REU, Internships, Shadowing and Studying Abroad: What is the difference?

REU (Research Experiences for Undergraduates):

REUs are federally funded research experiences lead by the NSF (National Science Foundation). They usually provide a small stipend and housing funds. International students are not traditionally eligible for REUs because of federal funding citizenship requirements though some schools have funding specifically for international students. REUs are both competitive and prestigious and are often used as recruiting opportunities for graduate programs.

Most REUs are targeted to rising juniors and seniors though there are a few opportunities for rising sophomores.

Application Requirements:

REU applications require two-three letters of recommendation as well as a statement of interest. Other application questions include relevant experiences, future career plans, or any attributes that may distinguish you from other applicants. A resume and transcript upload are also required. Applications open as early as December 1 and most deadlines will be in February or early March. A competitive applicant will begin preparation in the fall. The link below lists all REU programs and contains links each one’s website for more information.

More information:


Many chemistry internships are available in research and development in industry. These opportunities are best found by going to the careers section of a specific company and applying online. Handshake and LinkedIn are also useful for connecting with alumni to better understand an industry or discovering more internship opportunities.


Emory Career Center offers career discovery days that are advertised via an email blast at the beginning of each semester. Career discovery days offer the opportunity to shadow a professional in a wide variety of fields. The pre-health advising office also offers the opportunity to connect with healthcare professionals in the Atlanta area.

Studying Abroad:

The Emory Chemistry Department offers a unique summer study abroad experience for 6 weeks in Siena, Italy. The program focuses on the application of chemistry to art, the food and wine industry, and architecture — both in and out of the laboratory and classroom. The program also offers the opportunity to travel around Tuscany, seeing historic cities such as San Gimignano and Florence while also studying at the historic University of Siena (one of the oldest universities in Italy, founded in 1240). From visiting art museums to learning about the chemistry of paints in the process of art restoration, the program offers an immersive cultural experience and a new perspective on chemistry.

Academics: Program participants take 3 Chemistry courses for a total of 8 credit hours.

CHEM 370: Biophysical Chemistry (3 credit hours) (James Kindt)
(or if CHEM 370 is complete, CHEM 497R: Supervised Reading)
Biophysical Chemistry will focus on the structure and function of macromolecules in biological contexts. The main themes will be thermodynamic and kinetic stability of proteins and DNA, the creation and use of transmembrane gradients in electrical and chemical potential through transmembrane channels and pumps, and the transformation of chemical energy into mechanical work by molecular motors.

CHEM 468W: Perspectives in Chemistry (4 credit hours) (Michael McCormick & Vince Conticello)
Perspectives in Chemistry will cover topics that connect chemistry to the important aspect of our location in Italy. Our study of the restoration and conservation of art and the production and preservation of food and beverages directly connect chemistry to the history, culture, and economy of Tuscany. Other examples include study of metal production by Etruscans, dyes and pigments in art, and current research into nutraceuticals. Biochemical examples will be a prominent theme in the course.

CHEM 475: Chemistry Seminar (1 credit hour) (all faculty)
This course will discuss emerging topics in modern chemical research at the University of Siena.

Financial Aid and Scholarships are available:

The Office of International and Summer Programs (OISP) has study abroad advisors who can connect students with the financial aid office to look into financial aid options. In addition, any student in the college of arts and sciences that takes the Liberal Arts Edge class is eligible to apply for the Emory Edge stipend, a study abroad or summer internship scholarship that ranges from $1000 to $6000.

2021 Update: The Office of International and Summer Programs (OISP) in conjunction with Emory College leadership has made the difficult decision to cancel all Summer 2021 faculty-led Study Abroad Programs.