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10 Research Opportunities for Middle School Students

If you're aiming to lay a strong foundation for your academic journey, starting early can make all the difference. Engaging in research-based programs during these formative years can ignite a passion for learning, shape future interests, and set the stage for success in high school and beyond. 

That's why we've curated a list of ten research opportunities for middle school students which offer a chance to delve into diverse fields of study, from science and technology to mathematics and beyond. Many of them provide financial aid and scholarships as well.


The Lumiere Junior Explorer Program is an 8-week program for middle school students to work one-on-one with a mentor to explore their academic interests and build a project they are passionate about. Our mentors are scholars from top research universities such as Harvard, MIT,  Stanford, Yale, Duke and LSE

During this program, spanning weeks 1 to 4, participants will delve into four distinct topics within their selected track. In weeks 5 to 6, the focus intensifies as participants embark on a deep dive into one specific topic area and finally, weeks 7 to 8 are dedicated to project implementation, with participants receiving guidance and support from their mentors as they bring their projects to life.

You can find the application form here. 

Location: Fully Virtual

Dates: Multiple cohorts throughout the year

Cost: $1990

Age requirements: Grade 6 - 8

Deadline: Multiple rolling deadlines for JEP cohorts across the year, you can apply using this application link! If you'd like to take a look at the cohorts + deadlines for 2024, you can refer to this page!

Throughout the process of designing and executing a research project, students will acquire invaluable practical skills. They will have the opportunity to participate in laboratory tours and engage in various STEM activities. By the end of the week, students will showcase their findings to their peers through presentations. Additionally, participants will receive a certificate of completion from Scripps Research, recognizing their successful participation in the program.

To begin the application process for the Junior Scientist Training Program for your middle school child or children, the first step is to create a login using your personal information. After completing the login process, you'll have the opportunity to register your child and any additional middle school children through the provided link.

Location: La Jolla, California

Dates: TBD

Cost: $300

Age requirements: Rising 6-8th graders

Deadline: Rolling, registration ends on May 13th. 

The Lawrence program at UC Berkeley is a unique research opportunity for middle school students to explore the wonders of science firsthand! 

This one-week research program offers immersive experiences, hands-on experiments, and exciting campus tours designed to spark curiosity and ignite a passion for STEM. With engaging lab sessions, interactions with faculty and students, and exposure to diverse STEM career paths, The Lawrence program provides a dynamic learning environment where students can thrive and grow. 

There are four programs available for middle school students. All these programs have a research component in them. 

  • Body Systems and Biomedical Innovations

  • Coding and Engineering Nano-Satellites

  • Solar Energy and Electrical Engineering

  • Designing and Engineering Bridges

Note: Optional Residential Add-on can only be purchased in conjunction with a daytime Teen Research Program offered during the same week. Additionally financial aid is available for this program. 

Find the registration link here. 

Location: UC Berkeley Campus

Dates: Sunday, June 23, at 4:00 p.m. and ends Friday, June 28, at 5:00 p.m.

Cost: NA

Age requirements: Rising 7th-9th graders

Deadline: May 15th, 2024. 

The SONYC program is an innovative platform designed to ignite and enrich students' passion for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Through a dynamic curriculum crafted to delve deep into the realms of engineering, physical and computer sciences, as well as natural phenomena such as waves and sound, SONYC fosters a profound understanding and appreciation for these disciplines.

This program is about active engagement and exploration where students delve into the research work of intricate workings of microcontrollers, sensors, and various hardware components, unravel the mysteries of circuitry, electronics, and coding, and gain invaluable insights into how scientists and engineers apply fundamental principles to tackle real-world challenges.

To apply, submit the online application which includes questions about your personal and academic history and two short essay responses. Find the application link here. 

Note: Students who live in New York City are only eligible. Students should also have a strong academic record and demonstrated interest in science.

Location: New York University

Dates: July 8 - August 4 Orientation: June 28 (via Zoom 1:00 - 4:00 PM ET)

Cost: Full Scholarship

Age requirements: 12- 14 years.

Deadline: April, 14th. 

The School of Sustainable Cities (SoSC) is a three-week education program where students get invaluable opportunities to research about the developments in energy, engineering, computer science, and urban/environmental science.

The program's focus on research extends across various disciplines, from understanding the intricacies of energy systems to analyzing the impact of urbanization on the environment. Students have access to state-of-the-art facilities and resources, enabling them to conduct experiments, gather data, and draw informed conclusions.

Students are encouraged to ask questions, challenge assumptions, and pursue their interests through independent research projects. SoSC also emphasizes the importance of community-engaged research, where students collaborate with local organizations and stakeholders to address pressing issues facing their communities. 

To apply, submit the online application which includes questions about your personal and academic history and two short essay responses.

Location: New York University

Dates: July 8 - August 2 Orientation: June 28 (via Zoom 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM ET)

Cost: Full Scholarship

Age requirements: 12- 14 years.

Deadline: April, 14th. 

NYU's Science and Technology Entry Program (STEP), where students embark on a journey of research and discovery. Led by NYU faculty and students, STEP offers immersive STEM courses, research opportunities, and mentorship, preparing students for academic and career success. Through STEP, students increase their college readiness and diversity in STEM fields, all while fostering a passion for research and innovation.

Students are afforded the chance to engage in STEM research within an NYU facility, where they receive guidance from faculty and researchers. Subsequently, these students showcase their research outcomes at the yearly STEP State Conference held in Albany, NY.

To apply, complete the online application, which requires you to provide basic information about yourself, your academic history, a transcript or report card, and a 500-word essay that describes your interest in STEM. 

Location: New York University

Dates: July 5-August 4

Cost: $350

Age requirements: 6th -8th

Deadline: March 24th. 

Everyday Engineering is  a unique program tailored by Carnegie Mellon University College of Engineering for students in grades 6th through 8th, with a distinct focus on fostering a research-oriented perspective towards engineering. Unlike traditional approaches, this program transcends the boundaries of mere observation by encouraging middle school students to delve deeper into the intricacies of their everyday environments through a research perspective.

Everyday Engineering aims to instill in students a heightened sense of curiosity and a research-driven mindset. Through exploration of recognizable examples, exposure to online exhibits, and interaction with CMU engineering students, participants not only gain insight into various engineering disciplines but also learn to approach everyday phenomena through a rigorous research framework. 

Please find the registration link here. 

Location: Virtual     

Dates: February 24th from 10 a.m. - 12 p.m.

Cost: NA

Age requirements: 6th -8th

Deadline: TBA

North Carolina State University's Summer Ventures in Science and Mathematics is a four-week immersive summer program designed to provide exceptional middle and high school students with advanced learning opportunities in STEM fields.

While primarily targeted at high school students, Summer Ventures also offers research opportunities for outstanding middle school students who demonstrate a strong interest and aptitude in science and mathematics.

The program typically runs for four to five weeks during the summer and takes place on NC State University's campus. Students have the opportunity to work alongside older peers and university professors on research projects in various STEM disciplines, including biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, computer science, and engineering. These projects may involve conducting experiments, analyzing data, and presenting findings, allowing middle schoolers to gain hands-on experience in scientific inquiry and exploration.

Location: North Carolina State University

Dates: TBA

Cost: None

Age requirements: Middle and high school students 

Deadline: TBA

Northwestern University's Center for Talent Development's Summer Camp is an esteemed initiative designed to provide students with immersive research experiences under the guidance of university faculty mentors. 

It engages students in research-oriented learning experiences. Tailored for high-achieving and motivated individuals, these camps offer opportunities to delve into high school, college-level, and pre-professional instruction under the guidance of master teachers and industry leaders.

Participants are exposed to fast-paced, intensive courses that delve into advanced concepts across various disciplines, including math, science, writing, technology, leadership, and service learning. Through rigorous coursework, students are encouraged to grapple with complex problems and develop critical thinking and creative problem-solving skills.

Note: Financial aid is available for the qualified students. 

Location: Northwestern University

Dates: June 23 - July 12, 2024(Other sessions available as well)

Cost: $4650 (Residential camp)

Age requirements: Middle and high school students 

Deadline: June 5th for session 1. 

COSMOS stands as an intensive four-week summer residential Pre-College Program tailored for high school students who showcase a proclivity for academic and professional pursuits within the realm of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subjects.


Catering to motivated and gifted students in grades 8 through 12, COSMOS provides an unparalleled opportunity to collaborate with esteemed faculty, researchers, and scientists within cutting-edge facilities, delving into advanced STEM topics that extend beyond the scope of typical high school courses in California. Through a blend of hands-on activities and laboratory-intensive curricula, COSMOS not only nurtures students' interests and skills but also broadens their awareness of educational and career pathways within STEM fields.

Note: Students apply to ONE of the five University of California’s COSMOS campuses — UC Davis, UC Irvine, UC Los Angeles, UC San Diego, and UC Santa Cruz. Each campus can only accommodate about 160-200 participants. The selection is competitive. 

Location: University of California’s COSMOS campuses

Dates: TBA

Cost: TBA

Age requirements: Middle and high school students 

Deadline: Feb 9th. 

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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