REU Program

Program Overview

This program is supported by funds from the National Science Foundation as part of the Research Experiences for Undergraduates Program. The primary purpose of the REU program at WWU is to provide an authentic research experience for undergraduate students with limited access to research at their home institution. The REU program is open to all undergraduate students that meet the qualifications listed below. An emphasis will be placed on admitting students from community colleges and underrepresented minorities.

Projects involving REU students at Western Washington University are available in four main fields of study (synthetic chemistry, biochemistry, materials chemistry and computational chemistry). There are 3-5 faculty members in each of these categories, which are listed below. In addition to being heavily involved in a research project, REU participants will participate in other activities, including a series of weekly professional development workshops, field trips to sites of local interest, and a final symposium/poster session.

The REU Fellowship includes a $4,500 stipend, housing (shared room in an on-campus apartment with a kitchen and private bathrooms), a $1000 allowance for meals, and reimbursement for reasonable relocation travel expenses.

To be eligible for the WWU REU program, you must

  • be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
  • not be graduating before the summer
  • be a full-time student
  • be available for full-time research work (minimum of Monday-Friday, 9:00 am-5:00 pm) throughout the program duration
  • be prepared to live on-campus for the duration of the program.


All portions of your application must be received on or before April 1. Offers may be extended throughout the application process, and all positions may be filled prior to the deadline. Thus, you are highly encouraged to submit your application well before the deadline. The WWU REU Program especially welcomes applications from community college students, women and students from populations that are underrepresented in the sciences.

Apply to REU

Due to COVID restrictions and concerns, we will not have a summer 2021 REU program. We will resume in summer 2022. Applications will open in January 2022.

Summer 2022 Faculty

Contact REU Program

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I apply if I am not a US citizen or permanent resident?
Unfortunately, no. The REU program can only support citizens and permanent residents of the US; we will be unable to process your application if you are not one of these. 

If I am not able to start the program the first day specified, can I still participate in the program and just extend my time at the end?
The program dates are firm and we cannot grant exceptions. Students must be able to arrive on campus in time for the first day of the program and stay through the entire time period. 

Will my travel expenses be covered to get to Bellingham, WA?
Yes. The REU program will reimburse all reasonable costs for air travel (or driving) from your home or college/university location to Bellingham, WA as well as transportation to/from the airport. The closest airport is Bellingham International Airport (BLI) which is about 10 miles from campus. Seattle-Tacoma International Airport is also an option, but is 90 miles south of Bellingham.

Where will I be staying? When are the move-in and move-out dates?

REU participants will be housed in two-bedroom apartments (two students per room) in on-campus housing that is about 1 mile from the chemistry building. All residence hall rooms are fully furnished. Linens are not provided. Internet is provided at no additional charge. Campus residence halls will be available starting 3 days before the beginning of the REU program and will continue to be available 3 days after the last day of the REU program.

Are there cooking facilities?
Each apartment contains a full kitchen that includes a stove/oven, sink, microwave and a refrigerator. The kitchen does not come with any utensils (pots, pans, etc), so you may want to bring these with you. We will try to obtain some basic cookware for each apartment, but it may not be complete.

When will I receive my first paycheck?
Assuming all financial documents and other employment-oriented paperwork are in order upon arrival, the first paycheck likely will be available within the first three to four weeks of the program. All participants are encouraged to arrive with enough funds to cover initial expenses. 

Will I have access to the gym facilities?
WWU has a newly built recreation center that is available to REU participants at a cost (~$35 per month). This facility offers an indoor pool, free and machine weights, an indoor track, and other standard programs.

Should I bring a car to campus? How will I get around the city?
You are free to bring a car to campus. You will need to pay for summer parking of your vehicle. The Bellingham bus system is quite good for a small city, so a car is not needed, but would be a valuable resource for exploring the area. 

What type of leisure activities are available when we are not involved?
Bellingham is a mid-sized city and has many leisure activities that will meet most participants’ needs. Bellingham is a great area for hiking, backpacking, camping, cycling, kayaking, golfing, exploring islands, night life, visiting Canada (if you have a passport), and much more.