Polygence blog / Research Opportunities and Ideas

10 Biology Summer Research Programs for High School Students

7 minute read

Biology and the Health Sciences consistently rank among the top five college majors that American undergraduates often choose . It is also one of the most interdisciplinary and versatile fields of academic research, with fascinating intersections with chemistry, math, physics, psychology, and computer science. Many students ask us where they can go to get hands-on biology research experience over the summer. You asked and we listened!

Here is our list of 10 curated biology summer programs for aspiring high school students. If you are searching for a virtual research opportunity, you can also consider doing a biology research project through Polygence.

1) Center for Talented Youth (CTY) Honors Biology 

Hosting institution: Johns Hopkins University

Cost: $1,455

Format: Online

Application deadline: rolling admissions

This is an online research course where students will learn complex biological concepts in an online environment. It is great for students who are getting ready for AP biology. Students will explore the structures, functions, and processes of living organisms and their interactions with the environment. Students will be assessed through quizzes, tests, lab reports, interactive discussion forums, and case studies. This course also provides monthly synchronous class times and allows students  to schedule one-on-one virtual meetings with the instructor.

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2) Carl B. & Florence E. King Foundation High School Summer Program

Hosting institution: MD Anderson Cancer Center

Cost: stipend is provided for housing and expenses

Format: In person (Houston, TX - open to Texas high school students only)

Application deadline: January 17, 2024

This program offers a rare opportunity to participate in a research project in one of the biomedical courses under the guidance of a full-time MD Anderson Cancer Center faculty member. Students will learn the importance of basic principles that form the basis of scientific research. Selected students will work in the MD Anderson labs during the week, participating in hands-on research. Students will walk away from the experience with a clear understanding of what it means and what it’s like to be a researcher in the biomedical sciences. This program is only open to current Texas high school seniors.

Please also reference our more comprehensive guide to medical research opportunities for high school students.

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3) Pediatric Oncology Education (POE) Program 

Hosting institution: St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

Cost: Funded Internship

Format: In person (Memphis, TN)

Application deadline: February 1, 2024

This program offers highly motivated students a chance to get exposure to cutting edge cancer research. It also helps to prepare students for professions in the biomedical sciences, nursing, and pharmacology, among other subfields that require oncology research experience and insight. Students will work with scientists, postdoctoral fellows, as well as research physicians.

4) Summer Research Program (SRP)

Hosting institution: Indiana University’s Simon Cancer Center

Cost: None

Format: In person (Indianapolis, IN)

Application deadline: February 1, 2024  (Estimated deadline based on previous year)

The Indiana University Simon Cancer Center Summer Research Program (SRP) aims to increase the proportion of underrepresented high school and undergraduate students engaging in the biomedical sciences. Students will receive hands-on experience and gain exposure to a wide range of basic science, translational, and clinical research activities. This is an 8-week program. High schoolers who are seniors as well as undergraduate students in their junior year and above are eligible to apply.

5) Anson L. Clark Scholars Program

Hosting institution: Texas Tech University

Cost: None

Format: In person (Lubbock, TX)

Application deadline: February 15, 2024

This is a 7-week intensive program that offers selected students the chance to work with professors at Texas Tech’s General Health Sciences Center. This program is research-based, but it also exposes students to weekly seminars, discussion sections, as well as field trips.

6) Pre-College Scholars Residential-Track Program

Hosting institution: University of California, Berkeley

Cost: $15,00 (for 8-week session); $14,500 (for 6-week session)

Format: In person (Berkeley, CA)

Application deadline: March 11, 2024

This program offers students from all over the world a chance to experience college campus life at UC Berkeley! Students get the chance to enroll in college-level courses taught by Berkeley professors, earn college credit for their work, all while experiencing university campus life with a cohort of students. Throughout the program, students can enroll in 2 different courses offered through Berkeley’s Summer Sessions program and participate in a series of extracurricular activities and excursions.

7) Research Mentorship Program

Hosting institution: University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB)

Cost: $11,874

Format: In person (Santa Barbara, CA)

Application deadline: March 18, 2024

This program allows students to get exposure to a wide variety of interdisciplinary research in the biological sciences and beyond. Students will get a chance to engage in hands-on project-based learning and will also be paired with a research mentor - a graduate student, postdoc, or faculty member to conduct college-level research. Students can earn a total of 8 university credits by enrolling in two interdisciplinary research courses - an exploratory course and a lecture course. There are 24 different fields that students can choose from.

8) Provost’s Summer Mentorship Program (SMP)

Hosting institution: University of Pennsylvania

Cost: None

Format: In person (Philadelphia, PA)

Application deadline: May 2024 (Estimated based on previous year)

The Summer Mentorship Program (SMP) is a flagship program from the University of Pennsylvania’s Vice Provost for Student Engagement (VPSE) division. It is designed to expose first-generation college students to rigorous academic research. Only students studying in high schools in Philadelphia are eligible. In this 4-week immersion summer program, participating students are paired with one of five affiliate University of Pennsylvania Professional Schools.

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9) Clinical Neuroscience Immersion Experience (CNI-X)

Hosting institution: Stanford University

Cost: $1,495- $2,795

Format: In person (Stanford, CA) as well as online options available

Application deadline: March 1, 2024

This 10-day program provides students with basic exposure to the study of neuroscience, psychiatry and brain science in addition to a potential chance to finish a cooperative capstone project. Students get the chance to work with Stanford University professors and researchers and engage in exciting and cutting edge research in the standards of neuroscience, clinical neuropsychiatry, and other areas within neuroscience research. In addition to participating in interactive lectures, students will also work in small teams to design solutions to pressing issues related to psychiatry, psychology, and neuroscience.

10) Research in the Biological Sciences (RIBS)

Hosting institution: University of Chicago

Cost: $14,000

Format: In person (Chicago, IL)

Application deadline: January 18, 2024

RIBS is a four-week intensive program that exposes students to a broad range of topics within biology, including molecular, micro- and cell biological lab techniques. Students get hands-on “bench” research experience. This course is taught using a project-based approach and moves from a basic survey of lab techniques to more applied learning. Students who participate in RIBS will spend most of their days in the lab! Lectures and teaching material will also be provided to familiarize students with background knowledge and to introduce students to new ideas and concepts. Last but not least, students will participate in a research forum at the end of the course and everyone will get a chance to present their project results and findings.

Interested in an independent biology research path? Join Polygence and do your own biology research project guided by an expert mentor!

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