Research Experiences for Undergraduates
Plant Systematics, Conservation Biology, and Ethnobotany

Research Experiences for Undergraduates

June 8 – August 15, 2020

Applications are being accepted

NSF Logo REU Site: Botany and Conservation Biology Research at the Missouri Botanical Garden. (Supported by NSF award DBI-1559962)


Missouri Botanical Garden is pleased to announce the opening of the Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program that will provide research opportunities for 10 students, for 10 weeks during the summer of 2020. Students will work on independent mentored projects in plant systematics, conservation biology, and ethnobotany. Participants will have access to the Garden’s herbarium of more than 7 million specimens, an excellent botanical library, rich garden collections, a laboratory facilities for plant anatomy, microscopy, digital imaging, SEM, and DNA analysis, and the Shaw Nature Reserve – a 2,400 acre ecological preserve featuring prairie, forest, glades, wetlands, and 14 miles of hiking trails.


Students must be returning to an undergraduate degree program in the fall following the REU program. If you will be graduating in May or June in the year of the program, you are not eligible. To be eligible you must also be a U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident.


REU interns receive food and lodging (if not local), support for research, and a weekly $600 stipend.

Mentors and Projects

Students will work closely with a Ph.D. mentor from the Missouri Botanical Garden on an independent research project. Projects available in 2020 involve subjects including taxonomy (especially of plants from biodiverse tropical regions), restoration ecology, conservation biology, plant morphology, and emerging crops. Students will be trained in all aspects of research, including project design, background research using library and electronic resources, methods, data collection and analysis, and presentation of results in a poster, public research symposium, and possibly a published paper. Learn more

Additional Training

Students will also participate in professional enrichment sessions dedicated to a variety of topics, including improving writing skills, ethics in research, intellectual property rights, getting into graduate school, taking the GRE exam, graduate school options, conservation, and sustainable living. Students will participate in weekly Lunch and Learn sessions in which these subjects will be discussed. Students will also participate in field trips to local natural areas and cultural attractions. The REU program will be integrated with other ongoing MBG programs involving herbarium and garden support staff, high school students, undergraduates, graduate students, professional botanists, educators, and visitors.

To apply, please submit a cover letter, application form, letter of recommendation, and transcripts.

Application Deadline - February 29, 2020

Application Instructions


Frequently Asked Questions

What are your guidelines for the reference letters?

Our guidelines are as follows:

a) We are looking for comments on the student's academic ability, motivation, work habits, and potential as a researcher. When selecting a recommender, please be sure they can comment on your potential for conducting research.

b) The letter needs to be written on official university or agency letterhead. We prefer a signed copy. This can be either a scanned letter or email with a digital signature. Provide enough contact information to allow us to contact the recommender if we choose.

c) Letters must be received by the deadline for full consideration.


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MBG Mission "to discover and share knowledge about plants and their environment in order to preserve and enrich life"