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11 Anthropology Summer Programs for High School Students

Although there are several programs centered around the social sciences, it can be hard to find specific programs tailored for anthropology. We have curated a list of 10 Anthropology Summer programs for high school students for students interested in pursuing anthropology. This list includes 10 anthropology summer programs for high school students, that include courses offered by universities, internships from well known organizations and several other programs that are hands-on.

Anthropology provides a tool through which we can understand the effects of social structures such as inequality, gender, government, violence and media on everyday life and movements. Even if you are unsure about pursuing anthropology, these programs enable you to apply social theory to domains of development, diversity, policy and healthcare and more contributing significantly to your CV for college applications and research internships. 

Location: Residential, University of Pennsylvania

Cost:  $5,700 (Full Scholarships available for Philadelphia residents)

Application deadline: March 15, 2023

Program dates: July 10- July 21, 2024

Eligibility: Current 9th, 10th, or 11th grade students

Thinking Like an Anthropologist is a ten-day intensive course that offers introductory concepts in anthropology for high school students. This ranges from understanding human existence through conceptualizing linguistics, kinship, and genetics to applying anthropological methods in policy, population, and education. What is unique about this program is that students are given the opportunity to conduct their own ethnographies.

Outside of the classroom, Penn offers high-school students the experience of university life, resources, arts and culture etc., as well as opportunities to network with undergraduate students and faculty.

Location: Residential/Commuter, University of Stanford

Cost: $3846

Application deadline: January 16, 2024

Program dates: June 26, 2023 - August 20, 2023

Eligibility:  Current sophomore, junior, or senior 

Stanford’s Introduction to Cultural and Social Anthropology program takes aspiring anthropologists a step further to look specifically at social and cultural domains within the field. Students will apply theories by looking at several ethnographic cases as well as conducting a field observation/interview of their own. Students will also look at problems of power in civilizations, construct of culture, gender, immigration, and violence as part of the course. With two exams as part of the syllabus, this intensive course has both undergraduate and high school students participation in discussions and fieldwork prepping them to become independent researchers.

Location: Virtual 

Application Date: May 21, 2024 for the summer cohort, and September 25, 2024 for the fall cohort 

Program Dates: 

  • Summer seminar - June 24, 2024 - September 2, 2024

  • Fall seminar - October 23, 2024 - February 19, 2025

  • Lab dates are flexible, but you must apply 4 weeks in advance.

Eligibility: High school students with good academic standing (>3.67/4.0 GPA) can apply. Most accepted students are 10th/11th graders! Only a couple of tracks require formal prerequisites, more details of which can be found here.

Horizon offers trimester-long research programs for high school students across subject areas such as data science, machine learning, political theory, biology, chemistry, neuroscience, psychology, and more! It is one of the very few research programs for high school students that offers a choice between quantitative and qualitative research! 

Once you select a particular subject track and type of research you’ll be paired with a professor or Ph.D. scholar (from a top university) who will mentor you throughout your research journey. You’ll work to create a 20-page, university-level research paper that you can send to prestigious journals for publication as a high school student. 

This program is a solid opportunity for you to pursue a research program in highly specialized fields, under the guidance of a top scholar. The program also provides a letter of recommendation for each student, as well as detailed project feedback that you can use to work on future projects and on college applications. Apply here!


Location: Residential, Harvard University

Cost:  $5,300, Scholarships Available

Application deadline:  February 14th, 2024

Program dates: July 10- July 21 2024

Eligibility:  Rising Juniors and Seniors

Historical anthropology is essential to understanding modern and pre-modern societies. The Stuff of Life is a two-week non-credit program that introduces students to archival forms of anthropology with hands-on experience studying cultures through Harvard’s museums, libraries, and archives to locate them in modern-day human-material relationships. Alongside this, students will be equipped with theories on how to decolonize the artifacts and archivals from collection to collector. 

This 10-day program takes place from Monday to Friday, for three hours each day, and includes access to Harvard’s best academic resources, libraries, and museums along with a glimpse of what residential university life entails preparing high school students for college.

Location: On campus

Cost: $5070

Application deadline: May 20, 2024

Program dates: July 3 to August 7th

Eligibility: Must be 16 years or older

This one month residential program prepares students to study anthropological ethnographies on a crucial institution- healthcare. Along with students across the globe, individuals will learn about health issues that population face in poorer societies and the peripheries like poverty, violence, diseases, gendered healthcare, human rights etc., The syllabus for Global Health Ethnography is focused on sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, South Asia, and the Middle East as cases for study.

Students can also take advantage of weekend trips around Yale and networking opportunities from peers across the globe. In addition to this, students are also allocated counselors who answer queries about university life and academics during the month-long program.

Location: Residential/ Commuter

Cost:$3,635 Residential, $2,167 Commuter (Partial Scholarships Available)

Application deadline: Rolling basis

Program dates: July 28 - August 10, 2024

Eligibility: Rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors.

Pre-college at the University of Massachusetts entails a full day of classes from Monday to Thursday. Its anthropology track offers a mixture of science and anthropology through its  Forensic Anthropology and Bioarchaeology course. Tailored for high school students, this course offers an introduction to how biological anthropology provides an understanding of the past and current legal forensic processes.  As a primarily hands-on course, students will partake in daily lab sessions where they will work with model skeletal remains. This will equip them to participate in a unique mock crime scene investigation at the end of the course.

Apart from this, students will participate in nightly social activities such as mixers, networking with professionals, and getting to know like-minded peers in their residence halls throughout their stay.

Location: Online

Cost: $347.85 per credit hour, Scholarship available

Application deadline: May 2024

Program dates: July 7 to August 2, 2024

Eligibility: Current sophomore, Junior, Senior

Within cultural anthropology, it is essential to understand the differences and variables that make up each society and community. Purdue’s online human cultural diversity program is an introduction to humans from the perspective of nature and behavior. Throughout the course, students will be looking at various facets of anthropology- cultural, biological, linguistic, and archaeological to understand homogeneous and heterogeneous populations throughout history. 

This three-week virtual course lays a good foundation to understanding cultural diversity both theoretically and practically applying concepts in contemporary governance and policy making.

Location: Residential/commuter

Cost: $6,159, Need-based scholarships available

Application deadline:  May 15

Program dates: July 8 to Aug 9, 2024

Eligibility: Rising high school freshmen, sophomore, junior, or senior 

Disability Studies is an important domain in Anthropology through which cultures define what is normal or abnormal. Georgetown’s summer “Disability Studies: The Mad Turn” analyzes how gender, sexuality, and race affect the experiences of those with psychiatric disabilities in its anthropological context.

As part of the program, students are required to attend evening workshops regarding college preparation, and conversations around education inclusivity, etc., During the weekends the university hosts trips to the National Mall, baseball games, and parks.

Course: Culture and Society 

Location: Online

Cost: $3986, Scholarships available to California Residents

Application deadline: May 17, 2024

Program dates: 24th June- 2 August

Eligibility: 8th - 11th Grade

UCLA’s online summer session offers two weekly online classes from June to August. The lectures for the Culture and Society course are three-hour sessions that include a discussion-based approach as well as fieldwork. This course is meant to prepare high school students for a bachelor’s degree in the social sciences with topics regarding the principles of society, the formation and structure of various institutions like education. healthcare, government, and law. The course also applies this knowledge of cultural diversity to understanding issues of the present.

Location: Online

Cost: Free

Application deadline: April 2024

Program dates: Mid-May to Mid-June

Eligibility: 6th-12th grade

Each summer and spring, the American Anthropological Association gives high school students to participate in several virtual internships to help them establish a good understanding of anthropological research. These programs run from may to June and are usually four weeks in length.

The main agenda of the internship is to tailor current academic research in anthropology for 6th to 12th graders, while providing them with projects regarding accessibility and education. In the past, students have  worked on creating their projects into research summaries, infographics and videos.

Location: Flight Departs from Los Angeles

Cost: $ 8,390 + airfare, Scholarship Available

Application deadline: Application open, rolling basis

Program dates: June 24–July 14, 2024 and July 15–August 4, 2024

Eligibility: 9–12 grades

Each year National Geographic selects a cohort of students for their travel program to explore Thailand. During this 21 day program, students explore Thai culture by exploring various forms of cooking, markets, religion and art. The focus of this program is primarily learning about Buddhism and local handicraft practices. The assignment theme for this program is anthropology, culture and tradition where students will be split into groups to learn about various communities that make up Thailand by directly communicating with locals.

One other option – Lumiere Research Scholar Program

If you are interested in a selective, structured research program in anthropology, consider applying to the Lumiere Research Scholar Program, an online high school program for students founded by Harvard and Oxford researchers. The program pairs you with a full-time researcher to develop your own independent research project, in any discipline of your choice. Last year over 4000 students applied to 500 slots in the research program! You can find the application form here.

Stephen is one of the founders of Lumiere and a Harvard College graduate. He founded Lumiere as a Ph.D. student at Harvard Business School. Lumiere is a selective research program where students work 1-1 with a research mentor to develop an independent research paper.


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