REU: Summer Research Experience for Undergraduates

Life in the Universe – Astronomy and Planetary Science at the SETI Institute

NEWS ALERT:  For certain administrative reasons, Summer 2017 will be a transitional year for us.  One change is that our formal application process will be conducted entirely by the CAMPARE program, which is only able to consider students who attend a limited number of member institutions. 

If you attend a CAMPARE member institution, then please complete the application form on the CAMPARE website and choose the SETI Institute where it is listed on the application under “Program Interests.” 

If you do not attend a CAMPARE member institution, then we will not be able to receive an application from you this year. 

We anticipate that our program in Summer 2018 will return to looking more like our previous programs have looked, and will return to being open to students from all undergraduate institutions.  In the meantime, we apologize for any inconvenience and wish you all the best in your endeavors. 

Please contact if you have questions or concerns.

Student group photo

General Information about the SETI Institute Astrobiology REU Program

What is it?
Students will work with scientists at the SETI Institute and at the nearby NASA Ames Research Center on projects spanning the field of astrobiology from microbiology to planetary geology to observational astronomy.

Who should apply
Current Sophomore and Junior Undergraduate Students who are United States Citizens or Permanent Residents

Program dates:  June 18 to August 19, 2017.

Financial support
$4500 ($500/week for the 9 weeks of the program).
In addition, participants will be provided with dorm housing.
Travel reimbursement up to $600 for travel from home or
campus to the San Francisco Bay Area.

The Program
The SETI Institute (, a non-profit private scientific research institution located in California’s Silicon Valley, invites you to apply for a summer Research Experience for Undergraduates program for highly motivated students interested in astrobiology research. You will work with scientists at the SETI Institute and at the nearby NASA Ames Research Center on projects spanning the field of astrobiology from microbiology to observational astronomy.

The program usually includes a week-long field trip to the SETI Institute’s Allen Telescope Array, located at the Hat Creek Radio Astronomy Observatory in Northern California, as well as a field experience at hydrothermal systems at nearby Lassen Volcanic National Park.  However, we will not be able to take the field trip to Hat Creek and Lassen in 2017, though we hope to have one or two local weekend field trips; we plan to reinstate the Hat Creek / Lassen field trip in 2018.  Students will also participate in local field trips to places like the California Academy of Sciences and other nearby locations of scientific interest, and attend seminars, lectures, and discussions on astrobiology. You will live in dormitory housing near the campus of the NASA Ames Research Center and observatory facilities at Hat Creek. At the end of the summer you will give presentations on your research projects, and the best projects will be selected for submission to a national scientific conference, which the selected students will be funded to attend.

Two main research areas will be emphasized, with projects including:

  • Astronomy and the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI)
    • Meteor showers and their parent comets
    • SETI and radio astronomy
    • Extrasolar planets
  • Planetary Science and the Search for Life in the Solar System
    • Asteroid dynamics 
    • Mars geomorphology and spectroscopy
    • Survival of microbes under extreme conditions

For more information, email us at