College of Science

Ocean Science REU

Frequently Asked Questions

  • When is the application deadline?

    The 2024 deadline is February 2, 2024 at 11:59 pm Pacific Time.

    What is the contact info for the Monterey Bay REU Program?



    Where can I find more information about the REU Program details and past student experiences?

    For program details check out our social media platforms (InstagramTwitterFacebook page).

    For student-generated content detailing their experiences, check out our #MontereyBayREU, which features student photos, tweets, instagram posts, Youtube videos, and more.

    Who can apply? (e.g., Do I have to be a U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident?)

    Applicants must be U.S. Citizens or Permanent Residents enrolled in a two-year or four-year institution of higher education. Preference is given to students who are rising sophomores or juniors.

    The Monterey Bay REU encourages applications from individuals who are members of a group(s) that is historically underrepresented in the marine geosciences and related sciences, including students who are Black/African American, Chicano/Latino, Indigenous American, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, Asian/Asian American, mixed-race POC, female, first-generation college students, veterans, and students with disabilities. The Monterey Bay REU welcomes applicants of any race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, genetics, disability, age, or veteran status; students who have experienced and worked to overcome educational or economic disadvantage and/or have personal or family circumstances that may complicate their continued progress in science careers.

    How much is the stipend and is it taxable?

    The stipend for the Monterey Bay REU Program is $6,000 for the 10-week program. The stipend is considered by CSUMB to be a scholarship/fellowship and no form is issued by the campus for tax reporting (e.g., no Form 1099 or 1098-T, etc.). However, the stipend is taxable and can be self-reported in your tax filings.

    Is housing provided for the summer?

    Housing will be arranged for you on the CSUMB campus.

    What other expenses are covered? (e.g., travel, housing)

    Your room and board are covered in full. We cover your travel expenses up to $500.

    We also provide funding for students to present their completed REU research at a conference.

    Is there tuition costs and course credit that would transfer over to my current college/university?

    You are not charged tuition costs for this program. We do not offer credit for the program, but you may be able to arrange credit through your home university.

    What does the Monterey Bay REU Program entail? In-field research with mentors or classroom setting?

    This is a research training program that combines an independent research project, trainings, and professional development workshops. Field and laboratory work is dependent on your assigned mentor and project. Please see our program page for more details.

    How do applicants select mentors?

    Applicants must review the list of mentors and their projects. On the application’s Mentor Preferences section, students are required to name their top three mentors from the list and explain how these mentors and projects match their research interests. Selections are made based on mutual interests between mentor and student.

    There are water-based activities in the Monterey Bay REU Program. Can I still participate in the program if I am not a good swimmer or if I get seasick?

    You will receive water safety and boat training early in the program. We will work with you to identify projects that are best suited to you. Please indicate these special notes in the Additional Information prompt of the online application.

    I have a disability (mobility, sensory, learning, psychological, medical, or other). Can I still participate in this REU program?

    Students with disabilities are encouraged to apply to our program. We will work with you to identify projects and program activities that fit your abilities and interests.

  • If I previously participated in an REU program, may I still apply to the Monterey Bay REU Program?

    Yes, but only in certain cases. Contact us directly for more information at

    If I am graduating in Spring 2024 with a Bachelor's degree, am I eligible for this program?

    If you are graduating in Spring 2024 or you will have received your degree by the start of the REU, you are not eligible for the program.

    I have already completed a Bachelor's degree and am currently enrolled in a new program at a university or college. Am I eligible for this program?

    Unfortunately, no, we cannot accept students who have already received a Bachelor's degree, even if you are currently enrolled in a new program.

    If I am a student at a university or college that uses the quarter system, may I arrive late to the program?

    Students in the Monterey Bay REU Program must participate in the full ten-week program. We are not able to make accommodations for late arrivals— losing a week would represent a significant loss of time and prevent you from fully engaging in the planned professional development and social activities, as well as make it difficult to develop an original project that can be completed during the time frame of the program. Please refer to the National Science Foundation (NSF) website for a list of Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Programs whose dates work with your schedule. We are able to proctor any final exams if students make arrangements with their home institution.

    Is this REU Program open to students studying at two-year institutions? What about students who are finishing their second year and plan to be juniors at a four-year university in the Fall?

    Community college students are encouraged to apply. Those who are transitioning to four-year institutions are encouraged to apply to the program as well.

  • When will I be notified about acceptance to the program and how much time do I have to decide?

    Initial acceptance notifications will be made by mid-March. Selected individuals usually have two weeks to confirm participation.

    Are Letters of Recommendation required to participate in this program?

    Yes. Applicants are required to provide contact information for two recommenders. Your references should submit their letter by the application deadline. Please be sure to ask recommenders for permission to include their information before final submission of the application.

    **2/6/24 UPDATE ON LETTERS OR RECOMMENDATION: Our program previously did not require letters of recommendation at time of submission, only contact information. Now that our applications are handled directly by NSF's ETAP portal, they require letters of recommendation at time of submission of the complete REU application.  We apologize for any confusion prior wording on a certain part of the application website may have caused. If your recommender has not submitted their letter to ETAP yet, please have them do it by 8:59pm (Pacific Time) on Thursday, February 8th, 2024!

    What if I made a mistake on my application? Can I change it?

    Once an application is submitted via ETAP, you must contact ETAP support ( to make any changes needed.

  • "The entire REU experience was amazing but the highlight was the seminars we attended every Friday, as well the networking opportunities. Both allowed me to grow and develop as a scientist."

    "Through the REU internship, I realized what I want to study in graduate school, community ecology and conservation. I learned what I enjoy studying, and what I would like to specialize in."

    "The highlight of my research experience was meeting a diversity of people. Not only did I get to know the students I lived with, I also got to know the MBARI interns and the MBARI faculty. I hope to keep in touch with most of these people and hopefully work with them again in the future. My experience in my lab at MBARI helped me specialize my research goals and opened many doors."

    "Starting this program I had the expectation I was going to be doing groundbreaking research. It was hard for me at first to start a project that will not necessarily change anything about the world, and is just knowledge for the sake of knowledge. My attitude has changed toward research and I now realize it is important to do foundation research that can be built upon in the future. This experience has really solidified the areas of research I want to go into, and now I know what classes I should take to prepare me for my future."

    "It's hard to pick a singular highlight, but one that makes the list was realizing that I love fieldwork. Being out on the water--installing and retrieving pH sensors, or sampling water while observing seals swim through the kelp forests near Hopkins--will always be a great memory."

    "The process of writing the paper and getting more practice with communicating effectively is something that I struggled with a lot but feel very accomplished with now."

  • "One piece of advice that I would give to incoming REU students would be to really make an effort to take advantage of all the opportunities the program provides. For example make an effort to really make connections with your mentors and other students. In addition also take advantage of the workshops as they provide invaluable information about useful skills for the future as well as applying for grad school. I found the workshops to be incredibly useful as I consider my options after graduation."

    "The only advice I feel like incoming REU students would need would be to take your research over the summer seriously and to put in all of your effort because you can get a lot out of ten weeks."

    "Take ownership of your research, but speak up if you need your adviser to be more involved. This is probably one of your first research experiences, and you aren't expected to know how everything works. It is a hard balance to achieve, but you should be responsible for your own work without being afraid to ask for assistance."

    "Time management is huge. I thought I was completing all of my project goals in a timely manner, but in the end I was pressed for time in the last couple of weeks due to the composition of the paper and presentation preparation."

    "Incoming REU students should be sure to exploit the full potential of the opportunity. Be sure to network with the scientists you meet, explore the Monterey area, and become friends with the rest of the cohort. Things are a lot of fun when you all get along. I did all of these things and I had an amazing time."

    "You will get as much out of the experience as you put into it. It's a lot of work, but it is more than worth the effort."

    "In my own lab, when things were not going well and I was out of things to do, I just kept trying to figure it out myself instead of going to my advisor because I thought that’s what he would prefer. I’m realizing now that the best way to learn from a mentor and, surprisingly, to impress them and create a good relationship is to ask a lot of questions."

    "The best advice I could give is to work hard, try your best to enjoy yourself, and really “buy in” to what the program is offering to you. This will make the summer a positive and enriching experience that you will be able to remember for a lifetime"