Research in Optics Program

Study light with the RiO REU program!

Did you know optical engineers and scientists design real-world items that we use every day? Smart phone displays and cameras, 3-D technology, Blu-ray players, and medical imaging equipment are just some of the items they help create. Optics is used in a variety of fields, from astronomy to physics to nanotechnology. 

The College of Optical Sciences is internationally recognized for its innovative research programs. Our research covers a broad set of technologies and techniques for using the properties and applications of light, touching virtually every field of science and industry. Our faculty are innovative and decorated — and constantly expanding the boundaries of optics knowledge. Apply to become part of the experience with the RiO program!

During the 10-week summer program, a maximum of 10 students will engage in world-class optical sciences research and will learn of the versatile application of optics. 

Participants will also:

  • Learn valuable public speaking skills
  • Give a presentation on their work 
  • Showcase their research at a poster session
  • Complete a GRE prep course & take the GRE exam
  • Receive a stipend
  • Receive six units of Research Credit
  • Be provided with on campus housing
  • Have travel expenses covered to and from Tucson, AZ (mileage reimbursement determined on a case-by-case basis for RiO scholars who drive)

View Previous Program Results

Interested in Applying?

  1. Read about our current research programs (below) and choose your top three. (You will need to select them within the application).
  2. Complete the online application no later than February 1, 2020 at 6:00 p.m. for priority selection.
  3. The Summer 2020 application is in development. 

Important Dates:

  • February 1, 2020: Priority application deadline
  • March 1, 2020: Notification of acceptance
  • June 2 - August 7, 2020: Program Dates

Current Research Programs

Please read the following and choose your top three research projects. You will need this information to complete the application form.

  • Check back soon for Summer 2020 Research Projects!

For questions regarding the RiO REU program, please contact Amber R. Soergel, undergraduate academic and career advisor at 520-626-6737 or