Research Experience for Undergraduates

May 29-July 28, 2016, Samford University will host a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program that will provide an in-depth faculty-mentored research experience for 12 students. The program focuses on multidisciplinary research to study interactions in complex systems ranging from the molecular to the landscape scale in a diverse Appalachian ridge and valley ecosystem at Oak Mountain State Park (OMSP) near Birmingham, Alabama.

Student projects may involve both field and laboratory research to address questions in ecology, biochemistry, population biology, botany, geography, plant chemistry, molecular biology, cell biology and pathogenesis. Mentors are from the departments of biological and environmental sciences, chemistry, geography, and pharmacy at Samford University. At Samford, undergraduate students become research colleagues. REU students have access to a wide array of individual labs, core facilities (e.g., electron microscopy, LC-MS, cell culture), and the unique Oak Mountain Interpretive Center research facility.

Students are expected to perform full-time research and to participate in weekly workshops on professional skills (i.e., ethical conduct in research, data analysis, scientific communication), career opportunities, and the graduate school application process. In addition to doing research, students will enjoy social activities, including field trips. Discussions with mentors, experts, and fellow students will help participants compare complex biological and biochemical interactions across research topics.

Students are selected based on academic record, professional goals and potential for outstanding research. Outstanding undergraduate students who have limited opportunities to participate in research at their home institutions and students from underrepresented minority groups are particularly encouraged to apply.

Stipend, Travel and Housing+

REU participation includes:

  • Stipend ($525/week) for the nine-week program.
  • Round trip travel to Birmingham, Alabama.
  • Room & board in Samford University residence hall and dining facility.

Application Process+

Application deadline is Feb. 15, 2016

All application materials should be submitted electronically to reu@samford.eduPlease include the applicant’s last name in the subject line of all email correspondence.

As application materials are received, they will be posted to the “Materials Received” portion of this website.

Who Can Apply?

The program is open to U.S. citizens who are currently sophomores or juniors.

What to Submit

I. Application Form

You should use the online application form below. Once you have submitted the application form, you will receive an email confirming your submission. Please make a copy of the form before you hit submit.  If you do not receive an email confirmation or you are having other problems with the submission of your application, you can send the copy of the application directly to

 II. Transcripts

An unofficial or official copy of your most recent college transcript and a list of current courses should be included with your application. These should be submitted in electronic form to If you are unable to submit electronically, please mail your official transcripts to:

REU Program
Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences
Samford University
800 Lakeshore Drive
Birmingham AL 35216

III. Letters of Recommendation

Request two letters of recommendation from instructors who can best evaluate you. Letters should be e-mailed from instructors directly to   

IV. Personal Statement

Write a two-page (double-spaced) statement that provides a portrait of who you are as a student. This personal statement should be sent as an e-mail attachment to  This should include detailed and specific descriptions of:

  • your research interests and goals
  • your career objectives and how participation in this REU program will help you achieve those objectives
  • your motivation to conduct research• why you are particularly qualified to take part in this REU program
  • any experiences that you feel are relevant to your potential participation in this program, including previous research experience.
  • Please make sure to include your first and last name on the attachment.
  • The title of your attachment should be your name (last_first) and personal statement, i.e., Doe_John personal statement.


Apply Now (Current application period closed}

Student Conduct Agreement

2016 Schedule+

Feb. 15–Application deadline. 5 p.m. Central Standard Time: Application deadline.
March–Application evaluation, student phone interviews
March/April–Students notified of acceptance.
April–Mentors and students begin to discuss projects
May 29–Students arrive at Samford
Weeks 1–2–Introduction to Samford and Oak Mountain State Park, experimental design, research proposals
Weeks 2–8–Research
Weeks 8–9–Analysis, Writing, Student Research Symposium
July 28–Student departure

Our Team

Hannah Gousse in the field

View Past REU Participants

Student explaining her research

View Student Showcase Program

Have Questions?
Get in Touch:

Dr. Malia Fincher
Associate Professor, Dept. of Biological and Environmental Sciences
(205) 726-2928
Dr. Betsy Dobbins
Associate Professor, Dept. of Biological and Environmental Sciences
(205) 726-2937