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Best Research-Intensive Summer Programs

Actual laboratory training is a hard-to-come-by commodity for high school students, but one that can be invaluable for budding scientists, engineers, and other STEM-focused teens. Since high schools rarely offer such opportunities and colleges generally reserve lab space for their own undergraduate/graduate students, competitive summer programs are often one of the most direct routes to hands-on, experiment-based learning.

Our list of Best Research-Intensive Summer Programs is comprised of 26 stellar programs that range in duration, cost, and eligibility criteria but all possess the common denominator of quality. All of the aforementioned data points are provided for each school along with the location of the program, whether they offer a residential experience, and when the application window opens and closes. Also highlighted for our readers are the dates that applications become available, the deadlines, whether residential housing is offered, and the geographic location where the program takes place. No matter which you choose, you can rest assured that you will be gaining valuable research experience that is likely to also strengthen your future application.

Programs highlighted in red are especially competitive. To view additional data columns, click the + icon to the left of the program's name.

ProgramLocationResidentialFocusLengthCostsApp. OpensDeadlineEligibility
Boston University RISEBoston, MAYesSTEM/Research6 weeks~$7,70015-Dec14-FebRising 12th
CHORI Summer Student Research ProgramOakland, CANoResearch 8 weeks Free/Stipend Available 5-FebRising 11th, 12th
Coriell Institute for Medical ResearchCamden, NJClosed for 2021Research 4 weeksFree/Stipend Available 3-AprAge 17 by July 1
Eugene and Ruth Roberts Summer Student AcademyDuarte, CANoResearch 10 weeksFree/Stipend Winter15-MarAge 16 by start of internship
Garcia Scholars at Stony Brook UniversityStony Brook, NYYesResearch/Polymer Materials7 weeks~$4,500-$10,500Available22-Feb16 years old
Aspiring Scientists Internship Program at George Mason UniversityVarious (VA)NoResearch 8 weeks FreeDecember31-JanAge 16 by June
High School Honors Science, Math and Engineering (Michigan State)East Lansing, MIYesSTEM/Research1 week~$875AvailableTBD (March)Rising 10th, 11th, 12th
Jackson Lab Summer Student ProgramBar Harbor, MEYesGenetics10 weeksFree/StipendAvailable2-FebRising 12th
MDI Biological Laboratory Summer Research FellowshipBar Harbor, MEYesResearch (Science)8 weeksFree/StipendAvailable 1/8 (Nominations)2/5 (Applications)16 years old
NIH Summer Internship Program in Biomedical ResearchMultipleNoBiomedical Sciences8 weeksFree/Stipendmid-November1-FebAge 17 or older
Princeton University Summer Internships for High School ProgramsPrinceton, NJClosed for 2021Research 5-6 weeksFree1-Feb20-MarAge 16 by 6/15
Research Science Institute (MIT)Cambridge, MAYesSTEM/Research6 weeksFreeAvailable15-JanRising 12th
Rosetta Institute of Biomedical ResearchMultipleYesResearch 2 weeks $2,780 Available RollingAges 14-18
Science Internship Program (SIP)Santa Cruz, CAYesResearch 8 weeks~$3,300-$9,1001-Mar21-Mar14 years old (16 for some)
Scripps College Student Research InternshipClaremont, CANoResearch 8 weeks FreeAvailable 13-MarAge 16 by start of internship
Secondary Student Training ProgramIowa City, IAYesResearch6 weeks$6,395 Available10-JanRising 11th, 12th
Simons Summer Research Program (Stony Brook University)Stony Brook, NYOnline for 2021Research/STEM6 weeksFree/StipendAvailable23-JanRising 12th
Smith College Summer Science and Engineering ProgramNorthampton, MAYesSTEM/Research4 weeks$6,540 6-Jan3/1 (Early Decision)Rising 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th (Women only)
Stony Brook University Biotechnology Summer Scholars ProgramStony Brook, NYNoBiotechnology/Research4 weeks$2,400 December1-AprRising 10th, 11th, 12th
Student Science Training Program at University of FloridaGainesville, FLYesResearch/Multiple7 weeks$4,800 AvailableRolling (February)Rising 12th, 16 years old
The Clark Scholars Program – Texas Tech UniversityLubbock, TXYesResearch/Varies7 weeksFree/Stipend1-Jan8-FebRising 11th, 12th
Summer Science ProgramMultipleYesResearch (Science)6 weeks$7,150 15-Dec28-FebRising 12th
Research Mentorship Program – UC Santa BarbaraSanta Barbara, CAYesResearch/Multiple6 weeks~$4,500-$10,50015-DecRollingRising 11th, 12th
Summer Research Academies – UC Santa BarbaraSanta Barbara, CAOnline for 2021Research 4 weeks$2,20015-DecRollingRising 10th, 11th, 12th
UMass Summer Programs - Forensic ChemistryAmherst, MAYesResearch 2 weeks ~$3,100Available Rolling Rising 10th, 11th, 12th
Lillehei Heart Institute Research Scholars – University of MinnesotaMinneapolis, MNNoResearch 9 weeks Free/Stipend 1-Dec1-FebRising 11th, 12th
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