Summer Research Opportunities for Undergraduates


Experiencing a new setting and meeting new people is an exciting way to broaden your horizons in physics.  Our department believes that having the opportunity to do research while an undergraduate is a vital component of your undergraduate experience.  While many students find time during the academic year, others are unable to find the time in their schedules.


Doing a Summer Research Experience is a great way to learn about what doing research means.  It also can be used to learn more about a field or institution that you think might be a possibility for your graduate school plans.  Many Rowan physics and physical science majors do summer research programs away from Rowan each summer.


Explore the links below and do your own "Google searches" if you have a more specific topic or field you are looking for (for example, “research for undergraduates in Antarctica,””Summer research for Pre-service teachers”).  You might be surprised as to what you find!


The summer programs are competitively awarded, but again, many Rowan students get the opportunity.  We have placed students at institutions like:  SURF NIST at Gaithersburg, Princeton University, Los Alamos National Lab, Penn State, Univ of Akron, University of Chicago, SURF NIST at Boulder, Notre Dame, Florida Institute of Technology, University of Florida, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Harvard-Smithsonian Astronomical Observatory, College of William & Mary, University of Texas - Austin, and Northern Arizona University, to name a few.


Deadlines are as early as the beginning of December and as late as the end of April.  It is up to you to do your research early so that you don’t miss the "perfect program."  Here are a few links and if you find others that you would like posted, please email them to me (


Students who have returned from internships say that most programs have students who have just finished their sophomore or junior year.  But that does not mean that all programs only accept sophomores or juniors.  There are programs for recently graduated seniors the summer before they begin graduate school too.  If you are a freshman, there is no harm in applying, but realize that you will be a more competitive applicant after your sophomore or junior year. 


Remember there are other summer experiences that can help you grow other than research. There are "volunteer internships" that offer stipends that can only be used to pay for your education. These opportunities might give you a chance to experience other environments and related fields.  (see Student Conservation Association below - open to all over 18 years of age).


Good luck and once you find several programs, be sure to talk with your advisor and see what you need to do to ensure your application is competitive. We can help you!


Resources for Physics and Astronomy Undergraduates

Website brought to you by the AAPT, SPS, and NSF-NSDL.  Browse summer research opportunities, see what you can find!


Pathways to Science

Website for searching paid summer research programs for undergraduates, graduate fellowships, and professional development opportunities



A one-stop-shop for students applying for NASA opportunities – Summer, Spring, Fall and full year opportunities


National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates

The NSF awards REU's to a variety of universities, observatories, museums, and research institutes.  The site enables you to search within a discipline.  Remember though, the future in scientific research is in cross-disciplinary and interdisciplinary programs.  Don't just search in "Physics," expand your search into related fields and interests. (Note:  Early December to late April deadlines)


The Goddard Center for Astrobiology

The Undergraduate Research Associates in Astrobiology (URAA) spend ten weeks conducting active research on Astrobiology related topics at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD. 


Naval Research Enterprise Intern Program (NREIP)

The Naval Research Enterprise Intern Program (NREIP), provides an opportunity for students to participate in research at a Department of Navy (DoN) laboratory during the summer (early January deadline).


National High Magnetic Field Laboratory

Florida State University


Princeton Center for Complex Materials

The Princeton Institute for the Science and Technology of Materials (PRISM) and the Princeton Center for Complex Materials (PCCM) are sponsoring research opportunities for undergraduates in disciplines related to Materials Science summer of 2010.


Department of Energy (for both Science Research AND Pre-service Teacher programs) 

National Laboratories:  Ames, Argonne, Brookhaven, Fermi, National, Idaho, Lawrence Berkeley, Lawrence Livermore, Los Alamos, National Energy Technology, National Renewable Energy, Oak Ridge, Pacific Northwest, Princeton Plasma Physics, Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, and Thomas Jefferson Accelerator, and DOE Headquarters.

Summer, Fall, and Spring semester opportunities.

(Note:  Early December deadlines!)


Department of Energy Scholars Program

The Department of Energy Scholars Program offers summer internships with stipends of up to $650 per week depending on academic status to undergraduates, graduate students and post graduates at accredited institutes of higher education.


Department of State

A broad range of academic majors is sought in areas such as Business, Public Administration, Social Work, Economics, Information Management, Journalism and Biological, Physical or Engineering Sciences.


IBM Research Internship For Undergraduate Women

These summer internships are salaried positions typically 10 weeks long, and include the opportunity to work with a mentor at one of three IBM research locations.


Society of Physics Students Internships (research and pre-service teacher programs)

SPS internships are nine-week, broad-based learning opportunities for undergraduate physics majors in the areas of scientific research, outreach and policy.


TOPS > tops program for physics majors (Pre-service teacher program)

TOPS is a six-week summer program aimed at physics majors who are currently in their sophomore or junior year and are considering careers in teaching at the secondary level. The program is hosted by the Center for Ultracold Atoms (CUA) at MIT and Harvard.


NASA Ames Education

Pre-service opportunity for students who want to be STEM high school teachers


DOE/NSF Teacher Program – Brookhaven National Lab

Pre-service opportunity for students who want to be STEM high school teachers


DOE/NSF Teacher Program - Pacific Northwest National Lab

Pre-service opportunity for students who want to be STEM high school teachers


The NASA Academy

A national educational, training, and research resource for college undergraduate and graduate students, dedicated to promoting current and future opportunities for innovation and leadership in aerospace-related careers.


National Institute of Standards and Technology

SURF NIST Boulder, Colorado

SURF NIST Gaithersburg, Maryland


Naval Research Laboratory

NRL participates in several Student Programs, each with their own features and requirements.


Environmental Protection Agency

Student summer employment opportunities are available at EPA’s headquarters in Washington, D.C., and at regional office and laboratory locations nationwide.


Pacific Northwest Research Laboratory

There are two types of student appointments at PNNL: interns and research associates. Interns are currently enrolled students seeking a degree, and research associates are recent college graduates who work full-time at the Laboratory for an extended period of time (possibly up to 2 or 3 years depending on the position).


Nuclear Regulatory Commission

The NRC hires high school or college students who wish to work during the summer or during school vacations.


Maria Mitchell Observatory (Nantucket) (research and pre-service programs in physical science)


Lunar & Planetary Institute

Houston, TX (LPI and NASA Johnson Space Flight Center)


The Student Conservation Association (for students over 18 years of age)

Summer internships in National Parks doing a variety of jobs.  Although "volunteer", participants get "education credits" and receive a stipend that is used for education costs.  Transportation/housing provided or supplemented. Summer and year round opportunities.


Check back occasionally - we will update this list!


Last updated 11/2013