CERN REU frequently asked questions

General Application Questions: REU Program (see below for the RET Teacher program)

Duration, dates

Every year the program runs from the beginning of June (usually first week) to the beginning of August (usually second week). The applications usually open around October and both applications and reference letters are usually due early in January. (the 2017 application deadline will be January 04, 2017). The precise dates of the program are usually set in early spring.

Academic level and citizenship/residency requirement

The CERN REU is exclusively for students currently pursuing an undergraduate degree. Students from any university are welcome. We do not consider high school students. Due to limitations of our sponsor, we can not consider undergraduate students who are currently not U.S. citizens or permanent residents. Foreign students should check this page at CERN.

Project topics and project selection

There are new projects every summer. Projects are distributed after admission and before arrival to CERN. Examples for previous projects can be found here.

Recommendation letters

Please have two academic reference letter writers submit letters on your behalf. In exceptional cases, if you believe that your academic letters are not sufficient and that a letter from a different person (high school, non-academic employment, coach, etc) will give additional valuable information, you may add this letter.


In case your newest transcripts are not available at the time the application is due, please send us the latest version of the transcript you have. You can always send us a newer version of the transcripts once it becomes available, but please make sure that we have the most current transcript you have by the time the application is due. You can upload an un-official transcript when you apply, accepted students will be required to provide official transcripts.


The European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) is the world's leading laboratory for high energy research located in Geneva Switzerland. There are ~10,000 scientists of ~600 institutions from ~100 countries currently doing their research at CERN. Experimental particle physics requires advanced particle accelerators, experiments to use the beams from the accelerators, and increasingly sophisticated computing facilities to analyze the results. Major breakthroughs in accelerator, detector and computing have been achieved at CERN since its establishment in 1954, among them the World Wide Web. An introduction about CERN can be found by clicking here, the video introduction 'CERN in 3 minutes' can be found here.

Further information

Please do not hesitate to contact us at for further information.

Selection and admissions

Selection will take place early in January. Decisions will be announced at the latest at the end of February, both students who are selected and students who are not selected will be informed. If you have not heard from us by the end of February please send an e-mail to

Admitted REU students: Before arrival to CERN

The information here may be updated as CERN releases details about the 2017 program.

Passport and Visa

If you do not have a passport, please apply for one as soon as possible. No visas are required for most US citizens if you stay for less than 90 days. If you are a permanent resident and need to have a visa to enter Switzerland, please let us know. We need to arrange an invitation letter from the ATLAS  ( This letter will then be mailed to you so that you can contact the nearest Swiss embassy to apply for the visa. 

Flights / Plane tickets

Students' travel to CERN will be arranged by the student office at the University of Michigan. The ticket will be purchased from our travel agent at Conlin Travel and charged directly to the NSF grant that funds your participation in the program. If you purchase an airline ticket yourself we will not be able to reimburse you.
  1. Please call the dedicated toll-free line for UoM, (855) 200-8785. (If calling from outside the US, please call 734-477-6022)
  2. Choose the prompt for International Travel. 
  3. Identify yourself as a participant of the CERN REU Program. 
  4. Discuss your flight options with an international corporate agent. Once your flight has been determined, the agent will work with us for final ticketing and approval.
The restrictions on your ticket purchased are (a) Your ticket must be on a US/Swiss/EU carrier and be from your US home city to Geneva and return (b) All ticket purchases are approved by UM faculty. Conlin Travel will contact us with flight/fare plans and, after we approve the ticket, it is charged directly to our NSF grant. You can go over before the program starts and come back later if you plan to travel in Europe. Accommodations at CERN are only available for the duration of the program.

C++ and ROOT

Most students' projects involve C++ and ROOT. It will be great that you can get prepared in order to have an efficient summer at CERN. Most of you have learnt C before, and C++ is different with the Class structure. Some good introduction of C++ can be found at here. The objects and classes are discussed in Chapter 6.
ROOT is the data analysis tool developed by CERN, you can look at CERN's website at, user's guide can be found at Some short introductions of ROOT can be found at,

CERN buildings and hostels

A map of all buildings at CERN is here, and the CERN hostel website, where participants stay, can be found here.

Our students will stay in CERN hostels, building 38, 39 and 41.  The CERN cafeteria is building 501, and the ATLAS/CMS office buildings are building 40 and 42. The main CERN building is building 50 where you can find ATM machines and stores. The library is building 52. All buildings are within walking distance.

Information for admitted REU students: Arrival to CERN

Airport Pickup

All students will arrive the Geneva airport on one Saturday or Sunday before the program starts, the program managers will wait outside the two exit gates on the ARRIVAL terminal. A picture about the Geneva airport and the place we will wait for you can be find here. We will hold a sign "UM-CERN-REU Program", and since we want to make sure that we pick up all of you from the airport, please wait for us (and do not take the bus to CERN yourself) even if you do not find us immediately.

Information for admitted REU students: Staying at CERN


All students will live inside the CERN Meyrin main campus in a safe and convenient environment. Every student will have their own room at the CERN hostel with a shower and toilet. Free internet connections are available using their CERN computer accounts. In the same building, there is a large communal kitchen equipped with food storage, cooking facilities and eating utensils. Clothes washing and drying facilities as well as irons and ironing boards are also available. Students can easily walk to the CERN cafeteria, library, banks, offices and meeting rooms. Since most summer students from other countries also stay on site, this will give ample opportunity for our students to interact and make friends with other students. Our students will stay in CERN hostels (building 38, 39 and 41). One on-site coordinator will stay with our students to help with any unexpected problems.

Travel around the Geneva area

Some tips for new comers can be found by clicking here. Another website that contains useful information for US LHC visitors can be found by clicking here.
Public transportation around the Geneva area is excellent if you live relatively close to the city. Complete information on schedules, routes and how to get from point A to point B can be found on the TPG website. Single-ride tickets can be purchased at the machines at each stop. BEWARE: these machines DO NOT GIVE CHANGE. You can also purchase a yearly or monthly pass. Yearly passes can be purchased through the CERN Staff Association. Monthly passes can be purchased at the main train station (Cornavain). If you are at CERN short term and staying in a hotel in Switzerland, they can provide you with a free TPG pass for the duration of your stay.

Phone calls at CERN:

Please read this page to find more information for phone calls at CERN: All CERN phones have a 5-digit internal number that can be called directly from outside by dialing 00+41-22-76xxxxx from abroad or 022-76xxxxx from Switzerland. CERN GSM/Mobile phones are 6-digit numbers in the 16xxxx form. You can call these directly from CERN photons. When calling from outside CERN dial country code if necessary and then dial 76-487-xxxx.


CERN is an international lab, most people just wear casual clothes; the final presentation will be recorded and will later be available on the internet, will be good to bring some formal clothes with you also. The temperature difference between days and nights is large, will be good to bring some warm clothes with you also.


The voltage that Switzerland used is 220 V, and if the electronics you have only can work with 110 V, it will not work here. Switzerland uses a different electrical outlet than much of the rest of Europe. The two pins are narrower and spaced slightly further apart. The receptacles are built so that the full plug has to fit, not just the pins. The standard long oval shaped converters often will not fit. A picture of the Swiss plug and socket can be found at It will be good for each of you to prepare one or two for the electronics you bring with you.

Money and Credit card:

It will be good to bring a few hundred US dollars with you so that you can get some CHFs at least for the first few days. There are ATM machines close to your hostel, but they will charge some extra service fee for that. Also you may not be able to use your credit card abroad, will need to call your credit card company to inform them that you will stay at Europe for the next three months and need to use your credit card abroad.

Postal address
The postal address at CERN is:
Student Name
1211 Geneva 23

General Application Questions: Teacher Program

Information for the CERN High school teacher program for US participants is available on QuarkNET. Please contact Ken Cecire,, for further information. Additional information can also be found at QuarkNET will release a program announcement shortly after the New Year.

The 2017 teacher program will run from July 3 to July 23.