Best Psychology Summer Programs – 2024

January 17, 2024

best psychology summer programs

The brain is the most fascinating, complex, and mysterious organ in our bodies. It’s working 24/7, controls our sensory processing, motor function, and emotions, and has billions of neurons and trillions of connections. As such, although it has been studied for decades, much is still unknown. Additionally, fields like psychology and neuroscience–both of which have myriad sub-disciplines–aim to understand how the brain affects who we are and why we act the way we do (continue for best psychology programs).

These fields are also incredibly extensive and ever-evolving, with new research being conducted all the time. Although practicing psychologists, psychiatrists, and neuroscientists need years of advanced training, majors in psychology and neuroscience can be put to good use in just about any career path, from marketing and business to education and healthcare. Hoping to explore the brain this summer? Kickstart your search process with the psychology summer programs for high school students featured below.

For a full look at our searchable database of the best 2024 summer programs click the button below. Here, you will be able to sort summer programs by discipline and location and can view important data points such as tuition costs, deadlines, course listings, and more!

Search 2024 Best Summer Programs


1) Rice University Precollege Program

  • Location: Virtual
  • Residential?: All courses are fully online
  • Program Length: 1-week intensive, 2-week session, or 4-week session; availability depends on time of year
  • Cost: $1,495 per course
  • Eligibility: High school students aged 13 and older
  • Application Deadline: varies depending on course, but is typically rolling until approximately a week before the course’s start date

On the hunt for a program that you can dive into at any time during the year and complete at your own pace? Rice University’s Precollege Program, available to students aged 13 and up, is an excellent option. Given that Rice’s mission is to improve the world through unconventional thinking and doing, their eight current courses aim to capture that ethos with options in subject areas like medicine, STEM, business, law, government, psychology and even aerospace.

During your course, you’ll learn through a series of dynamic videos recorded by Rice professors, and engage in a variety of different activities along the way. Prepare for approximately 20-30 total hours of instruction, simulations, and assignments. Additionally, you’ll receive support from a mentor, who will provide direction and motivation along the way. All courses wrap with a capstone project, which allows you to demonstrate all that you’ve learned throughout the course.. Even in an online format, the curriculum has been curated to be engaging and hands-on; in Global Affairs: Exploring Changing Political Systems, students not only explore the factors that lead to democratic survival or decline but also complete a comparative project on two countries. In Genome Engineering: Changing the Future of Medicine, students tackle genome editing, study clinical trials, and explore ethical considerations before creating a project that involves identifying a gene-editing strategy for a blood disorder.

There is no limit to how many courses you can take at one time, a feature that allows you to explore your interests in great depth. You’ll receive a Certificate of Completion at the end of each program. Interested in applying? It’s a simple process—you’ll only need to provide basic personal information as well as a personal statement that discusses why you’re interested in your course of choice.

2) Georgetown Pre-College Online Program

  • Location: Virtual
  • Residential?: All courses are fully online.
  • Program Length: 1-week intensive, 2-week session, or 4-week session
  • Cost:$1,795 per course
  • Eligibility: High school students aged 13 and older
  • Application Deadline: varies depending on course, but is typically rolling until approximately a week before the course’s start date

If you’re a high school student, the flexibility of Georgetown’s Pre-College Online Program is unmatched. Students as young as 13 can take courses year-round, exploring budding curiosities and career paths or delving deeply into subject areas they are passionate about. Currently, there are seventeen courses available in as many subject areas, spanning the fields of medicine, STEM, business, marketing, law, government, psychology, leadership, and more.

All courses are delivered through a set of engaging and dynamic video lessons led by Georgetown professors, and involve approximately 20-30 hours of instruction and activities. During the course itself, you’ll be assigned a mentor with expertise in your course’s field who will support you through the material and be available to answer questions. There are no live meetings required, so everything can be completed on your own schedule. The curriculum is designed for active learning; all courses conclude with a Final Capstone Project, which allows you to demonstrate what you’ve learned.. For example, in Becoming a Surgeon: Skills, Specialties, and Diseases, students review case studies on abdominal conditions and observe procedures before completing videos and models related to abdominal anatomy and conditions. They’ll also learn how to tie surgical knots (have string and/or dental floss available!). In Becoming an Entrepreneur: An Inside Look at Innovation, students have the opportunity to take a business idea from ideation to a launch plan.

To apply, you’ll just need to provide basic personal information as well as a brief personal statement that discusses why you wish to enroll in your program of choice. It’s also possible to take more than one course at a time. Moreover, you’ll receive a Certificate of Completion for your college applications at the culmination of each course.

3) EXPLO Psychology & Neuroscience

  • Location: Wellesley, MA
  • Residential?: Yes
  • Program Length: 3 weeks
  • Cost: $7,350
  • Eligibility: Rising sophomore, juniors, and seniors
  • Application Deadline: Rolling

Psychology aims to understand behavior and mental processes while neuroscience explores the nervous system. Held on the campus of Wellesley College, EXPLO’s Psychology and Neuroscience program explores the fascinating overlaps between both subjects.

Over the course of three weeks, students learn about the different disciplines within psychology, explore behavioral neuroscience, and experiment with the tools and processes that psychologists and neuroscientists use for diagnosis and analysis, such as neuroimaging technology, brain dissection, and labs. Additionally, every student develops and presents a research project at the culminating Brain Summit Symposium, which they’ll receive feedback on from current professionals in the field. Finally, they’ll learn more about different careers and research opportunities available within both psychology and neuroscience.

To apply to these psychology summer programs, students will need to complete a general application and essay. They’ll also need to provide a teacher recommendation. If accepted, students must complete required reading before beginning the program, and can also apply to earn college credit through Sarah Lawrence.

4) Clinical Neuroscience Immersion Experience @ Stanford University

  • Location: Palo Alto, CA
  • Residential?: Commuter and online options available
  • Program Length: 2 weeks
  • Cost: In-person: $2,590; Online: $1,295
  • Eligibility: Rising juniors, seniors, and college freshmen
  • Application Deadline: March

For those hoping to explore a wide variety of topics within neuroscience, psychiatry, and psychology, Stanford’s Clinical Neuroscience Immersion Experience (CNI-X) could be an excellent fit. Overall, these psychology summer programs are fast-paced, rigorous, and highly collaborative.

The topics change yearly but provide a well-rounded overview of the field; past areas of discussion have included circadian rhythms, autism spectrum disorders, and psychotic disorders. No matter the topic, the program teaches students how to interrogate various questions and issues via interactive seminars. That said, sensitive issues like sexual assault, child abuse, and suicide may be discussed. (Students who prefer to avoid such topics are cautioned against applying.) Foundational principles of neuroscience research, clinical neuropsychiatry, and psychiatry epidemiology, among others, will be covered, along with self-care strategies. Finally, all students complete a capstone project that entails working in a small group to create & present a creative solution to a mental health-related issue.

The program runs from 9 am-4 pm five days a week; non-local students must secure supervised housing and transportation. Alternatively, there is an online option available where students participate in synchronous sessions for approximately four hours per day.

Admission to CNI-X is selective; about 30% of applicants are accepted. The selection committee looks for students who are highly motivated about participating in the experience. Accordingly, as part of the application process, students must submit a short essay about their interest in the program.

Psychology Summer Programs – Continued

5) Social Psychology and the Law at Duke University

  • Location: Durham, NC
  • Residential?: Residential and commuter options available
  • Program Length: 10 days
  • Cost: Residential: $4,900; Commuter: $3,200
  • Eligibility: Current freshmen, sophomores, and juniors
  • Application Deadline: April

Fascinated by social psychology? You’re in luck–Duke runs a summer course that explores the intersection between psychology and the law.

Over the course of ten days, students are exposed to topics like the reliability of eyewitness testimony, jury decision-making, interrogation, and psychological profiling. Then, while working in small groups to investigate various research methods, students gain essential critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Even more importantly, they’ll interrogate social structures and learn to think like a psychologist.

Although both residential and commuter students can participate in College Connections presentations, only residential students have access to other programming. These activities include community service opportunities, campus tours, evening social events, and local field trips.

To apply to these psychology summer programs, students will need to submit a transcript, formal resume, and one-page personal statement.

6) Wake Forest Psychology Institute

  • Location: Winston-Salem, NC
  • Residential?: Yes
  • Program Length: 1 week
  • Cost: $3,000
  • Eligibility: Current freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors
  • Application Deadline: Rolling

Wake Forest’s Psychology Institute seeks to provide students who are interested in pursuing a major or career in the psychological sciences with a hands-on introduction to the field. As such, they’ll explore the brain, emotions, and senses while completing an observational study.

Students spend approximately four to five hours per day in class covering topics like the psychology of addiction, neuroscience, and the disordered brain. They’ll then spend another few hours per day engaging in hands-on activities like dissecting a sheep brain, working in a sensory perception lab, and conducting research. Moreover, students network with professionals and receive mentorship.

Outside of academics, students participate in evening social programming and are fully immersed into life on campus. Although applications are accepted on a rolling basis, students would be wise to apply early—these psychology summer programs fill quickly. Furthermore, application components include two essays and a teacher recommendation.

Is neuroscience more your jam? Check out Wake Forest’s Neuroscience Institute, which has a similar format and goals.

7) Johns Hopkins Psychology & Brain Sciences Summer Programs

  • Location: Online
  • Residential?: No
  • Program Length: 2 weeks
  • Cost: $1,950
  • Eligibility: Rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors
  • Application Deadline: Rolling

Fun fact: Johns Hopkins founded America’s first psychological laboratory. So, if you’re hunting for a stellar remote option, look no further than Johns Hopkins’ pre-college psychology summer programs. Nine different courses are available, and all run for two weeks.

Students can opt for a broader overview of the field in courses like Introduction to Psychology, Introduction to Neuroscience, or Introduction to Medical and Mental Health Interpreting. Further, they can explore specialized topics like Childhood Disorders & Treatments, Minds and Machines, Neurobiology: Cellular and Systems, Neuroscience and Human Behavior, Psychological Profiling, or Psychopathology and Its Development. While all courses are delivered asynchronously, some may have synchronous components. For example, students enrolled in Minds and Machines will need to attend a 90-minute live discussion once a week. Meanwhile, Introduction to Medical and Mental Health Interpreting participants must meet face-to-face for two hours every Monday.

Outside of academics, students can enroll in virtual clubs, like the Public Health Club or Brain and Behavior Club. They also attend special events such as workshops and guest speakers.

All applicants must have a GPA of at least 3.0 and submit a transcript along with their application. Lastly, if they are accepted—and successfully complete the program—they’ll earn one college credit.

Final Thoughts – Psychology Summer Programs for High School Students

In conclusion, psychologists and neuroscientists need a diverse set of skills to be successful–communication, active listening, problem-solving, and research, to name a few. Given that these skills take years to develop, psychology summer programs are an excellent way for high school students to begin building the foundation they need to be successful. Further, if they ultimately change their minds, the competencies and knowledge they’ve acquired about the brain and how it works will be an asset in any career they choose.

Looking for psychology summer programs in your area? Consider checking out the following: