Polygence blog / Research Opportunities and Ideas

Top 20 Computer Science Research Opportunities for High School Students

10 minute read

If computer science is your field of interest, your job prospects look great. Overall employment in computer and information technology occupations is projected to grow 15 percent from 2021 to 2031, resulting in about 682,800 new jobs over the decade. Many students ask us where they can go to get more hands-on computer science research experience over the summer.

Here are our top 20 Computer Science Research Opportunities for High Schoolers ranked on their:

  • Affordability (paid internships and free programs score above expensive programs)

  • Name recognition or prestige

  • Academic rigor

  • Social opportunities

  • Time commitment (longer programs score higher)

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20. Python Data Science & Machine Learning Program NYC    

Hosting institution: NextGen Bootcamp

Cost: $2,495.00         

Format: Online/In-person (Commuter only, New York, NY) 

If you really want to hone your Python data science skills, this concentrated 2-week program will teach you how to use it to input, analyze, and graph data. In the first half of the course, you will begin by learning the fundamentals of Python code and then transition into more complicated programming tasks. The second half of the course focuses primarily on data science using Pandas, Matplotlib, and Sci-Kit Learn.

19. Computer Science Introductory Track

Hosting institution: UCLA Summer Sessions            

Cost: $3,011 USD     

Format: In-person (Los Angeles, CA)

Application deadline: Early June       

This unique combination of a 3-week coding boot camp, lab touring experience, and UCLA coursework is a great option for high school students interested in computer science and related majors. You will learn how to use computers as tools for problem-solving, creativity, and exploration through the design and implementation of computer programs. Some of the key topics you’ll explore include data types (integers, strings, and lists), control structures (conditionals and loops), and functional decomposition.              

18. Summer Program          

Hosting institution: Amity University  

Cost: $172.38

Format: In-Person (Noida, Uttar Pradesh)    

Application deadline: Early June                   

This 2-week program in India gives high school students the chance to explore a variety of different career streams to see what suits their interests and personality. You’ll get the chance to work with various training offices and get a fun campus-life experience.

17. Austin’s High School Research Academy (HSRA)   

Hosting institution: University of Texas         

Cost: Free      

Format: In-Person (Austin, TX)                     

Application deadline: Early March

If you love both science labs and computers, this might be the program for you. HSRA is a 5-week program that leans more toward the natural sciences and provides high school students with a variety of hands-on research experiences. The options most related to computer science include computational astrophysics and computational materials science.                                                                                                                                     

16. AI4ALL / UW       

Hosting institution: University of Washington

Cost: Free      

Format: In-person (Seattle, WA)       

Application deadline: Mid-April          

We love how this program invites students from traditionally underrepresented groups to partake in a free, 2-week data science and artificial intelligence introductory workshop. High school students learn how to understand, analyze, interpret, and discuss real-world applications of data science and machine learning with the goal of understanding impactful technology decisions.                                                                                               

15. The Data Science Experience  

Hosting institution: Carnegie Mellon University

Cost: $499 USD per unit       

Format: In-person (Pittsburgh, PA)   

Application deadline: Mid-March       

In this academically rigorous program, high school students learn about how data science can be harnessed to answer questions across all disciplines. Participants enroll in two college-level classes and take part in existing research projects that require analyzing data sets, coding data, and using other essential software to glean key insights from large troves of information. You’ll be able to choose from a variety of other optional activities that cover broad topics, with something for everyone.                                                           

14. Summer Science and Engineering Program (SSEP)

Hosting institution: Smith College

Cost: $7,885 USD

Format: In person (Northampton, MA)

Application deadline: Early February

If you love robots, this should be on your list. At SSEP, student teams receive a kit containing everything needed to create a robot that can move autonomously and intelligently in its environment. You’ll use this kit and your innate creativity to design robots that do whatever you want them to. Students are also expected to create their own online record of their progress in the course. There are 2-week or 4-week options.

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13. University of New Hampshire Tech Camp

Hosting institution: University of New Hampshire

Cost: Free to $1,350 depending on the program

Format: In person (Durham, NH)

Application deadline: Ongoing

The only thing required at this Tech Camp is an inquisitive mind. Financial assistance is provided for those who need it. Students learn through collaborative, hands-on activities in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and math. Programs vary from a week to several, and additional courses include leadership, entrepreneurship, and the Black experience.

12. Academy for Robotics 

Hosting institution: UT Computer Science Summer Academies

Cost: $2,100

Format: In person (Austin, TX) + Virtual

Application deadline: Ongoing

Here’s another great option for robotics lovers. This one has the additional benefit of giving you an authentic college campus experience in dorms (for those who opt for the in-person program). The average student/mentor ratio is 1:10 and learning includes intelligent robotics, simulation projects, and wheeled robots. You can also delve into new technologies with professors and industry reps, compete in a robot race, and explore possible internship and career opportunities. 

11. ELITE Tech Camp

Hosting institution: Rice University

Cost: $3,495 (Virtual for $595)

Format: In person (Houston, TX)

Application deadline: Ongoing

For those interested in pursuing an engineering major in college, this hands-on program is a great preview. Students have opportunities to explore machine learning, AI, the internet of things, data science, 3D printing, deep learning, data analytics, and more. Leadership, project management, and communication skills are also covered.

10. Young Technology Scholars (YTS)

Hosting institution: Plaksha University Campus

Cost: $1,108

Format: In-person (Mohali, Punjab - India)

Application deadline: Early April 

In this highly esteemed 2-week intensive summer program, students are exposed to various engineering challenges. Students learn the basics of programming, interact with and draw from multiple fields of expertise, and make connections between disciplines. We love their focus on learning to “build things to help society with technology.” This program is supported by an impressive list of academic advisors, and top tech entrepreneurs.

9. Introduction to Data Science     

Hosting institution: Stanford Pre-Collegiate Summer Institutes                   

Cost: $3,050.00         

Format: In-person (Redwood City, CA)         

Application deadline: Mid-March

This rigorous yet fun and social program introduces students to computer algorithms and the diversity of models they can generate. Students can then use datasets from the natural and social sciences to answer real-world questions, pursuing questions and data relevant to their own lives. By the end of the course, you will have developed a technical skill set that allows you to investigate any given dataset with strong coding abilities and a scientific approach.

8. DSI Summer Lab  

Hosting institution: The University of Chicago          

Cost: Paid internship 

Format: In-person (Chicago, IL)        

Application deadline: Mid-February  

In this interdisciplinary 10-week paid summer research program, high school students are paired with a data science mentor to work on a research project. Topics include computer science, data science, social science, climate and energy policy, public policy, materials science, and biomedical research. As research assistants, students will engage with and hone their skills in research methodologies, practices, and teamwork. No prior research experience is needed to apply, and in fact, they encourage participation from a broad range of students.

7. Simons Summer Research Program

Hosting institution: Stony Brook University   

Cost: Paid stipend

Format: In-Person (Stony Brook, NY)

Application deadline: Mid-February  

Also known as the Simon Fellowship, this prestigious and highly selective program matches about 30 students each year with a Stony Brook faculty mentor in the fields of science, math, computer science, and more. Students are selected based on their academic achievements, research potential, and personal qualities such as creativity, curiosity, and dedication. This program gives you a great opportunity to join research groups, produce a research abstract, work with a supportive community of peers and mentors, plus receive a stipend award. It’s also extremely competitive to get into.

6. Berkeley Summer Computer Science Academy 

Hosting institution: University of California Berkeley

Cost: $4,625 USD

Format: In-Person (Berkeley, CA)

Application deadline: Mid-March

This is a great 2-week program for students who are ready for an immersive experience—and have little to no prior coding experience. Students will learn powerful computer science concepts, collaborative programming, problem-solving, and gain an understanding of college-level student life at a top university. 

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5. Brown Pre-College Programs 

Hosting institution: Brown University

Cost: $2,707 - $9,459 (commuter or on-campus + length of program)

Format: In-Person (Providence, RI)

Application deadline: Mid-April to Mid-May

This versatile on-campus program gives students the chance to experience the opportunities and challenges of Brown based on their own interests. Courses vary from 1 to 5 weeks, and you can opt to stay in a dorm or commute daily. Computer science topics include “Introduction to Machine Learning and AI with Python” and “Introduction to Systems Thinking and Game Design.” Using a holistic approach known as Systems Thinking, students learn to take in interrelations, dynamics, contexts, and outcomes to help solve problems.

4. Computer Science Summer Institute

Hosting institution: Google Online

Cost: No cost

Format: Online

Application deadline: Ongoing

This is a 4-week introduction to computer science for high school seniors who intend to major in computer science, computer engineering, software engineering or related major. Students are offered a stipend to cover the expenses of the project they build. Although the program is not running for the summer of 2023, the site says that new programming is in the works to better support computer science students.

3. Center for Talented Youth (CTY)

Hosting institution: Johns Hopkins

Cost: $919 (varies)

Format: In-person (various sites across the US) and online

Application deadline: Mid-May

CTY offers computer science programs in everything from Astrophysics to Electrical Engineering, Fundamentals of Comp Sci to Probability, and Game Theory. For the in-person option, you can stay on campus or commute daily. In addition to coursework, in-person students staying onsite participate in various social activities, including sports, games, talent shows, movie nights, and much more.

2. Computer Science Scholars (CSS) 

Hosting institution: Carnegie Mellon University

Cost: Free

Format: In-person (Pittsburgh, PA) 

Application deadline: Ongoing

This excellent program for rising high school juniors gives students who have historically been excluded from STEM fields the chance to work with leaders in computer science. Over 4 weeks, students are exposed to the core elements of programming and problem-solving in Python, including algorithmic components, basic data structures, and problem-solving techniques. You’ll also get to meet industry leaders to learn about opportunities in the field of computer science. A nice bonus is that students who complete the program and want to continue may be invited to return as rising seniors to CMU’s AI Scholars program the following summer. 

1. Data Science Summer Program

Hosting institution: Harvard University          

Cost: Free, and stipends are available

Format: In-Person (Boston, MA, and San Jose, CA)

Application deadline: Mid-May      

In this 2-week introduction to machine learning, students will build a self-driving toy car. The course starts with lectures on conceptual-level statistical learning, machine learning, and programming components. Next, you will be introduced to various machine learning methods and algorithms and their applications in different fields, including biomedicine. You also learn Python and implement the new concepts you’re learning and the classification algorithms you’re generating into programs. Lunch includes conversations with machine learning experts who’ll share their views and experience with data science.

At Polygence, we offer students the opportunity to get 1:1 project mentorship from expert mentors and researchers. Students are in the driver’s seat of their education here, and whatever project you want to do, we will help you make it happen! If you’re curious about other research opportunities, feel free to take a look at our Top 50 Research Opportunities for High Schoolers article! 

Other Research Opportunities For High School Students

This is just a small selection of the research opportunities available at your fingertips. Please see some additional guides we've put together for

Want more? Join Polygence and do your own research project guided by an expert mentor!

At Polygence, we offer students the opportunity to get 1:1 project mentorship from expert mentors and researchers. Students are in the driver’s seat of their education here, and whatever project you want to do, we will help you make it happen!

Want to Learn More?

Join Polygence and do your own research project tailored towards your passions and guided by one of our expert mentors!