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  • Nitin Jain

20 Science Research Summer Programs at US Institutions

As part of your undergraduate career, research is a prime focus in your junior and senior years - especially for STEM students. Admission officers also look for such prior experience in high school to see that you’ve explored your curiosities formally through the research process. While of course there are research programs like Lumiere, Pioneer, Horizon, Polygence that will help pair you with mentors through the year for your research papers, here is a list of Research Summer Programs at US universities that will help you productively use summer breaks for this purpose.

Research Science Institute (RSI) - Each summer, 100 of the world's most accomplished high school students gather at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) for the Research Science Institute (RSI). RSI is the first cost-free to students, summer science & engineering program to combine on-campus course work in scientific theory with off-campus work in science and technology research.

Eligibility: High school juniors anywhere from the world

Dates and deadlines: Closed for 2023. To be announced for 2024

Cost: Fully Sponsored

Dates: June 25th to August 5th, 2024

Type: Residential at MIT

Deadline: 13th December 2024

Acceptance rate: less than 5%

Summer Science Program offers teens an exhilarating and inspiring immersion into hands-on experimental science. Working in teams of three, 36 participants and 7 faculty form a supportive “living and learning community” over 39 days. Each team completes a real research project, taking and analyzing original data. Afterward, they join a worldwide network of 2,500+ alumni of all ages.

Eligibility: High school juniors and exceptional sophomores anywhere from the world (they cannot sponsor visa)

Dates and deadlines: Feb 16th 

Cost: The program fee is scaled to what each family can afford. No one pays more than the program fee of $8,400 (2024), our cost per participant to operate the program.

Type: Residential

Hosted at: UNC Chapel Hill, Purdue, CU Boulder, Indiana University

Affiliated With: CalTech, Harvey Mudd, MIT

The Michigan State University High School Honors Science/Engineering/Mathematics Program (HSHSP) is a seven-week, intensive summer research program designed for motivated students from across the United States who wish to gain more experience conducting research while living on the campus of a major research-intensive university.

Eligibility: High school juniors

Application deadlines: March Ist 2024

Program dates: June 25 — August 12, 2024

Cost: around $4000

Financial aid: Available

Affiliated Universities: Michigan State University

The Research Mentorship Program is a competitive summer program that engages qualified, high-achieving high school students from all over the world in interdisciplinary, hands-on, university-level research. Students will be paired up with a mentor (graduate student, postdoc, or faculty) and choose a research project from a large list of disciplines offered by the program each year.

Eligibility: High school sophomores and juniors (and exceptional freshmen)

Program Dates: June 17 to August 2, 2024

Application Deadline: March 15, 2024

Program Cost: $4700 to $6599

Financial aid: A limited number of scholarships are available and awarded based on need, qualifications, and availability. Priority is given to California residents.

Type: Commuter or residential

Affiliated Universities: UC Santa Barbara

Acceptance Rate: 6 to 8%

UC Santa Barbara’s Summer Research Academies offer a dynamic summer experience that introduces qualified high school students to the research enterprise through project-based, directed research in STEM, Humanities, and Social Sciences fields. Students will take a 4-unit university course in which they choose and develop a research topic specific to the track they select, under the direction of an instructor who is conducting active research in that field.

Eligibility: High schoolers

Program dates: June 29 — July 28, 2024

Application deadline: March 29, 2024

Program Cost: $2300 to $5,399

Financial aid: A limited number of scholarships are available and awarded based on need, qualifications, and availability. Priority is given to California residents

Type: Commuter and residential

Affiliated Universities: UC Santa Barbara

Acceptance rate: 20% to 30%

The nationally known Aspiring Scientists Summer Internship Program (ASSIP) provides transformative research opportunities for high school and undergraduate students. Selected participants work one-on-one with faculty researchers at George Mason University and collaborating institutions using state-of-the-art technology across many disciplines.

Eligibility: High schoolers

Program dates: To be announced for 2024

Application deadline: Closed for 2024. Applications for 2024 will open in mid-November.

Application cost: $25 (fee waiver available)

Program cost: Free

Financial aid: Available

Type: Remote, In-person and hybrid options

Affiliated Universities: George Mason University

Acceptance Rate: Around 10%

YSPA is a 2-week online + 4-week residential research and enrichment program for 36 rising high school seniors who are interested in astronomy, physics, math, computer programming, and other science and tech fields.

Eligibility: High school juniors

Program dates: June 26, 2023 to August 6, 2023

Application deadline: March 13, 2023 at 11:59pm EDT

Application cost: Free

Program cost: $6,900

Financial aid: Available(up to a 80% tuition remission).

Type: Part of it is online and part is residential

Affiliated Universities: Yale

Acceptance Rate: Less than 10%

The Science Internship Program provides motivated, advanced students with a unique opportunity to work and learn at a premier research institution.

SIP is a summer-long (10-week) research internship program for high school students in STEM fields. UCSC faculty, graduate students, and post-doctoral researchers provide one-on-one mentoring of these high-school interns. The research projects are real in that they are not made up just for the high-school students; instead students are inserted into existing research projects here at UCSC.

Eligibility: High Schoolers (at least 14 years old)

Program dates: June 25–August 19

Application deadline: March 31 (5 PM PDT)

Program cost: $4000

Financial aid: Need based scholarships available

Type: Hybrid

Affiliated Universities: UCSC

Acceptance Rate: 8%

The Anson L. Clark Scholar Program is an intensive seven-week summer research program for twelve highly qualified high school juniors and seniors. The Program at Texas Tech University helps the Scholars to have a hands-on practical research experience with outstanding and experienced faculty. Upon completion of a successful research project report, the Scholar will receive a $750 tax-free stipend.

Eligibility: High school juniors and seniors who are at least 17 on June 18

Program Dates: June 18, 2024 to August 3, 2024

Application Deadline: Closed for 2023 session. To be announced for 2024

Type: Residential

Affiliated Universities: Texas Tech University

Acceptance Rate: Only 12 people

The University of Florida Student Science Training Program (UF SSTP) is a six week residential research program for selected students entering senior year and at least 16 years old by the program start date who are considering science, medicine, math, computer science, or engineering careers. The program emphasis is research participation with a UF faculty research scientist and his or her research team. Students interested in attending the UF SSTP must possess a high level of maturity, an ability to live and learn independently, a desire to work collaboratively, and a sincere interest in research.

Eligibility: High school juniors who will be 16 years old or older by June 11, 2024

Application Deadline: There is no application deadline. Application review and selection will begin March 14th and the process is rolling

Program Cost: $5200

Financial aid: Need-based scholarships available

Type: Online and residential

Affiliated Universities: University of Florida

Cohort Size: 90 students

High School SIP (HS-SIP) provides an opportunity to spend a summer working at the NIH side-by-side with some of the leading scientists in the world, in an environment devoted exclusively to biomedical research.

Eligibility: High school juniors who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents

Application deadline: February 1, 2024

Affiliated institutions: National Institute of Health

The Werner H. Kirsten Student Intern Program (WHK SIP) at the National Cancer Institute at Frederick is designed to expose high school seniors to research and administrative management in a health care environment. The scientific interns experience the basic methods of biomedical research through “hands-on” laboratory training. The students in the Internships in Support of Science/Research are assigned projects in the budget, personnel, information technology, graphics, and media.

Eligibility: High school juniors who are U.S. Citizens or resident Alien

Total stipend: $3600

Affiliated institute: National Cancer Institute

This is an intensive seven-week program for gifted high school students which combines formal instruction with independent research and allows students to design original research projects with guidance from Garcia Center faculty, students, and staff. Students can continue during the academic year in the Mentor Program, which allows them to plan a research schedule with a faculty mentor throughout the year. Pre-arranged transportation and class schedules are coordinated with local school boards to enable students from a large geographical area to enroll in the program. Almost three hundred high school students have participated in the mentor program since its inception.

Eligibility: 2024 Applicants MUST be at least 16 years old on or before July 4, 2024

Program dates: June 26 — August 11, 2024

Application deadline: BY March 4rd, 2024

Application cost: $50

Program cost: $3700

Type: Commuter or residential

The Laboratory Learning Program is a full-time, free research experience in the sciences or engineering for high school students. Students are included in ongoing research programs where they are closely supervised by Princeton faculty and research staff. The participation dates are customized according to the schedules of the research personnel and the specifics of the project. Internships typically span 5–6 weeks during regular ‘office hours’ over the summer (no evening or weekend activities). Each research opportunity has its own schedule.

Eligibility: 16-year-old high school students who have completed senior year and are U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents.

Application deadline: March 15, 2024.

Program cost: Free

Affiliated Universities: Princeton University

The Summer Research Program (SRP) at IU Simon Comprehensive Cancer Center aims to increase the number of high school and undergraduate students from underrepresented populations pursuing biomedical and behavioral science careers by providing positive and meaningful first-hand exposure to these fields.

Eligibility: High school seniors

Program dates: June 5 — July 28, 2024

Application deadline: March 1, 2024

Affiliated Universities: Indiana University

The Google Summer of Code (GSoC) program gives new contributors to open source the opportunity to gain real-world experience by working on a 12+ week coding project with one of about 200 open-source organisations under the guidance of dedicated mentors.

Since 2005, GSoC has brought more than 18,000 students and new contributors into open source software development.

Eligibility: Minimum 18-year-old who is not a resident of a United States embargoed country

The Wake Forest Summer Immersion Program is a hands-on learning experience offered on-campus and online. High school students dive deep into a field of study with access to world-class faculty, researchers, and industry professionals

Eligibility: High School Students

Program dates: June 11 to July 28, 2o23

Program cost: Depends on the program

Type: online or residential

Affiliated Universities: Wake Forest University

Acceptance rate: Less than 20%

Open to high school students preparing to enter their junior or senior year, the Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience (MPFI) Summer Research Internship offers aspiring scientists an immersive laboratory experience with MPFI researchers. This six-week internship is designed for students with an interest in brain structure, function and development, and the advanced imaging techniques and technologies used in neuroscience. Interns will participate in research projects alongside MPFI scientists, prepare a written scientific abstract based on their research project, and deliver a short presentation at the end of the summer.

Application deadline: March 1,2024

Program dates: June 12 — July 21, 2024

Stipend: $12/hour

Affiliated institute: Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience

Welcome to the HOPP Summer Student Program at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. The HOPP Summer Student Program provides high school students with hands-on experience in laboratory techniques. Students conduct independent research projects and attend enriching training sessions and tours designed to support their interest in the clinical side of translational research and fuel their curiosity for science.

Eligibility: High schoolers who are eligible to work in the United States

Program dates: end of June to mid-August

Affiliated institute: Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

The Berkeley Summer Computer Science Academy is a rigorous 2-week experience designed for motivated students between ages 16 and 17 who are interested in computer science, and wish to gain an excellent understanding of college-level student life. This summer academy is designed for all students regardless of previous coding experience; students will be assigned to one of two groups based on their prior coding experience.

Eligibility: The Berkeley Summer Computer Science Academy is open to both domestic and international high school students who will be 16–17 years old by the start of the program (Sunday, June 18, 2024).

Program dates: June 18 — June 30, 2024

Application deadline: March 14, 2024

Application cost: $25

Program cost: $5060

Type: Residential

To understand which of these programs is ideal for you, speak to your mentors at OnCourse who will be able to make the most effective recommendations keeping in mind your interests, your current academic standing and your resume. If you are not enrolled with OnCourse, reach out to set up a consultation meeting to understand more about our mentoring programs for students from Grade 8 to Grade 12.

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