IREU | Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for U.S. Students

Applicant Eligibility

Do I need to be an ACS member?
No. ACS member status is not a judging criteria and is not asked on the application. Your membership or lack of it is emphatically not a consideration. Back to top

I am a graduating senior, can I apply?
Generally no. Participants must not have received their Bachelor's degree on or before August 2015 to be eligible. All applicants must have at least one semester of enrollment remaining at their undergraduate institution. Graduating seniors continuing to graduate school should be eligible for the DAAD RISE PRO program. Back to top

I will be enrolling as a freshman next fall, can I participate?
No. All participants must be currently enrolled at a U.S. university in order to apply. Rising freshman have many additional summers of possible REU participation and they are encourages to build their CVs in order to put themselves into the best position in the coming years. Back to top

I will be a rising sophomore, can I participate?
Yes. Rising sophomores with exceptional backgrounds, although rare, have participated in the IREU program in the past. Back to top

I have never done a semester or summer of research, am I eligible?
No. Applicants should have at least a semester or summer of independent research previously before participating in the IREU. This type of independent research can take many forms and applicants with questions should write to discuss further. Back to top

I don't speak any other languages, is this an issue?
No. Students are not required to speak any foreign languages to participate in the exchange. Language ability is not a consideration for selection nor should this prevent an applicant from selecting a project that interests him/her. In fact, selected participants in Italy and Germany will receive funds to learn the language while or before their IREU experience. Back to top

I live in Puerto Rico, can I participate?
Yes. Citizens or permanent residents of the U.S. and/or Puerto Rico may apply as long as they meet the other criteria. Back to top

If my school uses the quarter system, will that prevent me from participating?
No. While most projects run from the end of May to the beginning of August, all have flexibility to accommodate students with varying schedules. The IREU administrators and summer mentors will work together to ensure that all 10-week schedules between May and September can be accommodated. Back to top

Application Process

What happens if I submit an incomplete application package?
We do our best to send reminders when certain portions of your application have not been received. It is, however, your responsibility to follow-up with your references to ensure that their letters of support have been sent before the January 23, 2015 deadline. You will receive confirmation emails when your application form has been successfully completed and when your recommendation letters were submitted as well. If we have not received all of the materials by 23:59:59 EDT on January 23, we will unfortunately not be able to consider your application. Back to top

Can I mail my transcript instead of submitting an electronic version?
In most circumstances, no. Pleas scan a copy of your official transcript and upload it to the application site. We must receive an official transcript, it cannot be unofficial, but it may have an “issued to student” stamp on it. The online form requires a document to be uploaded to serve as the transcript so please create a placeholder file so that you may submit this part of the application before the deadline. If you have additional transcript questions, please email

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Can I submit a PDF of a transcript?
Yes. You do not need to have the university print a physical transcript copy. Many universities provide for electronic official transcripts. These are acceptable. It is prefered if the applicant receives and uploads the PDF without having to involve the IREU office. If still problematic, the electronic copy can be sent directly to Back to top

Is it okay if the official transcript is handed from the registrar directly to me?
Yes. We encourage students to get their official transcript handed directly to them and then upload a scanned copy into the online form. This ensures timely receipt. A transcript that is handed to the student may have a stamp on it that reads “issued to student”, this is perfectly acceptable. The transcript must however be official and from the university you will be enrolled at during the period of travel. Back to top

Can I use an unofficial transcript?
No. Please procure a copy of an official transcript from your univerity. Please contact directly if you have any questions about this policy. Screen captures of of a course listing are not acceptable under any circumstances. Back to top

Who should write the recommendation letters?
For the letters of recommendation, one must come from a university professor of chemistry, materials science, or a related discipline. The other letter writer is up to you though it is encouraged that you select someone who has supervised your laboratory or industrial work. Please have the recommenders use the online form. Back to top

Can the recommendation letters be mailed rather than submitted using the online form?
The online form is the preferred method of receiving the letters of recommendation. However, if a recommender would like to submit a physical copy instead, please have him/her mail it to the address listed above in response to question #2 in this section. The letter must arrive at our office on or before the January 23 deadline so please ensure that you direct your recommender to mail it well before the deadline. The preferred method is to have the recommender fill out the online recommendation form. Back to top

What must be in the letter of recommendation?
There are no specific requirements. However, the letter should be well thought out. Letters that contain appropriate and thorough information are more likely to be positively reviewed than a letter that was put together quickly and does not address any specifics. Back to top

What happens if an item arrives late by mail?
We encourage all applicants to use the electronic submission method as that is the only way to ensure that your materials are received on time. All application materials, including physically mailed items must be received on or before January 23 to be counted. If we do not receive it by then, your application will be marked incomplete. If you are sending an item by mail, please use a delivery confirmation where applicable or follow-up by sending an email to to ensure that it was received on time. Again, the postal service may take some time so please give yourself appropriate padding. Back to top

Will you inform me when all application materials are received?
Confirmation emails are automatically generated upon successful submission of your online application and applicants will also be notified of successful submission by their recommenders using the online form. Please hold on to these emails in case of any technical problems, this will serve as your receipt. Our office will also send out a manual email confirmation letter to all successful applicants shortly after the deadline. If you do not receive this email but believe that you should have, please contact as soon as possible so that we can rectify the situation. Back to top

When will applicants be informed about their decision status?
Selected applicants will be informed of their status generally by mid-March at the latest and be given a week to accept/reject the offer. Alternates will be contacted as needed. Unsuccessful applicants will not be notified of their status until all award positions have been accepted. Back to top

I made a mistake and submitted an incorrect response on the form, what should I do?
Please make any changes as needed and submit the form again. Our office will only use the most chronologically current version of your application so please ensure that your best submission is your last one. If there are any questions on which version we should use, we will contact the applicant. Back to top

Can I receive feedback on the results of my application?
Unfortunately, because of the expected volume of applications, we do not anticipate being able to provide specific feedback to the applicants at this time. Back to top