Department of Atmospheric, Oceanic & Space Sciences in the College of Engineering at the University of Michigan

Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) at the University of Michigan,  Department of Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences

The Department of Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences at the University of Michigan has a limited number of research assistant positions for undergraduate students enrolled in programs at accredited schools. This program is funded by the National Science Foundation REU program.

Exciting research happens everyday at the University of Michigan Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences department. Be a part of it by earning an undergraduate degree in Earth System Science & Engineering (ESSE).

As a research assistant, you'll get first-hand experience of scientific research in areas of atmospheric, space and planetary science, at an early stage in your career, and at an institution with an international reputation for excellence.

You'll receive a stipend enabling you to work closely with an active researcher on the faculty of the University of Michigan for a period of time (typically 3 summer months at 100% effort) and contribute either theoretically or experimentally to an ongoing research effort.

Areas of Research

  • Studies of cometary and planetary atmospheres using computer modeling
  • Analysis of spacecraft and sounding rocket data
  • Theoretical and experimental studies of the dynamics and chemistry of the Earth's atmosphere
  • Analysis of data from instruments deployed at remote stations
  • Design and fabrication of spacecraft hardware
  • Laboratory calibrations, optics and tests

Types of Equipment:

  • high-speed supercomputers
  • interactive color graphics for data analysis
  • laboratory equipment

How the Program Works

Undergraduate research positions are awarded on the basis of academic excellence, motivation, scientific potential and compatibility of your interests and long-term career goals with current AOSS research interests. The program is designed to provide undergraduate students with "hands-on" experience of research in an organization of national and international repute. If selected, you will be matched with a faculty researcher who will direct your activities for a period of time. Your assignment to a project will be made after you have had a chance to become exposed to the wide variety of research topics available. You will participate in the ongoing research, be expected to prepare a short report and make a presentation upon completion of your project. You will become a temporary member of the research staff at AOSS and will be able to use the excellent computational and support facilities available within the department.


As a research assistant you will receive financial support during your stay at AOSS. This support will be provided at a typical monthly level of ~ $2,180 (in 2014). Most participants will work during the summer period (3 months at 100% effort). Also available is a partial travel and housing reimbursement of up to $2,491 (in 2014) with original receipts.


All undergraduate students enrolled in accredited schools are eligible to apply, though preference will be given to those entering their junior and senior year and specializing in scientific or engineering areas. Minority, female and physically disabled students are encouraged to apply as are students from institutions where research opportunities are limited. A majority of the positions will be available for students attending undergraduate schools (including small liberal arts colleges, community colleges, etc.) where research opportunities are limited. Student participants must be citizens or permanent residents of the United States.

How to Apply

Interested undergraduate students should submit a letter of application along with an official transcript and a letter of recommendation from a faculty advisor to the REU-AOSS program director at the address listed below. The letter should include a short statement of interest and a discussion of your long-term career goals as they relate to scientific research opportunities. The deadline for applications is March 1. Letters of application can be submitted on-line or via postal mail to:

Dr. Michael R. Combi
Research Experiences for Undergraduates Program
Department of Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences
University of Michigan
2455 Hayward Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2143

Any Comments or Questions?
Email Michael R. Combi

About AOSS and SPRL

Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences (AOSS) is a broad interdisciplinary academic department in the U-M College of Engineering. There are 50 full-time faculty members and over 100 graduate and undergraduate student research assistants. Research undertaken in AOSS spans several fields of engineering and geophysical sciences with an emphasis on the observation and understanding of the physical processes that control the gaseous, plasma, and liquid envelopes of the Earth, planetary bodies, and interplanetary space.

Experimental interests at the Space Physics Research Laboratory (SPRL), the space engineering organization within AOSS, include the development, testing, and deployment of satellite, balloon, and groundbased instrumentation designed to probe the physics and chemistry of the Earth’s atmosphere. AOSS faculty and SPRL engineers have flown more than 30 scientific instruments on space vehicles for NASA and the European Space Agency; the scientific results of these endeavors have greatly improved our understanding of the Earth’s near-space environment. Theoretical work involves the study of space plasma physics, cometary studies, and numerical simulations of atmospheric processes.