If you are a high school student interested in biology, adding an internship to your portfolio would be valuable for college applications. Internships will showcase your ability to apply concepts learned in high school in practical situations, a skill admissions officers value!
In this list, we have curated a list of 15 great biology (and medical) internships that you can consider pursuing. We have covered internships in medical sciences, marine biology, and even conservation sciences!
Each program in this list will allow you to interact with industry leaders, conduct hands-on research or participate in tangible conservation projects nationwide.
Why do a biology internship in high school?
Biology is a diverse subject with multiple career opportunities - from life sciences to conservation sciences. Therefore, an internship can help you narrow future study paths and potential careers.
Moreover, internships allow you to gain real-world experience in your interested field, which supplements your theoretical knowledge! Through interacting with other peers and mentors, you can network with mentors in your industry - allowing you to learn from their expertise and make connections for letters of recommendation or future job prospects.
Lastly, doing an internship while in high school showcases your commitment to your subject since it involves dedicating time outside school. Mentioning this on your resume can help increase your chances of acceptance to your dream school!
Conducted by the National Institute of Health, the HiSTEP program offers internships in the areas of biomedical engineering and healthcare. The program aims to expand the pipeline of students interested in biomedical and healthcare careers by expanding opportunities for high school students.
Spanning over 5 weeks in Bethesda, MD, you'll delve into the scope of the scientific enterprise and the importance of biomedical research and other STEM-M careers. Sessions in the HiSTEP program have previously included the following -
Basic science skills used in laboratory settings through hands-on science experiments.
Current topics in Health Science through case studies and group projects.
Exploring STEM-M careers through learning the roles played by scientists, healthcare workers, and public health experts.
Career readiness and leadership development through improving skills such as self-awareness, assertiveness, and interpersonal/ resiliency skills.
College and career advising through resources that improve understanding of the college application process, aid in scholarship and mentor finding, and help with the transition to college.
Cost: No Cost + stipend ($2150) and Public transport benefits provided
Location: National Institute of Health Campus (Bethesda, MD)
Application Deadline (Summer 2024): 1st February 2024
Program Dates (2023): July 5th - August 3rd.
Selection Rates: Selective
Must be a high school sophomore or junior/ rising sophomore (turn 17 by June 15th, 2023, for Summer 2023 program)
Must be a U.S. citizen or hold permanent resident status.
Maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0 or higher.
Attend a school where 30% or more of the student body participated in the Federal Free/ Reduced Lunch Program.
Have their primary residence in Virginia, Maryland, or Washington, DC (within 40 miles of the main NIH campus in Bethesda, MD).
Ladder Internship is a selective program for high school students to work with startups.
Ladder Startups work in fields including healthcare and medicine, technology, machine learning and A.I., finance, environmental science and sustainability, business and marketing, 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 them 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: April 16 and May 14
Program Dates: 8 weeks, June to August
Selection Rate: Selective
Eligibility: Students who can work 10-20 hours/week for 8-12 weeks. Open to high school students, undergraduates, and gap year students!
Are you seeking an internship opportunity to conduct full-time research in the field of biomedicine? With the HS-SIP program, conducted at NIH facilities, you can carry out cutting-edge research under the guidance and mentorship of world-renowned researchers.
HS-SIP is extremely competitive, with only around 15% of candidates being accepted. The program length is 8 weeks, and offers a stipend of $2080 per month. As part of the internship, you are required to complete an orientation program before starting your research.
Cost: Fully-funded, stipend provided.
Location: NIH campus, as well as labs in Baltimore and Frederick, MD; Research Triangle Park, NC; Hamilton, MT; Framingham, MA; and Phoenix, AZ.
Application Deadline: February 1, 2023
Program Dates: May 18 to August 4, 2023
Eligibility: All high school juniors and seniors who live within 40 miles of the NIH campus on which they will intern can apply.
This highly prestigious program selects 100 students each year from a field of over 2000 applicants. If selected after a rigorous process, you are required to spend 10 weeks as a biomedical intern, and are given a $4,000 stipend.
Alongside attending seminars and laboratory sessions with the staff, students can create their own research biomedical projects under the recognized mentoring of the City of Hope facilitators. The curriculum ends with the completion of a research paper, which is then presented at the end of the program.
Cost: Fully-funded, stipend provided
Location: City of Hope Medical Center
Application Deadline: March 16, 2023
Program Dates: TBA
Eligibility: Students must be 16 years old before their first day on campus and have completed chemistry and biology classes in high school before applying.
This is a highly competitive, 8-week-long summer program for high school students. As a HOPP participant, you will engage in independent research projects under the direct mentorship of a postdoctoral fellow, graduate student, or research technician. At the end of the program, you will be expected to present your research in a poster presentation session. You will also be required to attend tours and training sessions by experts in the field. In order to apply, you must submit your resumé, a copy of the school transcript, as well as 2 letters of recommendation.
Note: You can check out HOPP alumni talk about the program and their takeaways and learnings from it here.
Cost: None, stipend provided after the successful completion of the program
Location: Main Campus of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Manhattan
Application Deadline: February 10, 2023
Program Dates: June 28 to August 23, 2023
Eligibility: Students must be in their sophomore year or higher, and must have a minimum GPA of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale. The program also encourages students from disadvantaged and underprivileged backgrounds to apply.
This summer internship program is hosted by Harvard University’s Medical School for students from underrepresented and/or disadvantaged backgrounds interested in pursuing biomedical careers. The program involves three main components, namely a summer internship, educational opportunities that include placements, mentorship and guidance, seminars, field visits, and skill training. As part of the summer internship, you will be expected to participate in hands-on research under expert guidance and mentorship at the lab(s) at Harvard Med School. The final component of the program is application mentorship, where students are guided through the process of applying to college, and access to alumni networks, as well as career counseling sessions. The program is very prestigious and competitive, since it is fully funded, and provides a host of opportunities to its participants, both during and after the program’s completion.
Cost: None, stipend provided after the successful completion of the program.
Location: Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
Application Deadline: February 13, 2023
Program Dates: Last week of June to August 18, 2023 (8 weeks)
Eligibility: Students who are at least 16 years of age, reside in Boston or Cambridge, Massachusetts, and are from a racial or ethnic background underrepresented in medicine and/or from a disadvantaged background are encouraged to apply.
The Fred Hutch Summer High School Internship is an 8-week-long, full-time internship for rising high school senior students. The program is specifically designed for students from underrepresented communities, who are interested in the field of biomedical science. Along with receiving hands-on training on laboratory safety techniques and skills in the Fred Hutch Training Labs, you will also participate in research education seminars, attend professional development workshops, and receive mentorship from Fred Hutch research groups. The program offers a $1,000 stipend.
Note: You are required to arrange for your own transportation and accommodation for the duration of the program.
Cost: None, stipend provided
Location: Fred Hutch Cancer Center, Seattle
Application Deadline: March 31, 2023
Program Dates: June 26 - August 18, 2023
Eligibility: Rising 12th graders can apply
Internships at the Boyce Thompson Institute (BSI) are done alongside Cornell University and the USDA. This 7-week internship allows you to gain research experience within plant science and computational biology.
As an intern, you will be paired with a research mentor (typically a graduate student of a postdoctoral researcher) and a faculty mentor. You will work alongside your mentors on a predetermined project.
Apart from conducting research, you can join undergraduate researchers for professional development lectures and discussions. Moreover, Boyce Institute organizes local field trips and training sessions as well!
The program culminates in a symposium in August, where you can present your findings through a scientific poster. BSI Internships are an excellent opportunity to conduct research alongside leading researchers and faculty, all while getting opportunities for training!
Cost: No cost; stipend provided ($4,000 for 7 weeks)
Location: Cornell University Campus, Ithaca, New York
Application Deadline (Summer 2023): March 31st, 2023
Program Dates (2023): June 27th - August 11th, 2023
Students must be 16 years or older by the end of June.
Students must currently reside in the Ithaca region.
You cannot be a graduating senior.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) offers federal internships through its Pathways Internship Program. This program provides year-round, paid work experiences for degree-seeking high school students. You will have the choice of working through the summer, fall, spring, or year-round!
Your job role is entirely dependent on the position you apply for; however, you can expect to
Participate in Forest Service functions.
Develop a foundation for more specialized applications of natural sciences and
Receive training in the more functional Biological Sciences or Natural Resource Management areas.
This opportunity will allow you to gain knowledge of real-world applications of biological science and be mentored by industry experts. Moreover, an internship through Pathways could lead to future job opportunities with the USDA!
Cost: No cost; stipend provided.
Location: Varies based on position.
Application Deadline (Summer 2024): January 27th, 2023
Program Dates (2023): Varies based on position; expect it to be during summer.
Selection Rates: Highly selective
Must be 16 years of age and meet education requirements.
Maintain Pathways program eligibility for the duration of the internship.
Must be in good academic standing (Note. While this does differ based on the positions, a minimum GPA of 2.9 is standard)
Must be a U.S. Citizen or National at the time of internship.
Must be enrolled at least half-time in an educational institution and complete at least 640 hours of work experience before graduation.
Note: There are some specialized requirements for the Pathways Internship, which you can find here!
The Hutton Junior Fisheries Biology Program is an 8-week paid summer internship and mentoring program sponsored by the American Fisheries Society. The program stimulates interest in fisheries and aquatic science, especially among underrepresented groups.
As a Hutton Scholar, you will be matched and mentored by a fisheries professional in your local area. You will gain hands-on fisheries science experience in marine or freshwater, conducting laboratory and field research.
You will participate in resource conservation and management projects as a Hutton Scholar. Moreover, you will learn about career opportunities while receiving resources on potential course students. Some of the possible activities include electrofishing, examining specimens, data procession, establishing aquatic vegetation and fish habitats, and more!
An added benefit is an all-expense paid trip to the Hutton Scholars Summit conducted at the University of Arkansas!
Cost: No cost; stipend provided ($3,000 for 8 weeks)
Location: Based on your locality (Hutton aims to match students within a 45-minute commute of your home)
Application Deadline (Summer 2023): February 14th, 2023
Program Dates (2023): June to August (It depends on the Scholar's schedule)
Selection Rates: Selective (For their 2023 cohort, they had a 12% acceptance rate)
Students who live and have residency in the United States, Mexico, and Canada.
All current high school students.
The Student Conservation Association (SCA) provides hands-on environmental conservation programs for youth and adults. Their National Conservation Crews offer high schoolers an opportunity to participate in conservation projects across the country.
In SCA, you will complete trail maintenance and restoration projects (either in national, regional, state, or local parks), learn about local wildlife and help preserve vital habitats, learn practical outdoor skills, and work with other high school students across the country!
National Conservation Crews allows you to network and gain first-hand experience with natural sciences. Moreover, your work will have a tangible effect on the conservation of these habitats! If you are interested in conservation biology (or zoology and herbology), we encourage you to explore SCA as an option as you can interact and explore various fields in biology!
Cost: No cost
Location: Based on allotment by SCA
Application Deadline (Summer 2023): March 3rd, 2023
Program Dates (2023): July 10th - August 16th, 2023 (Note. 2 programs will run between these dates)
Selection Rates: Highly Selective
Between 15-19 years on the start date of the internship.
Is a current high school student (graduating seniors included)
SUNY Oneonta offers 9-week summer research internships for New York State residents. SUNY Oneonta internships are highly selective, with only 1-3 positions available for high school students (with one place awarded to a resident of Otsego County, NY).
In the internship, you will aid faculty and staff at the BFS central lab with their research projects or work on your own research projects. Through the summer, you will experience a mix of fieldwork, laboratory analyses, data analysis, and writing. You can view previous publications here! Previous fieldwork and laboratory analyses experiences include:
Fisheries and plant surveys
Zooplankton ID and
The program concludes with you producing a poster to display your research findings to your mentor, BSF faculty, and other interns!
Cost: No cost; stipend provided
Location: SUNY Oneonta campus, Buffalo, New York
Application Deadline (Summer 2023): March 10th, 2023
Program Dates (2023): Late May through August
Selection Rates: Highly Selective
Open to all high school students.
Must have a solid academic background in environmental or natural sciences.
The Aspirnaut program is an internship offered by the University of Michigan. It is open to all Michigan high schools interested in hands-on research experience in the life sciences.
You will spend 6 weeks on the U-M Ann Arbor campus, working alongside a team of researchers to conduct your own life science project. U-M aims to expand interest in basic science research so students are recruited from select communities across Michigan, including rural and socioeconomically disadvantaged areas.
Through this program, you will be able to contribute to cutting-edge research conducted at a leading university. Moreover, U-M offers professional development and enrichment opportunities alongside networking events through cultural and social activities.
Cost: No cost; stipend provided
Location: University of Michigan Ann Arbor Campus
Application Deadline (Summer 2023): There is no specific date mentioned, however, expect it to be 3-4 months before the start of the program.
Program Dates (2023): June 12th to July 21st, 2023
Selection Rates: Highly selective
Open to rising seniors in the state of Michigan.
Interns must be 16 years of age or older by the start of the program.
The Marine Advanced Technology Education (MATE) Center was established with funding from the National Science Foundation. They aim to use marine technology to inspire and challenge students to apply STEM to real-world problems currently faced in the marine world.
MATE has a variety of internships open for high school students, from helping with turtle conservation to working alongside the Institute of Marine Mammal Studies. Each internship will give you real-world experience in careers in marine science, and you will be able to network with industry experts in various fields.
Note. MATE has a database for internships that include external opportunities!
Cost: No cost
Location: Varies based on position
Application Deadline (Summer 2024): Varies; the standard deadline is April.
Program Dates (2023): Varies based on position
Open to all high school students.
Note: Certain programs have specific eligibility criteria.
Wave Hill (a public horticulture garden and cultural center) conducts a Forest Project to engage New York City youth in ecological restoration and urban ecology. Through the program, interns will form small crews and develop restoration plans for their assigned woodland sites.
In the program, you will be assigned to a team under an experienced crew leader to participate in woodland restoration and research. Previous work conducted by interns includes removing invasive species, shorting up eroded slopes, and documenting the restoration process of disturbed woodland.
Interns also take a college course on restoring New York City’s Natural Areas and work on group projects involving data collection and field research contributing to their coursework. An additional benefit is attending guest lectures to gain exposure to various careers in conservation sciences!
Cost: No cost; stipend provided ($2,275)
Location: New York City
Application Deadline (Summer 2024): The deadline is yet to be specified; however, applications open in January 2024.
Program Dates (2023): July to August.
Must be enrolled in high school at the time of application.
16 years old by July 5th, 2023 (for Summer 2023).
Must be a New York City resident, eligible to work in the US.
Must have the ability to commit to the schedule of July-August, Monday to Friday (9 AM to 5 PM).
Bonus - Lumiere Research Scholar Program
If you are interested in doing university-level research in biology, 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 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.