If you are a high school student interested in chemistry, an internship will be a valuable addition to college applications. Internships prove to officers that you can apply theoretical concepts in practical situations.
Additionally, a career in chemistry has multiple options - from biochemistry to chemical engineering. You can explore career prospects through an internship to determine your preferred field! Moreover, interacting with mentors or peers in your internships will help you in the long run - either with future job prospects or letters of recommendation. Lastly, participating in an internship outside school hours signals your dedication to the subject!
In this list, we have curated a list of 10 chemistry internships that you can consider. We have covered multiple areas, from biochemical research to material science and even environmental chemistry!
UC Berkeley's SYIP program, hosted by its College of Chemistry, is for talented high schoolers passionate about a career in chemistry.
This program is unique as apart from introductory chemistry, you are encouraged to pursue research in related fields such as chemistry, biochemical chemistry, material science, etc. This immersion gives you the proper exposure, especially if you’re confused about which stream(s) to pursue after picking Chemistry as your undergrad major.
The program accepts about 30 students and offers an extensive 4-week internship program that includes data analysis, non-hazardous laboratory procedures, and attending seminars and group meetings. Once selected, you will be paired with a mentor who will take you through concept development, design methods, decision-making, scientific processes, and the inner workings of world-renowned laboratories.
Before the 4-week on-site internship, there is a 9-month remote coaching program that preps you for the projects you will take up under the guidance of your assigned mentor, as well as provide an introduction to advanced chemical concepts. You can find past presentations by previous SYIP participants here.
Location: UC Berkeley Campus
Cost: $14,750 + $75 application fees
Application deadline (Summer 2024): Rolling admissions (until October 2023)
Program dates (Summer 2024):
9-Month Remote Coaching: October 2023 through June 2024
4-week On-Site Internship: July 9 to August 5, 2024
Open to any high school students (including rising freshmen!)
Must stand in the top 10% of their class
Have already taken general or AP chemistry.
The Summer High School Intern Program by NIST is a program for students who have finished their junior or senior year of high school (by the program's start) and demonstrate an interest in scientific research.
In this program, you gain the opportunity to participate in cutting-edge research at NIST and work closely with NIST staff scientists and engineers on a specific research topic. 6 NIST laboratories participate in the SHIP program, and they include:
Communications Technology Lab
Information Technology Lab
Material Measurement Lab
NIST Center for Neutron Research
Physical Measurement Lab
Note. Students interested in Chemistry are encouraged to apply for the Material Measurements Lab. Your focus areas will be new vaccines and biological drugs, characterizing the performance of alternative fuels and refrigerants with less greenhouse gas potential, assessing pollutants, including ocean plastics, and helping develop new materials for lightweight, fuel-efficient transportation, just to name a few!
Cost: No participation cost (but students must cover housing and transportation costs)
Location: Varies from lab to lab.
Application Deadline (Summer 2024): February 13th, 2024
Program Dates (Summer 2024): June 18th, 2024, to August 9th, 2024 (tentative)
Selection Rate: Highly Selective
Rising senior or recent graduate.
Must be eligible to work in the U.S.
A minimum of a 3.0 GPA should be maintained.
Ladder Internship is a selective program for high school students to work with start-ups on engineering and other topics. The program is run by Harvard alums and works with companies from places like the YCombinator and Stanford.
Ladder Startups work in fields including chemistry, machine learning and AI, finance, environmental science and sustainability, business and marketing, healthcare and medicine, media and journalism, and more. You can explore all the options here on their application form.
As part of their internship, each student will work on a real-world project and present their work at the end of their internship. In addition to working closely with their manager from the startup, each intern will also work with a Ladder Coach throughout their internship - the Ladder Coach serves as a second mentor and a sounding board, guiding students through the internship and helping you navigate the startup environment. Note that as a Ladder Intern, you will engage in a coaching+work-based model - a component that sets it apart from most internships in this list. The virtual internship is usually 8 weeks long.
Cost: $1490 (Financial Aid Available)
Location: Remote! You can work from anywhere in the world.
Application Deadline: Applications for cohorts in June, September, December, and February (4 cohorts throughout the year)
Program Dates: 8 weeks, June to August; cohorts run year-round
Selection Rate: Selective (<30% acceptance rate Summer 2023)
Students who can work for 10-20 hours/week for 8-12 weeks.
Open to high school students, undergraduates, and gap year students!
Project SEED is an 8-10 week paid internship where students have the opportunity to work in real laboratories, from universities to even the U.S. Department of Agriculture lab! In particular, Project SEED focuses on supporting over 350+ students from underrepresented communities, providing both internships and summer camps to help students with university applications.
You will be able to work on an independent project at a research lab in the nearest Project SEED location! You choose your type of project, whether it be writing a report or preparing a poster for the end of summer. Depending on the site, you can also benefit from field trips, campus tours, career panels, and more!
An added bonus is that your coordinator can choose to register you for the American Chemical Society National Meeting - where you will present your work to thousands of attendees!
Cost: No cost; stipend provided.
Location: Varies based on lab choice.
Application Deadline (Summer 2023): April
Program Dates (Summer 2023): 8-10 weeks in the months of June to August
A current high school sophomore, junior, or senior (recent graduates are also welcome).
Must have completed one course of high school chemistry.
Family annual income must not exceed 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.
Note. Project SEED has multiple methods of documenting eligibility that you can access here!
The EM OPALS provides high school students with hands-on experience in STEM by spending 20 hours/week at a UC San Diego research laboratory. If you are interested in biochemistry, we encourage you to apply to the EM OPALS program!
As an intern, you will interact with researchers, graduate and undergraduate students engaged in engineering and medical sciences. You can expect to participate in these college-level projects:
Charcot Marie Tooth Disease Type 2B
Early Stage Cancer Detection
Apart from conducting research, there are weekly professional sharing career talks, hands-on experiments, and small group discussions on ongoing research topics! Moreover, guest lectures include professors, graduate students, and even previous interns.
Cost: $1,000 + $40 application fee (Note. there are financial aid options)
Location: University of California, San Diego Campus
Application Deadline (Summer 2023): March 10th, 2023
Program Dates (Summer 2023): June 26th - August 4th, 2023
Current 8-11th graders.
Local residents preferred (no housing and transportation provided)
Note. Students under 16 years need to follow the Minors in laboratories from UCSD.
The Aspiring Scientists Summer Internship Program allows high school students to work one-on-one with faculty researchers at George Mason University to develop their own research projects.
In the 8-week internship, you will:
Gain hands-on experience using cutting-edge, sophisticated equipment and technologies.
Develop and exercise scientific writing and communication skills.
Explore STEM career choices through discussion forums and meetings with role models.
Develop and exercise creative skills, which are crucial to performing innovative research.
Previous projects in chemistry include research in antibiotic development, measuring Volatile Organic Carbon (VOC), and diagnosis of tuberculosis through qPCR. You can look at previous research here!
Note. For 2023, ASSIP internships can either be fully remote, entirely in-person, or hybrid! This depends on your mentor's choice and their requirements.
Cost: $25 application fee (Note. Transport and housing are not covered)
Location: George Mason University, Fairfax, VA
Application Deadline (Summer 2024): The deadline is not specified, but expect it to be around January or February.
Program Dates (Summer 2023): June 20th - August 10th, 2023
Remote internships and in-person/hybrid computer lab internships:
Must be 15 years or older by June 20th, 2023 (for Summer 2023 program).
‘Wet-lab’ in-person or hybrid internships:
Must be 16 or older by June 20th, 2023 (for Summer 2023 program).
Note. While the program accepts international applications, specific research labs may be unavailable for non-US citizens.
This long-running program, which began in 1996, invites applications from San Francisco students from underrepresented communities in the field of STEM to learn about science and sustainability. A few sessions in past cohorts covered topics such as Python for scientific programming, astronomy, science communication, biomimicry, environmental justice, and California conservation.
Alongside this, you also receive mentorship, build professional skills, and more – all while being compensated for your efforts. The interns' cohort is encouraged throughout the program to participate in seminars and conferences and interact with faculty, mentors, and talented students such as yourself.
As for specific subject tracks such as chemistry, we reached out to the CiS team, and here’s the answer we received - students are allocated to roles and departments in a museum setting based on their interests and opportunities they have available in the museum at the time.
Cost: No cost; stipend provided
Location: California Academy of Sciences
Application Deadline (Summer 2023): April 3rd, 2023
Program Dates: Multi-year, year-round participation
Eligibility: All high schoolers residing in San Francisco can apply
Conducted by Washington University in St.Louis, the YSP Summer Focus Program provides high school students in the Greater St.Louis area with funded, 8-week summer research internships.
In the program, you will be paired with a Mentor and Tutor. The Mentor works one-on-one with you on your project, while your Tutor will support you through your research experience. The Mentors and Tutors are Washington University graduate students, postdoctoral associates, laboratory staff, and principal investigators!
Research is conducted in chemistry, ecology, earth and planetary sciences, developmental biology, and more! Moreover, in addition to your research work, you will also take 2 courses on strengthening your science communication skills and preparing to apply to college.
Cost: No cost; stipend provided
Location: Washington University in St.Louis Campus
Application Deadline (Summer 2023): February 13th, 2023
Program Dates (Summer 2023): June 5th - July 8th, 2023.
Open to rising seniors who are residents of Missouri and Illinois.
The Scripps Research Translational Institute offers a research program for high school students to conduct hands-on research in biomedical and biochemical sciences. The program aims to increase the number of students pursuing a career in biological and chemical sciences, especially encouraging participation from under-represented backgrounds.
The program is split into three components - the ‘boot camp,’ the interview process, and the 7-week laboratory internship. The ‘boot camp’ is a 3-day, unpaid pre-internship training course - held immediately before the internship. After the boot camp, students are interviewed by principal investigators and matched to a research laboratory.
In the 7-week laboratory internship, you will conduct your own research and be guided by a graduate student mentor who will help further your research. Moreover, an added benefit is that your graduate student mentor can help you with the college application process, the application essay, and more!
Cost: No cost; stipend provided ($4,760 for full program)
Location: Scripps Research’s La Jolla California Campus
Application Deadline (Summer 2023): 3rd April 2023
Program Dates (Summer 2023): June 19th - August 11th
Must be a San Diego County resident currently enrolled in a high school in San Diego County.
Be at least 16 years of age before June 19th, 2023 (for Summer 2023 program).
Have successfully completed at least 1 year of high school-level chemistry and biology.
Have a minimum GPA of 3.0.
Note. Scripps places importance on identifying and recruiting first-generation college-bound students and those historically underrepresented in the sciences.
10. ASE Internships
ASE Internships match students with partner organizations to conduct research in disciplines such as Chemistry, Biology, Health or Medicine, Earth or Environmental science, and more.
As an intern, you will contribute to the projects conducted at the mentor’s organization throughout the summer. Your role as an intern will vary depending on your organization. A few roles this summer include:
Assist in a lab that tests various Parkinson’s disease treatments with mice models.
Generate and analyze motor proteins using biochemical and biophysical processes.
Learn about synthetic chemistry and how to use fluorescent chemical compounds for medical imaging.
Learn and assist with the operations of a nuclear research reactor and more.
Your primary responsibilities can include working alongside leading scientists on a research project, receiving training and mentorship from scientists, and even conducting your experiments in some cases!
Cost: $35 application fee; stipend provided ($1,100 for the complete program)
Location: Varies based on location
Application Deadline (Summer 2023): 3rd March 2023
Program Dates (Summer 2023): June to August
Note. The exact schedule differs based on the organization; however, every ASE intern must complete 296 hours of work with their partner organization.
Be a rising sophomore, junior or senior.
Live near the internship locations (usually in the Portland-Metro area and the Albany/Corvallis/Eugene areas) or have adult family or friends you can live with during the summer near our internship locations.
Bonus - Lumiere Research Scholar Program
If you are interested in doing university-level research in chemistry, then you could also consider applying to the Lumiere Research Scholar Program, a selective online high school program for students that I founded with researchers at Harvard and Oxford. Last year, we had over 2100 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: American Chemical Society