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International Student Summer Research Program

This highly competitive program is designed to provide promising undergraduate and masters students in chemistry from all over the world the opportunity to conduct first class research at the University of Rochester. The program is meant for outstanding students that intend to enter a chemistry PhD program.

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Program Details

The 2024 iScholar program will run from June 3 to August 9. Through the program, participants receive a weekly stipend to cover living expenses, on-campus accommodation, health insurance, and up to $1250 toward travel costs. The program also covers any associated registration and tuition fees.

Through the International Services Office (Student Group) and Center for Education Abroad Office, we will assist you in securing a US Visa to conduct research at the University of Rochester. Note that the participant is responsible for covering any fees associated with visa application and/or registration.

What to Expect

You will be doing research full-time under the supervision of a faculty member of the chemistry department. Your specific project will depend on the group that you are assigned to.

While not conducting research, you will live on campus and will be given the opportunity to participate in a seminar series and a poster event that is designed for summer research students. There will be several opportunities for networking throughout the summer. There are no courses associated with this program.

All participants are required to stay for at least eight weeks, and for a maximum of ten weeks.

Alternative Program Dates

While we do try to bring all participants around the same period of time, we understand that school periods vary from country to country and may not necessarily coincide with the US college calendar. In your application, please be very clear about your time availability as we use this information to establish a set of dates that works.

Nevertheless, there are several reasons why coming in the preferred period is best. First, during this period there are other undergraduate students doing research in the department, giving you access to a network of peers during your stay, and to a series of events that are catered specifically to this group. Further, on-campus residences are only available during a fixed period during the summer. Thus, coming off-season may require finding off-campus accommodation.


To be eligible for this program you must:

  • Not be a US citizen or current resident
  • Be currently studying outside of the US
  • Have not pursued or are not currently in a PhD program
  • Be in an undergraduate or master’s program with a focus on chemistry or a related field (e.g. physics, biology, engineering, computer science, etc.)
  • Plan to do a PhD in chemistry

Because of the competitive nature of this program preference is given to students that are planning to start a PhD in chemistry in the immediate future (within the next 18 months from the time of the program).

How to Apply

The deadline for applying to the program is February 1, 2024. 

To apply, you’ll need to complete and submit an online application, with the following materials/content:

  • An unofficial copy of your transcripts (with English translation)
  • A copy of your CV in PDF format
  • Contact information of two professors that are familiar with your work to serve as references*

*A copy of your application and instructions on how to submit their reference letter will be sent to them from Please follow up with your references to make sure that they have received this email. Note that this automated email is sometime filtered as spam.

You will receive via email a copy of your submitted application and confirmation when your recommendation letters are received.

Decisions and offers will be made in the last week of March.

Application FAQs

My country of origin does not appear in the list of possible countries in the website. Can I apply?

Absolutely. Please use option “other” in Country and Country of Citizenship in the application form, and manually enter the name of your country.

I cannot convert my grades to the percentile system (0 lowest, 100 highest) in the website as the two grading systems are not compatible. What do I do?

In most cases it should be possible to express your grade as a percentage. If this type of conversion is impossible in your case, then just leave your grades in their original format and add a few sentences in your personal statement that help us understand them with precision.

I am concerned that my grades may not look strong on a percentage scale even when I am a top performer. What do I do?

We understand that grading practices change from country to country, and we have a reasonable sense of grading systems around the world. However, to help us understand your grades better we encourage you to add a sentence or two in your personal statement explaining the grading system in your country, and how do you rank among your peers.

If I am at the master's level, should I submit grades of my master's and bachelor’s degree?

Yes, you should submit grades from both your masters and bachelor’s degree.

What is a CV and how do I construct it?

A CV is similar to a resume. You can model yours after one you find online like this CV example from the Greene Career Center's website.

Can the request for letters of recommendation be sent before I complete my application?

No. Request for letters will only be sent once you submit your application. Make sure that your letter writers are aware that this is coming such that they can be ready by the time that you complete your application.

Can I translate my own transcripts?

Yes. Your own faithful translation of your transcripts is acceptable.

Do I need an official English test score to apply?

No, you don’t need it. Just be precise in your own self-assessment of your command of the English language in the application form.

Is it acceptable to submit only one recommendation letter from a senior scientist?

Yes, it is acceptable. However, having two different letters from senior scientists would make your application more competitive as it helps us understand your profile and accomplishments better.


Below is a list of frequently asked questions regarding the i-Scholar program. Please consult this section before requesting additional information at We will be happy to address any other questions you may have.