Absolutely not. We are anxious to give anyone who is interested an opportunity to participate in this program. We don't ask about your religious preference on the application, because it doesn't matter to us if you're Mormon or not.

I've never been away from home before. Will I be okay in Provo?

We work hard to make sure you have everything you'll need during your stay with us. We will make arrangements for your housing, provide you with transportation to and from the airport and for shopping needs, and help you find social activities when you're not doing research. BYU has a reputation of being a very friendly campus and our past REU participants have told us they found that to be the case. We work hard to support our REU students in everything they do while they are here.

I've never done any research before, so I'm not sure what to put for my project.

Just let us know that in your free text section of your application and tell us what kinds of things you generally like to do in physics. We'll find a good match for you if you're accepted. We'll check with you before making an assignment to make sure you're okay with that.

Your schedule doesn't quite match my school schedule. Can you help me?

Depending on availability of research mentors and housing, we can usually work to accommodate individual needs. Let us know your schedule constraints and we'll see what we can do.

I'm not a U.S. citizen. Can I still participate?

Our funding comes from the National Science Foundation and they have specified that we can only give stipends to U.S. citizens and permanent resident aliens. If you would like to participate without a stipend, we may have a way to accommodate you. Please send us an email explaining your situation.

I'd rather drive to Provo instead of fly so I can have a car available. Is that okay?

You are welcome to do this if you like. We will reimburse you for your travel costs up to the cost of round-trip airfare.

I am a minority student. Will I feel comfortable at BYU?

As you are undoubtedly aware, Utah and BYU generally have smaller populations of minority students than some other areas of the country. Knowing that, we work very hard to make sure our minority participants feel comfortable and welcome on campus. Your participation in our program is a targeted goal we are serious about. Our past minority participants reported that they felt very welcome on campus and didn't have any serious problems being a minority student here. If you have any specific concerns, please email us at so that we can discuss them.

Will I be bored in Provo?

That is unlikely. Besides your active involvement in research and with other REU and BYU students, there are many things to do in Provo over the summer. It's a great place for the outdoor enthusiast with mountain climbing, hiking, cycling, and swimming. For example, a regular summer highlight is a visit to Arches National Park in southern Utah. Provo also has a number of movie theaters, play houses, and other entertainment facilities. We will take a few trips to Salt Lake, which has an even larger variety of things to do. Because informal interaction between students and faculty is an important part of our program, we sponsor a number of activities over the summer to promote this interaction depending on the particular interests of REU students.

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