Application Requirements and FAQs

  1. Do I need to travel to attend this program?
    • The program will be conducted purely online. So no travel is needed.
    • We plan to support some participants to travel to related conferences to present their work.
  2. What are the eligibility requirements of applying this program?
    • Still be an undergraduate student at an accredited institution in the fall semester following the program as required by the NSF REU program for all REU grants
    • Completed at least 15 college credits prior to the start of the program
    • Completed a minimum of one course in programming, one course in calculus and one course in statistics or data science (soft requirement)
    • GPA of at least 3.0 in a scale of 4.0 (soft requirement)
    • Be a citizen, national or permanent resident of United States as required by the NSF REU program for all REU grants
    • Has access to a desktop/laptop computer
    • Be prepared to commit full-time to the summer research experience program
  3. What information is required by the application form?
    • Basic information
    • Course information
    • Research experience
    • Curriculum vitae (CV) or resume
    • Personal statement: It should contain approximately two to three pages about 1) your background in computing, data science, mathematics and statistics; 2) your interest in big data applications in science and engineering; 3) your previous research experiences (if any); and 4) your experience with or interest in team work
    • Transcript (unofficial transcript is fine)
    • Information of two recommenders. Please ask your letter writers to send emails to bigdatareu@umbc.edu. Recommendation Letter should be named as StudentFirstName_StudentLastName_RecommenderLastName.pdf
  4. What if I have not taken courses in programming, calculus, statistics or data science?
    • This is a soft requirement, meaning it is desired, but not required, to have. You are still eligible to apply if you have not taken such sources. Just write ‘N/A’ in the your submission.
  5. What is the structure of the program?
    • This REU Site proposes to deliver the program in three overlapping phases, which are illustrated in the figure below: 1) formal instruction by the faculty mentors with help from graduate assistants (GAs), 2) team-based research projects, 3) wrappup and dissemination.
  6. How long am I supposed to work for this program each week?
    • Each student is expected to work for 40 hours per week on average.
  7. What if I do not have good Internet connection?
    • If you need support on Internet connection, we will explore different ways, including satellite internet service, to support it.
  8. Who should write recommendation letters and what is the exact deadline for recommendation letters?
    • We normally expect they letter writers are your professors who can evaluate your research performance and/or course performance. If you have difficult to get both letters from them, at least have one letter from college professors.
    • It would be great if we can receive the recommendation letters also by application deadline. We suggest you use this deadline when you communicate with your letter writers. It is fine if the letters are sent within a few days (one week) later than application deadline. We did not set hard deadline for letters because we understand they are not directly controllable by applicants.
  9. Should my personal statement be general or focus on one of the research projects to be conducted?
    • It depends on your interests. If both projects are interesting to you, your personal statement can be general. If you are particularly interested in one project, please explain it in your statement. Your statements will help us assign students to into teams.
  10. I’m not eligible for this REU program for some reason. But I’m interested in interdisciplinary big data research. How could I get involved?
    • You are welcome to send an email to our mailbox at bigdatareu@umbc.edu stating your interests. We will contact you if there are proper opportunities. You can also check related PhD program opportunity at UMBC.