11 Research and Summer Programs in California For High School Students

stanford university research program

The top research programs in California for high school students, selected based on prestige, location, and affordability. See Research opportunities in other states here.

Institution
Location
Tuition
Event type

Hosting Institution

Polygence

Online/In Person

Online

Location

Online

Cost

Starting at $2695

Application Deadline

Dec 15, 2023

Categories

Neuroscience, Biology, Psychol...

Summary

Polygence is an online research program designed to offer high school students accessible research opportunities, making them more inclusive. The program was created by researchers from Harvard, MIT, and Stanford and provides tailored research projects, allowing students to explore their interests, acquire professional skills, and increase their competitiveness for college admissions.

UCLA Computer Science Introductory Track

See website

Hosting Institution

UCLA

Online/In Person

In Person

Location

Los Angeles (CA)

Cost

$3197

Application Deadline

Jun 1, 2024

Categories

Comp Sci

Summary

This program offers a distinct blend of a coding boot camp, lab tours, and UCLA coursework tailored for high school students interested in computer science and related fields. Students will be taught how to utilize computers as instruments for creative problem-solving and exploration by designing and implementing computer programs. The curriculum covers fundamental concepts such as data types (integers, strings, and lists), control structures (including conditionals and loops), and functional decomposition.

Digital Filmmaking Summer Institute

See website

Hosting Institution

UCLA

Online/In Person

In Person

Location

Los Angeles (CA)

Cost

Free

Application Deadline

Jun 1, 2024

Categories

Arts

Summary

This program provides a unique chance for ambitious high school students from various locations worldwide to learn filmmaking at one of the most renowned film schools globally. The two-week intensive production workshop is tailored for highly motivated rising high school juniors, seniors, and spring 2022 high school graduates. Participants dive into the artistry and technical aspects of cinematic storytelling and are encouraged to craft engaging narrative projects.

Research Mentorship Program

See website

Hosting Institution

UC Santa Barbara

Online/In Person

In Person

Location

Santa Barbara (CA)

Cost

$11,874

Application Deadline

Mar 18, 2024

Categories

Neuroscience, Biology, Psychol...

Summary

This program offers a distinctive feature of providing students with exposure to various interdisciplinary research topics, allowing them to select their preferred project option. The program encompasses 24 fields, ranging from sciences to social sciences and humanities. Students are required to choose a research project and advisor, who could be a graduate student, postdoc, or professor, to undertake graduate-level research.

Rady Children's Medical Academy

See website

Hosting Institution

Rady Children's Hospital

Online/In Person

In Person

Location

San Diego (CA)

Cost

$3,000

Application Deadline

Feb 23, 2024

Categories

Medicine

Summary

The Summer Medical Academy (SMA) is designed for students between 15-19 years old who are interested in pursuing a career in healthcare. To be eligible, students must have completed 9th grade (up until the summer after graduating 12th grade). While meeting the eligibility criteria does not guarantee acceptance, SMA seeks highly motivated and enthusiastic students who have demonstrated academic success and extracurricular involvement, as well as a passion for healthcare. In addition, geographic proximity to San Diego, last grade completed in school, and affiliation with RCHSD will also be considered. Short answer and essay responses, along with teacher recommendations, are key application criteria. If accepted, details and payment instructions will be provided in acceptance letters. Proceeds from the program benefit the FACES for the Future-San Diego program at Rady Children’s, and a portion of the payment may be tax-deductible.

Hosting Institution

UC Berkeley

Online/In Person

In Person

Location

Berkeley (CA)

Cost

$7,050

Application Deadline

Mar 17, 2024

Categories

Business

Summary

Every year, B-BAY, a highly competitive program, invites 50 high school students from different countries to participate in a two-week program. Students have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the culture, academics, and daily life of Berkeley. The program offers guest speakers, including professors from the Berkeley Haas School of Business and industry professionals, who share valuable insights and practical experiences. In addition to classroom instruction, students engage in independent research, computer lab assignments, and team projects. Working in teams, participants collaborate on developing a comprehensive business plan, which they present at the end of the program. While the program is prestigious, it comes with a high cost.

UCLA’s Computer Science Summer Institute

See website

Hosting Institution

University of California (Los Angeles)

Online/In Person

Online

Location

Los Angeles (CA)

Cost

$350 registration fee + $150 processing fee + course fees

Application Deadline

May 1, 2024

Categories

Comp Sci

Summary

The 3-week program being offered is an introductory track to computer science and provides credit for select UCLA coursework. Participants will gain knowledge and skills in utilizing computers as problem-solving tools, fostering creativity, and facilitating exploration by developing and implementing computer programs. The program covers essential topics such as data types (including integers, strings, and lists), control structures (including conditionals and loops), and functional decomposition. These core concepts are emphasized to equip students with a solid foundation in computer science principles and practices.

Sci|Art Lab + Studio Summer Institute

See website

Hosting Institution

University of California (Los Angeles)

Online/In Person

In Person

Location

Los Angeles (CA)

Cost

$461+Program fee

Application Deadline

Jun 15, 2024

Categories

Arts

Summary

During this intensive two-week program, students make connections between cutting-edge scientific research, popular culture, and contemporary arts. Through historical retrospectives, surveys of current art-science collaborations, and science fiction movie screenings, students are exposed to the interface of science, art, and culture with a focus on multidisciplinary collaborations. The final project, students will work collaboratively in small groups under the challenge: “Imagine the Impossible”. Students will focus on one aspect of the course work that they are interested in and work in small groups to expand upon and research their chosen topic. They are asked to develop ideas or methodologies for the application of this information, whether that be in an art project, product proposal, or media design. Instructors work closely with the students on the conceptual and technical development of their ideas. The final works are delivered in a multimedia presentation during our closing ceremony.

COSMOS | California State Summer School for Mathematics & Science

See website

Hosting Institution

UC Davis

Online/In Person

In Person

Location

Davis (CA)

Cost

Free

Application Deadline

Feb 9, 2024

Categories

Mathematics

Summary

COSMOS is an immersive and rigorous 4-week summer residential program tailored for students who have showcased exceptional aptitude in STEM fields. Participants in COSMOS typically possess a GPA of 3.5 or higher, along with other qualifications that demonstrate their commitment to academic excellence. Through COSMOS, students engage in hands-on, inquiry-based learning experiences, collaborating with like-minded peers and expert mentors to explore advanced topics in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. This highly competitive program offers a unique opportunity to delve into cutting-edge research and develop essential skills for future success in STEM disciplines.

CalTech’s Summer Tech Camp

See website

Hosting Institution

California Institute of Technology

Online/In Person

In Person

Location

Pasadena (CA)

Cost

from $1,229

Application Deadline

Jun 23, 2024

Categories

Comp Sci

Summary

To participate in these coding camps, applicants must fall within the age range of 13-18 years. Each course within the camps has specific experience level requirements, and applicants must meet those criteria accordingly. These camps are specifically designed to provide students with an opportunity to delve into their interests in computer science. The courses offered cover a range of programming languages, including Python, C++, and more, as well as game development. The main objective of these camps is to emphasize the diverse applications of computer science in both business and core technology fields.

California Academy of Science Careers in Science (CiS) Intern Program

See website

Hosting Institution

California Academy of Sciences

Online/In Person

In Person

Location

San Francisco (CA)

Cost

Free

Application Deadline

Apr 5, 2024

Categories

Data Science

Summary

The program, which started in 1996, is dedicated to providing opportunities for underrepresented San Francisco students in STEM fields. Participants engage in hands-on learning about science and sustainability, receive mentorship, and develop professional skills while being compensated for their efforts. The program encourages students to attend seminars, conferences, and interact with faculty, mentors, and other talented students. Interns are allocated roles and departments within a museum setting based on their interests and the available opportunities at the time. This program offers a valuable experience for students to explore their interests, gain practical skills, and contribute to the field of STEM.

Are there many Research Opportunities for High School Students in the state of California?

California is home to a number of elite institutions and universities (such as Stanford, UC Berkeley, and UCLA) that host students every year to conduct on-site research. We've just selected a few of the top programs, but there are many opportunities for high school students to conduct research from top institutions!

What other research opportunities are available?

For a full set of research opportunity listings, see our guide to research opportunities for high school students.

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