PhD Admissions: Research Experience

A great way to gain research experience for PhD admissions is through REU programs. Research Experiences for Undergraduates are 8-10 week summer programs funded through the National Science Foundation (NSF) for students interested in science, engineering, and mathematics. Although these programs are mainly for underrepresented students in the aforementioned fields as well as those who do not have many research opportunities at their own institution, anyone can apply!

I wanted to have a section on the blog about this for those who want to attend grad school (especially PhD programs) in the future and are still working on gaining research experience. I attended the Psychology Research Experience Program (PREP) at UW-Madison in 2017 and it did wonders for me! Not only was I able to complete a project that I cared about, but I was also able to make my first time doing research count, as well as meeting students from other colleges/universities. Here are some of my tips when applying:

  • PRO TIP #1: Make sure you choose a program that provides housing!
  • PRO TIP #2: Choose a solid number of programs to apply to (e.g., 7 or 8)
  • PRO TIP #3: Be open! If you can, apply to out-of-state programs; not only will you be able to gain research experience, you will also get the chance to tour a new city!

REU programs will vary greatly in their content. Most will allow you to work independently with a professor and their lab and require that you present a poster/give an oral presentation about your project at the end of the program. Some may even have you write a paper about your project. It just really depends on the structure of the program.

For any Psychology undergrads who are interested in the PREP program, here is where you can find more information.

Here is a list of summer internships/REU programs in various fields to get you all started:

Also, take a look at this great database on the Brooklyn College website (I used it when applying!).

I also wanted to add another list of summer internships/REU programs that international students (who study in the US) may be eligible for:

Unfortunately, I am not sure whether there are any REU programs that international students who study abroad are eligible for, but here are some summer internships happening in countries other than the US.

4 thoughts on “PhD Admissions: Research Experience

  1. Thank you very much for sharing this informative post. I wonder if international applicants are eligible for applying REU programs through the NSF.


    1. Thanks for checking it out! I’m not completely sure, but I can try to add a list on this post of REU programs that international students may be eligible for if I can find a good one.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s