Summer Research Opportunities

Summer research programs are held for 8 to 10 weeks at colleges, universities, laboratories, hospitals, and institutes across the country and abroad. They are usually intended for students after their sophomore or junior years of college, but there are an increasing number of programs that seek students after their first year. A student’s time at a summer research program is generally devoted to working in small groups with other undergraduate students on original research projects under the direction of a professional researcher.

Summer research programs usually pay each student a stipend of several thousand dollars to participate. In addition, they often cover travel and living expenses for the duration of the program and fund travel to present research at conferences.

Tips on applying to summer research programs

  • Customize your application for each program. Indicate why you are specifically interested in that program.
  • Many programs have special niches. For instance, they want to promote graduate school or they want to introduce laboratory skills to students who do not have much laboratory experience. Make sure your personal statement clearly highlights how you fit in this niche.
  • Each program has different requirements for its participants, so pay close attention to them. For example, some programs expect their participants to have completed certain classes and the majority require U.S. citizenship.
  • Emphasize your potential by mentioning any undergraduate research you have completed and any outstanding projects or term papers you have completed for your classes.
  • Indicate any interest in graduate school that you may have. Note that programs in biological or medical fields generally prefer students who have an interest in graduate school rather than students who are strictly interested in medical school.
  • Ask a professor in your major to read over your application materials.
  • Every application will require recommendation letters. Do not wait until the last minute to request them from your professors!

Links to summer research opportunities on and off campus.