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10 Paleontology Programs for High School Students

If you have a passion for paleontology, then you should definitely look into the internships below! Look into these programs to deepen your understanding of paleontology, gain practical insights, and showcase your dedication to the subject on applications and resumes.


Paleontology programs can significantly enhance your college applications by demonstrating your commitment to both academic and hands-on learning. Admissions committees highly value candidates who exhibit a genuine passion for their chosen field. The impact of a STEM internship on your application can be influenced by its alignment with your academic goals and the reputation of the hosting institution.


Programs with well-known paleontology organizations, such as paleontological research institutions, fossil excavation teams, or museum curatorial departments, can carry significant weight in your applications. However, regardless of the organization's prestige, it's essential to highlight your responsibilities, accomplishments, and the skills you've developed during the internship to effectively demonstrate your commitment to paleontology and your potential contributions to the college community.


Here are ten paleontology-related programs recognized for providing valuable experiences for high school students interested in the field.


How do I choose the program that’s best for me?

When selecting the best paleontology program for you, keep the following points in mind:


1. Start with Your Goals: When diving into paleontology programs, it's essential to figure out what you want. Do you want to learn more about ancient life, develop your digging and discovering skills, focus on a specific part of paleontology, or just get an all-around understanding of the field?

2. Look for Research Opportunities: Look for programs that let you get your hands dirty with actual paleontological research. Getting out there and digging up fossils can be much more impactful than passively looking through textbooks.

3. Go with What Interests You: Choose a program that lines up with what you're into. Whether it's dinosaurs, ancient ecosystems, fossil preservation, or something else, picking a program that matches your interests will keep you engaged and excited.

4. Do Your Research: Take a close look at the program's details. Check out what they're teaching, who's teaching it, what resources they have, and where it's located. Don't forget to think about how long it lasts and if you can afford it. You might also want to ask previous participants what they thought of the program to see if it's a good fit for you.


By following these steps, you can make an informed decision and select the paleontology program that best aligns with your goals and interests in the fascinating world of paleontology

Location: Chicago

Cost:$14,000

Program dates: June-July

Application Deadline: January

Eligibility: Current high school freshman, sophomore, or junior who is at least 14


The UChicago Stones and Bones Program is a hands-on educational initiative offered by the University of Chicago, designed to immerse students in the fascinating world of paleontology. This unique program provides participants with a remarkable opportunity to explore the mysteries of ancient life, from prehistoric creatures to the geological history of our planet. Through a combination of fieldwork and classroom instruction, students gain practical experience in fossil excavation, preparation, and analysis. The program is renowned for its passionate faculty and access to world-class research facilities, offering a comprehensive understanding of paleontological principles. Whether you're interested in unraveling the stories of dinosaurs, reconstructing ancient ecosystems, or studying the evolution of life on Earth, the UChicago Stones and Bones Program promises an immersive experience that introduces students to paleontology.


Location: Fort Hayes, Kansas

Cost: $2663

Program dates: June 25 - July 7

Application Deadline: April 2

Eligibility: High School students aged 14-18


In Field Paleontology: Kansas, students will get to investigate the paleontology and ecology of the ancient ecosystems out in the field, prospecting for and digging up fossils. Participants can expect to encounter a wide variety of fossil vertebrates and invertebrates during their fieldwork. Students will learn how to find and collect fossil material using the same tools and techniques as professional paleontologists. This will include learning to take field notes, set up a campsite, use GPS units, map and compass skills, and proper methods of fossil collection and transport to preserve as much information as possible. Collected fossils will return to the Sternberg Museum to be added to the research and education collections. Evening group discussion sessions will explore topics such as applying to college, starting a research project, and working with professors.


Location: Barnegat Bay Field Station

Cost: $2200

Program dates: July 9 - July 15

Application Deadline: May 12

Eligibility: Rising high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors


The Drexel Environmental Science Leadership Academy, while primarily focused on environmental science, also serves as an excellent platform for students interested in paleontology. This innovative program not only explores the broader realms of environmental science but also delves into the fascinating world of paleontology, making it an ideal choice for budding paleontologists. Through hands-on experiences, students gain insight into the interconnectedness of Earth's ecosystems and the invaluable role of paleontological research in understanding our planet's history. The academy's emphasis on research and experiential learning provides aspiring paleontologists with the practical skills and scientific acumen needed to excel in this field. Furthermore, the program encourages students to apply their knowledge and skills to conservation efforts and environmental issues, aligning perfectly with the mission of preserving our planet's ancient treasures.


Location: Hays, Kansas

Cost: $1845

Program dates: July 9 - July 14

Application Deadline: April 2

Eligibility: High School students aged 14-18


The Sternberg Museum of Natural History Fossil Preparation Methods Camp is an opportunity for budding paleontologists and fossil enthusiasts. Hosted by the prestigious Sternberg Museum of Natural History, this unique camp offers an immersive experience into the world of fossil preparation and curation. Participants have the chance to work alongside experienced paleontologists and fossil preparators, learning the intricate techniques involved in extracting, cleaning, and preserving fossils. With access to an extensive collection of specimens and cutting-edge laboratory facilities, attendees gain practical, hands-on experience in the art of fossil preparation. This camp not only provides a deep understanding of the science of paleontology but also imparts a valuable set of skills for those looking to pursue a career in the field.


Location: Colorado Northwestern Community College

Cost: $1499

Program dates: Session 1: Saturday, May 27th 2023 – Sunday, June 11th 2023

Session 2: Saturday, July 1st 2023 – Sunday, July 16th 2023

Application Deadline: Rolling admissions

Eligibility: Everyone is eligible to participate.


The CNCC Summer Paleontology program is an immersive opportunity for individuals of all ages with a keen interest in paleontology. Hosted by Colorado Northwestern Community College, this program offers an engaging and hands-on experience that allows participants to step into the shoes of a paleontologist and explore the prehistoric past. Students and enthusiasts have the unique chance to excavate fossils in the stunning landscapes of Northwest Colorado, a region renowned for its rich fossil deposits. Led by experienced instructors, the program covers various aspects of paleontology, from fieldwork and fossil identification to laboratory preparation techniques. This comprehensive and interactive approach not only imparts a deep understanding of paleontological principles but also equips participants with valuable skills that are essential in the field.


Location: Montana

Cost: $2300

Program dates: Weeklong expeditions in June and July

Application Deadline: Rolling

Eligibility: At least 12 years old and in good medical condition


Elevation Science Institute's Fossil Dig Expeditions are immersive expeditions, hosted by the Elevation Science Institute, that take participants on a thrilling journey to uncover the secrets of ancient life. The program offers hands-on experiences at some of the world's most renowned fossil excavation sites, where participants can work alongside seasoned paleontologists and researchers. These expeditions provide a comprehensive introduction to the science of paleontology, covering everything from fieldwork and fossil identification to the delicate art of specimen preparation. Moreover, the program fosters a deep appreciation for the natural world, as participants gain insight into the geology, ecology, and evolutionary history of the regions they explore.


Location: South Dakota Mines

Cost: $300

Program dates: July 10-13

Application Deadline: TBD

Eligibility: 9-12th graders


Summer Camp: Fossils at South Dakota Mines is an educational program designed for young aspiring paleontologists. Hosted by the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, this summer camp offers a hands-on and immersive experience for students passionate about paleontology. Participants have the unique opportunity to explore the paleontological treasures of the Black Hills region, which is renowned for its rich fossil deposits. Under the guidance of experienced paleontologists and educators, campers engage in fossil excavation, learn about the intricate process of fossil preservation, and gain a deeper understanding of Earth's ancient history. The program also incorporates interactive workshops and field trips to museums and active dig sites, providing a comprehensive introduction to the world of paleontology.


Location: Montana

Cost: $220-$275 for 4 and 5 day camps respectively

Program dates: Various 4-5 day camps in June, July, and August

Application Deadline: Rolling

Eligibility: Students grades K-12


The Museum of the Rockies Summer Camp is an immersive educational experience for young explorers and aspiring paleontologists. Nestled in the heart of Bozeman, Montana, this camp offers a unique opportunity to dive into the captivating world of paleontology and natural history. With its close proximity to world-renowned fossil sites, participants can embark on field expeditions to uncover ancient treasures, from dinosaurs to Ice Age megafauna. Led by knowledgeable educators and paleontologists, the camp combines hands-on fieldwork with interactive laboratory sessions, allowing campers to excavate fossils and analyze their findings. Moreover, the Museum of the Rockies' extensive collections and state-of-the-art facilities provide an invaluable learning environment. Whether it's uncovering the secrets of Montana's prehistoric past or exploring the broader realms of paleontology, this summer camp promises to instill a deep appreciation for Earth's history.


Location: Crawford Creek Valley

Cost: $850 - $3300 depending on duration

Program dates: June 11 - July 8

Application Deadline: Rolling

Eligibility: Ages 13-17


The Center for American Archaeology High School Field Camp, though primarily focused on archaeology, also offers a fantastic learning opportunity for students interested in paleontology. This program not only delves into the world of archaeological research but also provides valuable hands-on experience that aligns with the skills and techniques essential for budding paleontologists. Engaging in excavations and artifact analysis enhances your understanding of stratigraphy and the preservation of ancient remains, skills that are directly transferable to the field of paleontology. The camp fosters a strong sense of appreciation for both the cultural and natural history of the Midwest, which can significantly benefit students passionate about exploring the interconnectedness of archaeology and paleontology.


Location: Montana’s Little Snowy Mountains

Cost: $1895

Program dates: July 7-12 or July 21-26

Application Deadline: Rolling

Eligibility: High School Students


The Judith River Dinosaur Institute Dinosaur Digs is an extraordinary opportunity for fossil enthusiasts, paleontologists, and aspiring dinosaur hunters. Situated in the heart of Montana's breathtaking Judith River Formation, this program provides participants with a unique chance to travel back in time to the Late Cretaceous period. Led by experienced paleontologists, you will engage in thrilling expeditions to excavate and discover remarkable dinosaur fossils, making real contributions to our understanding of prehistoric life. The program also offers hands-on experience in fossil preparation and curation, giving participants the opportunity to learn the intricate art of fossil preservation.



It's important to do your own research on each program, visit their websites to gather application specifics and due dates, and directly contact the organizations for the most current insights into program openings tailored to high school students interested in paleontology.


One other option - Lumiere Research Scholar Program

If you would like to further explore the field of environmental science or biology and play a more direct role in uncovering parts of our past, you should also consider applying to the Lumiere Research Scholar Program, a selective online high school program for students 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.


Jessica attends Harvard University where she studies Neuroscience and Computer Science as a Coca-Cola, Elks, and Albert Shankar Scholar. She is passionate about educational equity and hopes to one day combine this with her academic interests via social entrepreneurship. Outside of academics, she enjoys taking walks, listening to music, and running her jewelry business!


1 comentário


A very cool programme, I missed it in my time, I really wanted to study political science, but it didn't work out. But I became a very good specialist in programming, which gave me great opportunities, but it didn't start out so rosy. When I first entered college, we were given so many written assignments that it was maddening. I started looking for cheap essay writing service reviews to save my time and nerves, because my brain couldn't take the strain after one week of that. So I can say that my path to programming was hard, but my dream of becoming a politician is still alive somewhere.

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