Center for Tree Science Undergraduate Research Fellowship Program -- now a National Science Foundation-sponsored REU site!

VIDEO: Follow in the footsteps of a 2016 undergraduate research fellow and learn more about the program at The Morton Arboretum. 


February 2019 UPDATE: Our program’s commitment to train the next generation of tree scientists has been recognized by our nation’s top science and engineering funding agency, the National Science Foundation (NSF).  We are now an official Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) site, which elevates the status of our program and provides additional funds to continue our mission. The title of our summer course is now “REU site at The Morton Arboretum: Integrated tree science in the Anthropocene”, and we've extended the application deadline to March 1st.

There are many ways to get involved with the Center for Tree Science. Undergraduate Research Fellows engage in a formal 10-week summer course that trains students in the scientific process by completing an independent research project, including question development, study design, data collection and analysis, and final presentation to several audiences. Students work directly with individual mentors who will advise and guide them through the entire process.  Learn how to apply


As human populations grow and landscapes become more urbanized, our reliance on trees and the ecosystem services they provide is rapidly increasing. Unfortunately, the incoming pool of young scientists is not keeping pace with the demand for new knowledge and innovation in this very important and growing field. Towards addressing this need, The Morton Arboretum's Center for Tree Science offers a research internship program focused on tree science. The Center for Tree Science Undergraduate Research Fellowship (CTS-URF) is one way the Center for Tree Science is helping advance the field of tree science and train the next generation of tree scientists.

Students in the CTS-URF program spend ten weeks at The Morton Arboretum under the mentorship of our Research Scientists and Research Associates. The CTS-URF is designed to engage undergraduate students in the scientific process through the completion of an independent research project, falling in one of our major research areas. Research at the Center for Tree Science is focused on trees, obviously, but there are many facets to tree science. Students will have the opportunity to indicate their preference among available mentors at the Morton Arboretum. Our scientists cover a broad range of topics: basic tree biology, forest ecology, arboriculture, biomechanics, root biology, soil science, genetics, phylogenetics, systematics, conservation biology, and restoration ecology. 

Students participate in weekly activities, such as seminars, field trips, and social events. The program endeavors to promote critical thinking, independence, self-confidence, perseverance, and group working skills. Participation in the program will help prepare students for graduate studies and professional careers in science-related fields. At the end of the program, students will be required to prepare a scientific poster and give presentations of their work in a student research symposium at The Morton Arboretum. The students also interact with peers in similar programs based at the Chicago Botanic Garden and the Field Museum. 

More information on research at the Arboretum can be found here and students are encouraged to contact lead scientists directly to discuss potential areas of study and projectsPlease contact with any general questions. 

Apply for an Undergraduate Research Fellowship

Undergraduate Research Fellows engage in a formal 10-week summer course that brings students through the steps of a scientific research project, including question development, data collection, analysis, and communication.  Learn more

Alumni News

Find out what Undergraduate Research Fellows have been doing since their time at The Morton Arboretum.  LEARN MORE

Past Fellows 

Meet the past Undergraduate Research Fellows and learn about their research projects and experiences.  LEARN MORE

Symposium Presentations

Watch fellows present their research projects at the Center for Tree Science Undergraduate Research Symposium, held at The Morton Arboretum each summer.  LEARN MORE

Goals & Activities

The CTS-URF is designed to develop the next generation of tree scientists and ecologists, while contributing to the body of ecological research on trees and on-going research at The Morton Arboretum. Students will work on a research project, prepare a scientific poster, and present their findings in a public symposium. They will also participate in weekly activities, such as seminars and fieldtrips.  learn more

Calendar - important dates

The CTS-URF accepts applications from January 1, 2019 - March 1, 2019 (extended!). The 2019 program runs June 3 through August 9.  LEARN MORE

Fellows Blog

Communicating science to the public is an important skill for any researcher. Center for Tree Science Undergraduate Research Fellows describe their projects, as well as their personal experiences during the program. Highlights from the field trips are also featured.  LEARN MORE  

Blog Archives

Undergraduate Research Fellows from 2014 and 2015 describe their experiences during the program.  LEARN MORE


Additional information available upon request. Please contact  LEARN MORE