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9 Free Summer Research Programs for High School Students

A summer research program can help you, as a high school student, build your knowledge and skills in a subject you’re passionate about, plan to major in, or pursue as a career. It also offers hands-on experience and early exposure to the challenges and rewards of your chosen field.


These programs can also help enhance your portfolio and college application. Admissions officers value students who go beyond the school curriculum to deepen their knowledge and skills. Through these programs, you can learn in various settings, including universities, hospitals, clinics, and research centers, and interact with industry professionals.


Often, these programs can come with a cost that isn’t always feasible. To help you, we've listed 9 free summer research programs for high school students.


Note: Many of these programs provide stipends as well!

The Lumiere Research Inclusion Foundation stands as a non-profit research program tailored for gifted students from low-income backgrounds. Stemming from the Lumiere Research Scholar Program, renowned for its extensive one-on-one research opportunities for high school students, the foundation provides the same access to independent research experiences at zero cost.


The Lumiere Breakthrough Scholar Program is the equivalent of the Individual Research Scholar Program at Lumiere Education. In our flagship program, we pair talented high-school students with world-class Ph.D. mentors to work 1-on-1 on an independent research project. At the end of the 12-week program, you’ll develop an independent research paper. You can choose topics from subjects such as psychology, physics, economics, data science, computer science, engineering, chemistry, international relations, and more. You can find the application form here.


 This program is a particularly solid option if you are interested in interdisciplinary research and want to create an individual research paper. 


Cost: The program is fully funded!

Location: Remote — you can participate in this program from anywhere in the world!

Application Deadline: There are 4 annual cohorts that run in fall, spring, summer, and winter

Program Dates: Vary based on yearly cohort.

Eligibility:

  • You must be currently enrolled in high school or plan to enroll as a freshman in college in the fall of 2023.

  • Students must demonstrate a high level of academic achievement. (Note. Students have an unweighted GPA of 3.3 out of 4)

  • No previous knowledge of your field of interest is required!


Founded and run by Harvard graduates and alumni, Veritas AI offers virtual programs for high school and middle school students passionate about AI (artificial intelligence), ML (machine learning) and data science.


The AI Scholars program is a virtual 10-week boot camp that introduces high school students to AI & ML through lectures, coding exercises, and hands-on projects. Students will learn to code using Python and the course material will deep dive into neural networks, deep learning, image classification, AI ethics, and more. 


The AI Fellowship with Publication & Showcase program is a 1-on-1 mentorship program where students create unique AI projects under the guidance of PhD mentors. Over 12-15 weeks, you can pick a field of interest at the intersection of AI, ML, or data science to produce an individualized research paper, software/model, app, or presentation. Veritas AI has a publication team available to help students publish their papers in journals. Here are some past projects you can look at! 


Note: 100% aid is offered for this program. 


Location: Virtual. You can attend from anywhere in the world!

Application deadline: The program runs in cohorts throughout the year. Applications for the summer cohort II close on June 23, 2024. You can apply here!

Program Dates: Multiple sessions from July to September. The AI Scholars runs for 10 weeks, and the AI Fellowship program runs for 12-15 weeks.

Eligibility: Applicants can be anywhere in the world.- For the AI Scholars program, no previous experience is required - applicants need to show a keen interest in AI.- For the AI Fellowship program, applicants will either need to complete the AI Scholars program or have had past experience with AI concepts or Python. 


The Heithoff-Brody High School Scholars Program is an 8-week, paid internship designed to help you explore different STEM fields. At the Salk Institute, you'll participate in advanced research projects with scientists, researchers, and scholars. You'll receive mentorship, learn laboratory techniques, and work on research projects, gaining practical lab and research experience. This internship will develop your critical thinking, problem-solving, and communication skills, preparing you for academic and professional STEM careers. An stipend of 17$ per hour is also offered in this program. 


Location: Salk Institute, La Jolla, CA (about 20 minutes from San Diego).

Application Deadline: April 5, 2024. The Application for the next year will open in late 2024 or early 2025.

Program Dates: June 17, 2024 - August 9, 2024 | 30-40 hours per week

Eligibility: Students who are San Diego County residents, have completed their most recent semester of high school at a public or private high school within San Diego County, are at least 16 years old on or before June 26, 2023, have completed at least one year each of high school level chemistry and biology, can apply. Check the page for all the program requirements.


This 5-week virtual research program is designed for high-achieving high school students from underrepresented communities to promote inclusivity in neurological sciences. Participants will conduct research under the mentorship of leading researchers and engage in hands-on projects, discussions, scientific seminars, and weekly development sessions. They will also interact with top neuroscientists at JHU. At the program's conclusion, students will present their research through oral or poster presentations. Learn about past projects here!


Location: Virtaula and in person.

Application Deadline: March 1, every year.

Program Dates: 8 weeks, June 2024 - August 2024 (in-person); 5 weeks, July 2024 - August 2024 (virtual)

Eligibility: 

  • Juniors and seniors from around the country are eligible to apply to the 5-week, virtual program.

  • Juniors and seniors residing in Baltimore City and the metro area, who have a strong passion and interest in science and medicine, are from underrepresented groups, and have an academically strong background are eligible for the in-person program.


Note: This program offers both virtual and in-person options. The in-person program will be held at the Johns Hopkins Department of Neurology on the East Baltimore campus.


The program also offers a stipend: In-person participants receive an hourly stipend (amount varies), while virtual interns receive a stipend of $500.


This is a prestigious internship opportunity for rising high school juniors and seniors with the PHC Group. Interns will get the chance to build leadership skills and pursue independent interests. Students will work on social media and community projects, as well as meaningful marketing research under the direction of the public health director. Interns will contribute to better remote collaboration and relationship building. Typical applicants possess strong technical proficiency in Microsoft Office, are fast learners, and are efficient workers for multiple projects and assignments.


Note: This is a paid internship. Exact amount not available. 


Location: Remote!

Application Deadline: Not specified, but you are urged to apply as soon as possible. Program Dates: Upcoming Summer, exact dates not specified.

Eligibility:  High school juniors and seniors can apply.


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: Need based 100% financial assistance is provided for this program. 

Location: Northwestern University

Application Deadline: June 5th for session 1.

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

Eligibility:  High school Students. 


This internship program is ideal for students interested in renewable energy and energy storage. Available in half-time and quarter-time formats, it accommodates different schedules and commitment levels. Half-time internships, perfect for a more immersive experience, are offered during the summer for 2 to 8 weeks, requiring about 20 hours of work per week. Quarter-time internships are available year-round, lasting 1 to 9 months, with about 8 hours of work per week.


Interns will engage in activities related to renewable energy and energy storage, such as researching emerging technologies, analyzing market trends, and contributing to articles and reports published by EnergyMag. The program often culminates in a substantial research project or a series of smaller projects.


Note: Students can expect a competitive selection process as this program is open to college students as well!


Location: Remote!

Application Deadline: Applications are open all year-round, you can apply here.

Program Dates: Flexible.  During the summer as well.

Eligibility:  Sophomores, juniors and seniors who have taken at least one honors science or honors English class, with a minimum GPA of 3.25, can apply.


This is a prestigious, research-focused apprenticeship program that gives high school students the chance to work in Department of Navy laboratories across the country. With approximately 300 placements across over 38 laboratories nationwide, SEAP is fairly competitive. In this program, you will work with top researchers and engineers at Navy facilities on actual Naval research, while being mentored by expert Navy scientists and engineers. While working on projects hands-on, you will gain valuable knowledge and skills in various STEM disciplines, including engineering, physics, chemistry, and more. Your lab choice is based on your subject of interest. 


Location: Varies based on lab locations.

Application Deadline: Applications open in August and close on November 1 every year. Program Dates: June-August 2024 (8 weeks)

Eligibility:  High school students who are at least 16 years old, have completed Grade 9, and are U.S. citizens can apply.

Stipend: $4,000 (new participants) | $4,500 (returning participants)


The SIMR is an 8-week internship where you collaborate one-on-one with a Stanford graduate student or postdoctoral fellow in hands-on research. You must choose from eight study fields: Immunology, Neurobiology, Cancer Biology, Bioengineering, Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine, Cardiovascular Biology, Bioinformatics, and Genetics and Genomics. Based on your choice, you will be assigned to a lab with a mentor. This competitive program admits about 50 students, with an acceptance rate of less than 3%.


In the first two weeks, you attend morning lectures and spend afternoons in the lab. Most of the program involves full-time lab work. In the final two weeks, you will create a research poster to present to peers, teachers, family, and the Stanford community.

Note: There is a $40 application fee, which can be waived. Stipends of $2500 and above are given on a needs-based system from special grants. 


Location: Stanford University, Stanford, CA.

Application Deadline: February 24, 2024

Program Dates: June 10, 2024 - August 1, 2024

Eligibility: Current juniors or seniors who are at least 16 years of age are eligible.



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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