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10 History Summer Programs for High School Students

If you are a historophile, then don’t sit idle this summer! Instead, consider applying for a summer program that will help you elevate your understanding of history or better understand its real-world application.

The study of history is essentially a study of changes (in people and society as well as patterns and motivations). You use a range of methods and analytical tools to interpret past events and assess their impact on the present. A strong foundation in history at a higher level prepares you to handle vast amounts of information analytically and builds critical thinking.

We’ve got you covered with a set of great summer opportunities for you to immerse yourself in the study of history.

How do I pick a history summer program?

  1. Determine your goal: is it to increase your understanding of the subject or add something prestigious to your college application? If it’s the former, you’ll get away with a good summer school. But if it’s the latter, you’ll have to gear up for a competitive application process for internships and research mentorship programs (good indicators: usually the ones that are highly selective and are either free or offer a stipend).

  2. Research on the host organization and mentors.

  3. Read reviews, ask your counselors and history teacher.

  4. Check things like location, eligibility and cost.

How do summer programs impact your college application?

A lot of this will depend on the type of summer program. If it’s something like Anson Clark, for example, it’ll make you stand out as a highly competitive applicant. Summer programs alone do not guarantee admission to college, and their impact on your application depends on how you use the experience to enhance your overall profile.

But, even if it’s not a very selective program, at the very least a summer program can signal that you are committed and interested in pursuing your interests beyond a classroom setting. It can also showcase news perspectives and skills that you’ve learnt, collaboration and leadership.

Location: Texas Tech University

Stipend: $750 paid on the submission of a successful research project report

Financial assistance: NA

Application deadline: February 15, 2023

Program dates: June 18, 2023 - August 3, 2023

Eligibility: 17-year-old students who graduate in 2023 or 2024

You will get a one-on-one, hands-on research experience at this intensive summer program. With a cohort of 12 high-achieving students, the Anson L. Clark Scholars Program is one of the most competitive summer programs in the country and will definitely boost college applications. History is one of its key research areas and the coursework includes seminars, discussions and field trips.

You can expect an eclectic experience from deep-diving into Antarctica’s past to understanding more about the British Empire!

Location: Cornell University, University of Maryland, and University of Michigan

Fee: Free

Financial assistance: NA

Application deadline: Closed for 2023

Program dates: June 25, 2023 – August 5, 2023

Program Selectivity: Highly selective with a 3-5% acceptance rate

Eligibility: 10th and 11th graders, usually for students from underrepresented backgrounds

History is a key component in TASS’s Critical Black Studies program, which looks at the life and culture of people of African descent. While not solely a history program, TASS’s interdisciplinary approach will teach you history in relation to other spheres of life like literature, politics and art. Do keep in mind the acceptance rate of this course is 3-5% but that also makes it a highly prestigious humanities program.

Location: On campus with commuter and residential options

Fee: $5,025 for the commuter track, $7,624 for the residential track

Financial assistance: Limited scholarships available based on need, qualifications and availability

Application deadline: March 15, 2023

Program dates: June 20, 2023 – August 4, 2023

Eligibility: Open to 10th and 11th grade students who have a minimum GPA of 3.8 and have attended a minimum of 12 academic semester courses.

If you’re looking for the opportunity to engage in university-level research under expert guidance, consider this UCSB program. With history being one of its research areas, this six-week program pairs each student with a mentor on a specific project.

An example of a history project is ‘Food in Fascist Italy: How Mussolini’s Battle for Grain Impacted Women Socially and Culturally’. You will enrol in two courses: an Exploratory Course where you will learn how to present research in a number of formats and a Lecture Course where you will learn the elements of a research paper. The program is highly competitive and has a 4-6% acceptance rate.

Location: The Met

Stipend: Students receive a stipend commensurate with New York State minimum wage law

Financial assistance: NA

Application deadline: March end

Program dates: June end to mid-August

Eligibility: High school students of grade 10 and 11, who live or attend school in New York, New Jersey or Connecticut

If you are passionate about art history, then this is a solid option for you. This unique opportunity allows you to work at The Met and be mentored by one of its staff. You will complete 40 hours of department specific work and the placement will be based on interests, availability and the department’s internship project. The curatorial department is ideal for students with an interest in history. You will learn how to curate exhibitions, gather research and manage information about works of art. However, the application process also includes a round of interviews, so the program is relatively selective.

Location: Foxcroft School, Washington, DC

Fee: $9,995

Financial assistance: Need-based full and partial scholarships are available

Application deadline: None, admission decisions are made on a rolling basis

Program dates: July 2, 2023 – July 28, 2023

Eligibility: 10th – 12th grade students

For those with an interest in history, law and government, this residential summer program is the ideal choice. Run by the national heritage area and non-profit organization Journey Through Hallowed Ground, the program focuses on place-based education. Your weekly schedule will be divided into classroom studies and historical site visits. The curriculum also includes case studies and parliamentary debates. The application process includes an essay and phone interview and the program has been known to have an acceptance rate of 38%.

Location: On campus, residential

Fee: $6470

Financial assistance: Limited financial aid is available based on merit and need

Application deadline: March 13, 2023 for those requiring financial aid. April 24, 2023 as the final deadline

Program dates: June 19, 2023 - June 29, 2023

Eligibility: Students entering grades 10 – 12 or graduating seniors. Students must be 15 years of age on the first day of the program

Another great art history program, Sotheby’s Summer Institute’s Art History course takes you through all the major artists, movements, cultures, and ideas that impacted art history. You will visit museums, cathedrals and galleries, making NYC your campus. This immersive course will leave you with a comprehensive understanding of the subject but its prestige also makes it highly competitive.

Location: On campus, residential

Fee: $8,250

Financial assistance: Need-based financial aid is available

Application deadline: February 1, 2023

Program dates: Session I from June 25, 2023 - July 14, 2023, Session II from July 16, 2023 - August 4, 2023

Eligibility: Students in grades 10 and 11 at the time of application submission

This selective program is for students who want to deep dive into a specific area of interest. A number of intriguing history courses are available, including Revolutions, Ancient Rome and Its Legacies, The American Enlightenment, Racial Identity in the American Imagination, and Who Owns the Past? African Museum Collections in the Bay Area. You can choose up to three. While the applications for 2023 are closed, the dates for 2024 will be approximately around the same time.

Location: In person at the New York Historical Society Museum and Library

Stipend: Students from a Title 1 School or those who are eligible for free or reduced lunch will be offered a stipend

Financial assistance: NA

Application deadline: TBA

Program dates: Dates for the summer session are TBA

Eligibility: High school students entering the 10th, 11th, or 12th grades

Otherwise known as New York’s oldest museum, the New York Historical Society offers up this opportunity for high school students. You will work with the staff, learn about career trajectories, and engage in hands-on research and work in the museum. The program has a school-year session as well as a summer session and usually takes place in cohorts of 25 students. Each session has a theme, the subject for 2022-2023 was ‘Our Composite Nation: Frederick Douglass’ America’.

Location: Online

Fee: Free

Financial assistance: NA

Application deadline: None

Program dates: Varies as per course but the dates usually fall in July and August


This institute hosting this online program is a non-profit public charity whose work has been recognised by the White House. The program courses include lectures on Zoom, online activities, discussions, and a certificate awarded at the end. While the Summer 2023 details aren’t available yet, it is bound to have courses similar to the ones of Summer 2022. Those include ‘World Wars I and II: Life on the Home Front’, ‘AP US Government and Politics: The Required Supreme Court Cases’ and ‘AP US History’.

Location: University of Nevada, Reno

Fee: $4,350

Financial assistance: Need-based financial aid is available to cover a part of the tuition fees

Application deadline: March 31, 2023, with applications accepted on a rolling basis

Program dates: July 8, 2023 – July 29, 2023

Eligibility: 13 – 16 year olds who are US citizens or permanent residents. An SAT/ACT score is also required although there is no minimum score

Davidson Institute’s three-week residential program has a world history course that studies the earliest civilisation in Asia, North Africa, the Americas and Europe. The program looks for students who are high achieving not only in academics but also in social and emotional maturity, making it relatively selective. You can earn college credit that could be transferred, depending on the school or college you are transferring it to.

One other option – Lumiere Research Scholar Program

If you are passionate about history and want to do advanced research or even attempt getting published in the Concord Review, 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 PhD 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: Raw Pixel



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