Biomedical engineering is a field that requires comprehensive theoretical knowledge, as well as sound research and engineering skills. As a highschool student, building on these aspects early can help with your college admissions. Admissions officers are looking for students who take the extra step to work on a subject that they are passionate about, and make an effort to learn beyond the classroom.
Biomedical engineering summer programs are a great way to gain real-world experience in the field. These programs are usually research and theory-focused, and include various extracurricular components to provide a holistic summer pre-college experience.
Now let's dive into our list of 10 biomedical engineering summer programs for high schoolers!
1. Johns Hopkins University’s The Immersive Summer Program for Education, Enrichment, and Distinction (ISPEED) in Biomedical Engineering
Application deadline: March 1, 2023
Eligibility: Sophomores and juniors who were born between July 29, 2005, and July 2, 2008. Students from underrepresented or underserved backgrounds are encouraged to apply.
Program dates: July 3, 2023 – July 28, 2023
Location: John Hopkins University
If you’re interested in getting project-based experience and improving your practical skills, John Hopkins’ ISPEED program is a solid choice. It’s a four-week, residential program run by JHU’s School of Medicine where you will get the chance to learn about biology, life sciences, healthcare design, computer programming and more, all with the aim of connecting to foundational skills in biomedical engineering. The curriculum includes classes, project based, hands-on learning, research talks by students and faculty, field trips, and a Final Showcase where you will present your project. During the program, you will also work at the University’s BME Design Studio and the Cell & Tissue Engineering Lab. You can also expect to learn more about computer programming, machine learning and scientific computing.
2. Youth Inventa’s Youth In Biomedical Engineering Program
Application deadline: June 5, 2023
Eligibility: All students aged 13 – 18. Those
Program dates: July 10, 2023 – July 21, 2023
Held by Youth Inventa, a non-profit organization, this online program is fully funded and an ideal choice for students from low-income backgrounds or those who are unable to travel. You will attend 1-2 hour sessions every weekday which include lectures, interactive labs and activities, and will cover topics like drug engineering, cell biology, and the development of medical devices. The focus of this program is on networking with different professionals from the industry and gaining career insights.
Application deadline: April 28, 2023
Eligibility: Students who will be at least 16 years of age at the start of the program. Students from underrepresented backgrounds are encouraged to apply
Program dates: July 5, 2023 – August 18, 2023
Location: Tufts University
Fee: Free (Students are expected to organize their own transportation)
Tufts University is known for having strong biomedical engineering programs, making the TUBERS program a valuable opportunity for those interested in the subject. This is a commuter program focused on hands-on research. Over the six weeks, you will investigate biomedical questions and develop new methods of study while working on a particular field of research. After the program, students are encouraged to use their completed projects to participate in science competitions. Highly selective, TUBERS is designed to improve students' critical thinking and academic research skills.
Application deadline: February 25, 2023
Eligibility: Current juniors or seniors who are at least 16 years of age
Program dates: June 13, 2023 – August 4, 2023
Location: Stanford University
Stipend: $500 - $1,500
The SIMR is an 8-week internship program where students get to work with a mentor one-on-one and engage in hands-on research. You can choose from a number of research areas, one of which is bioengineering. Apart from attending lectures, you will also work on a real-world biodesign project that addresses a medical need. As part of the process, you will evaluate technical pros/cons, build prototypes and eventually present them at the SIMR poster session.
If you’re looking for a shorter program, Stanford also offers this lecture series on biomedical research. However, this is a paid program.
Application deadline: April 15, 2023
Eligibility: Rising sophomores, juniors and seniors
Program dates: Session 1 from July 5, 2023 – July 25, 2023 Session 2 from July 26, 2023 – August 15, 2023
Location: Columbia University
Financial assistance: Limited need-based scholarships available
SHAPE offers you the opportunity to study a college-level engineering course and one of the available course options is biomedical engineering (you can do one or both sessions). During the program, you will study different areas of the field like biomechanics, bioinstrumentation, and medical imaging, as well as construct your very own biomedical device. This is a project-based program that also provides other skill-based electives and additional support with college preparation.
6. Rowan University’s Research Immersion in Biomedical Science and Engineering at Rowan (RISER) Program
Application deadline: June 2, 2023
Eligibility: Rising seniors from South Jersey
Program dates: June 19, 2023 – July 28, 2023
Location: Rowan University
This summer program is a great choice if you are specifically looking to work on an independent, research project. As a RISER scholar, you will be matched with a lab (you can choose between a Biomedical Engineering and a Biomedical Sciences lab) where you will work on your project. This is a non-residential, volunteer program and you must commit 20 hours of research per week. The program culminates with a symposium on the last day where you will have the opportunity to present your findings.
Application deadline: March 5, 2023
Eligibility: Rising juniors and seniors who are at least 16 years of age (priority will be given to those from the Durham Public School system). Students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds are encouraged to apply
Program dates: June 12, 2023 – July 28, 2023
Location: Duke University
Stipend: $2,000 (Daily lunches and a transportation pass are also provided)
As a participant in this program, you will be matched with one of the labs at Duke University where you will work on a research project under the guidance of a faculty member. The program was launched in the biomedical engineering department but has since expanded to other fields like electrical or mechanical engineering. Aside from the project, the program also includes social activities, session on college preparation, resume writing workshops and more.
Application deadline: April 1, 2023
Eligibility: Current freshmen, sophomores, and juniors who have a minimum GPA of 2.0
Program dates: July 16, 2023 – July 22, 2023 (Session 4 of the pre-college program), July 23, 2023 – July 29 (Session 5 of the pre-college program)
Location: University of Connecticut
Fee: $2,050 - $2,150
Financial assistance: Limited discounts and scholarships are available
This Biomedical Engineering course is part of the University of Connecticut’s pre-college summer program. The residential program is geared towards students who want to explore college-level academics and life at university in general without committing too much of their time. Through the Biomedical Engineering course, you will get an overview of the field and its interconnected sub-fields, explore real-life applications and learn about career options.
You will engage in activities like designing a functional medical device prototype and using computer-aided-design (CAD) software to create physical structures. Another option in this program is the Artificial Intelligence in Biomedical Engineering course.
Application deadline: May 31, 2023
Eligibility: Rising juniors and seniors who have taken at least one year of biology
Program dates: Session I from July 10, 2023 – July 14, 2023, Session II from July 17, 2023 – July 21, 2023, Session III from July 24, 2023 – July 28, 2023
Location: Drexel University
Financial assistance: Limited need-based scholarships are available
Ideal for those who do not want to spend all summer at school, this one-week, commuter program offers an engaging, hands-on experience in the field of biomedical engineering. The focus of the program is on teaching essential laboratory and research skills through activities like measuring brain waves and making nanoparticles. Previous students have also worked on gene editing and tissue engineering. Apart from lab work, the curriculum also includes site visits and seminars given by experts in the field.
Application deadline: April 14, 2023. However, applications are accepted on a rolling basis
Eligibility: Students who have at least completed 8th grade and maintain a B or better grade average
Program dates: July 5, 2023 – August 3, 2023
Location: New Jersey Institute of Technology
As one of the tracks in NJIT’s Summer Early College Preparatory Programs, the Biomedical Engineering Program is aimed at high-achieving high school students. The coursework looks at the cross-disciplinary nature of the field, exploring the interconnection between the engineering sciences, biomedical science and clinical practices. Alongside this, the program also includes modules that prepare you for standardized tests like the SAT and ACT.
Here’s a bonus entry for those of you who read this far:
Application deadline: Students are accepted on a rolling basis
Eligibility: All high school students
Program dates: Session 1 from June 26, 2023 – July 14, 2023, Session 2 from July 17, 2023 – August 4, 2022
Location: Session 1 at the Greater Wellesley campus and Session 2 at the Longwood Medical Area
Fee: $2,200 (An additional $2,097 for residential students)
Financial assistance: Limited scholarships available for rising seniors who come from families with a total annual income of $60,000 or less
The Boston Leadership Institute's Biomedical Engineering program offers an immersive experience, combining lectures, hands-on projects, and visits to medical facilities. The curriculum delves into areas like biochemistry, materials chemistry, and scientific reasoning. Apart from learning the fundamentals, you will also work with DNA extraction, 3D design and printing, and discuss current breakthroughs.
Previous students have 3D printed their own prosthetic devices, researched treatments of glaucoma, and designed a device to deliver insulin in a discreet way. While not as prestigious as the SIMR or ISPEED, this program is a good way to learn the basics of the field while not being too intense. You can read more about our review of the Boston Leadership Institute here.
Bonus - Lumiere Research Scholar Program
If you are interested in doing university-level research in biomedical engineering, you could also consider applying to the Lumiere Research Scholar Program, a selective online high school program for students I founded with researchers at Harvard and Oxford. Last year, we had over 4000 students apply for 500 spots in the 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.
Image Source: SIMR logo