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31 Research Opportunities + Internships for High Schoolers in 2024

What’s Covered:


Research drives innovation across every field of study, from natural sciences to health to history. Pursuing curiosity can impact industries, drive policy, and help us to better understand the world around us. Without curiosity and research, our society would surely stagnate. 


Contrary to popular belief, however, you don’t have to be a seasoned professional to conduct meaningful research. There are plenty of opportunities for high school students to get a head start on their future careers and contribute to substantial change. Keep reading to learn about 30 great opportunities for students looking for early chances to conduct research! 


Research Opportunities and Internships for High School Students 


1. Memorial Sloan Kettering Human Oncology and Pathogenesis Program


Application Deadline: February 9

Location: New York, NY

Duration: Eight weeks (June 27 – August 22)


Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK) is one of the most well-known cancer centers in the world. The Human Oncology and Pathogenesis Program (HOPP) at MSK hosts a Summer Student Program for students to conduct independent research projects while participating in extracurricular activities, training, and other opportunities.  


During the eight-week program, participants work with a mentor who will act as a supervisor to help them develop their research skills. Additionally, students have the opportunity to complete an independent research project that aligns with their mentor’s work. All participants will present their projects at a poster session at the end of the summer.


To participate, you must have completed at least 9th grade by June 2024, be at least 14 years old by June 27, have a 3.5 GPA in science subjects, and submit two letters of recommendation. This is a paid opportunity—participants will receive a stipend. 


2. Rockefeller University Summer Science Research Program 


Application Deadline: January 5 

Location: New York, NY

Duration: Seven weeks (June 24 – August 8) 


The Rockefeller University Summer Science Research Program allows high school students to conduct real, innovative research over seven weeks through the renowned Rockefeller University, under the guidance of leading scientists. 


SSRP scholars will be able to design and conduct their own research project as part of a themed research track, which is modeled after a Rockefeller research topic and/or technique, with the help of scientist mentors from the Rockefeller community. Most of the research will be conducted in the RockEDU Laboratory—a 3,000-square-foot research space specifically dedicated to developing biomedical research skills.


Students must be at least 16 years old by the start of the program to participate.  


3. Lumiere Research Scholar Program


Application Deadline: Varies by cohort. Main summer deadlines are March 15, April 15, and May 15

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

Duration: Options range from 12 weeks to 1 year


Founded by Harvard & Oxford researchers, the Lumiere Research Scholar Program is a rigorous research program tailored for high school students. The program pairs high-school students with PhD mentors to work 1-on-1 on an independent research project. At the end of the 12-week program, you’ll have written an independent research paper! You can choose research topics from subjects such as medicine, computer science, psychology, physics, economics, data science, business, engineering, biology, and international relations.


This program is designed to accommodate your schedule—you can participate in the summer, fall, winter, or spring, and the program is also conducted fully remotely. While you must be currently enrolled in high school and demonstrate high academic achievement (most students have an unweighted GPA of 3.3), no previous knowledge of your field of interest is required. The cost of the program ranges from $2,800 to $8,900, but financial aid is available.


Note that this is a selective program. Last year, over 4000 students applied for 500 spots in the program. You can find more details about the application here.


4. Research Science Institute (RSI)


Application Deadline: December 13 

Location: Cambridge, MA

Duration: Five weeks (June 23 – August 3) 


The prestigious RSI, which takes place at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) annually, brings together 100 of the world’s top high school students. The free program blends on-campus coursework with off-campus science and technology research. 


Participants complete individual research projects while receiving mentorship from experienced scientists and researchers, and present their findings through oral and written reports in a conference-style setting at the end of the program. 


5. NYU Tandon – Applied Research Innovations in Science and Engineering (ARISE)


Application Deadline: March 6

Location: New York, NY

Duration: 10  weeks (June 3 – August 9)


Open to New York City high school students who will complete 10th or 11th grade in June 2024, the ARISE program provides access to college-level workshops and lab research across fields like bio, molecular, and chemical engineering, robotics, computer science, and AI.


Over the course of 10 weeks—four virtual and six in person—participants will receive guidance from graduate or postdoctoral students at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering. 


6. Simons Summer Research Program


Application Deadline: February 7

Location: Stony Brook, NY

Duration: Five weeks (July 1 – August 9) 


During Stony Brook’s Simons Summer Research Program, high school students conduct hands-on research in areas like science, math, and engineering while working with faculty mentors. Simons Fellows have the opportunity to join real research teams and learn about laboratory equipment and techniques. They also attend weekly faculty research talks and participate in special workshops, tours, and events. 


At the closing poster symposium, students will receive a stipend for their participation. To apply, you must be at least 16 years old by the start of the program and currently be in your junior year. 


7. SPARK Summer Mentorship Program


Application Deadline: N/A

Location: Greater Seattle area

Duration: 8-10 weeks 


SPARK is a summer mentorship program that pairs high-achieving and highly motivated high schoolers with industry experts, university professors, and mentors to conduct research on customers and financial markets. The program is only open to U.S. citizens and permanent residents.  


8. MDI Biological Laboratory – Biomedical Bootcamp 2024


Application Deadline: March 18 

Location: Bar Harbor, ME

Duration: One week (July 15 – 19) 


In this bootcamp, students will receive a hands-on introduction to biomedical research at MDI Biological Laboratory. Participants will learn essential scientific skills such as experimental design and hypothesis testing, cutting-edge laboratory techniques, data analysis, bioinformatics, and scientific communication. 


During the program, scientists and bioentrepreneurs at the lab will help participants explore scientific ethics at large, as well as career paths in biomedicine, research, and entrepreneurship in Maine and beyond.


Participants must be at least 16 years old by the start of the program and must be entering their junior or senior year in September 2024, or graduating in June 2024. 


9. Boston University – Research in Science & Engineering (RISE) Internship 


Application Deadline: February 14  

Location: Boston, MA

Duration: Six weeks (June 30 – August 9)  


RISE is a six-week program for rising seniors with an interest in pursuing a major and/or career in STEM. There are a multitude of tracks available, in areas such as astronomy, biology, chemistry, computer science, environmental science, and neuroscience. In each track, students conduct research under the mentorship of Boston University faculty, postdoctoral fellows, or graduate students. They will also attend weekly workshops with their peers. 


10. The Wistar Institute – High School Program in Biomedical Research


Application Deadline: March 31 

Location: Philadelphia, PA

Duration: Four weeks (July 15 – August 8) 


A leading biomedical research organization, The Wistar Institute is an ideal setting for students to learn research skills. Participants will complete their own research project while being trained in a principal investigator’s laboratory. They’ll also attend seminars, receive mentorship, and deliver a final presentation about their work.


Students are expected to participate Monday through Thursday from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. Absences of more than two consecutive days cannot be accommodated. Students will receive a stipend of $1,000 upon completion of the program, to compensate for commuting costs or other personal expenses accrued during the program. 


11. California Academy of Sciences – Careers in Science (CiS) Intern Program


Application Deadline: April 1, 2024

Location: San Francisco, CA

Duration: Multi-year, year-round participation (after school and on weekends)


This long term program gives San Francisco students from communities that are underrepresented in STEM the opportunity to learn about the world of science and sustainability. Students receive mentorship, develop career skills, and more—all while getting paid for their work. Students also attend workshops and conferences throughout the course of the program. 


12. NASA OSTEM Internship


Application Deadline: February 2

Location: Varies

Duration: Varies


NASA offers a variety of internships for high school students across its numerous campuses. Interns gain real-world work experience by working side by side with research scientists and engineers, which will strengthen their resume and help prepare them for their eventual careers. All participants must be at least 16 years old and enrolled in high school full time.


13. New-York Historical Society Student Historian Internship Program


Application Deadline: April 7

Location: New York, NY

Duration: July 9 – August 15


Not all research is conducted in STEM subjects! Developed for students interested in history, the New-York Historical Society’s Student Historian Program gives participants the opportunity to conduct research on a history topic—2024’s theme is Our Composite Nation: Frederick Douglass’ America. During the program, participants will work with historian mentors, visit history archives around New York City, lead gallery tours, and develop their historical thinking, communication, and digital media skills.


Applicants must be entering grades 10, 11, or 12, and live in the New York City metro area. This opportunity is unpaid for most participants, but some interns with demonstrated financial need can potentially receive a stipend.


14. Adler Planetarium Summer High School Internship 


Application Deadline: March 1

Location: Chicago, IL

Duration: Six weeks (July 8 – August 14)


During this summer internship program, students will learn about the Adler Planetarium and the career opportunities within it and planetariums and museums in general, in areas ranging from Visitor Experience and Learning to Research. Students will also get the chance to see how research gets translated into a museum experience. 


15. Zuckerman Institute Brain Research Apprenticeships in New York at Columbia University (BRAINYAC)


Application Deadline: TBA for 2025 program

Location: New York, NY

Duration: Eight weeks  


BRAINYAC participants receive the rare opportunity to work on research in a lab at Columbia University, one of the most prestigious institutions in the world, as high school students, which results in a stronger, more comprehensive understanding of how scientific discovery happens. They connect with real scientists, acquire essential research and laboratory skills, and learn about advances in neuroscience research. 


In order to apply, you must be in 10th or 11th grade and must be nominated by one of the program’s partners—S-PREP, Lang Youth Medical, Double Discovery Center, Columbia Secondary School, or BioBus.  


16. Brookfield Zoo King Conservation Science Scholars Program


Application Deadline: Rolling admission 

Location: Brookfield, IL

Duration: N/A


Interactive workshops, fun activities, research, and community-based projects are at the core of this exciting internship. It’s an excellent opportunity for students who love animals and also want to gain research skills in the domains of zoology, environmental science, and conservation. 


As a King Scholar, you’ll learn about different topics through Foundation Courses, such as Diversity Awareness and Introduction to Conservation, all while networking with others and preparing for college and an eventual career in a related field. After one year of participation, you’ll be invited to apply for scholarships and paid positions at the zoo. 


17. The Science Research Mentoring Program (SRMP) at the American Museum of Natural History 


Application Deadline: March 8

Location: New York, NY

Duration: One year (August to June) 


The American Museum of Natural History is one of the most iconic and fascinating places in New York City. Its Science Research Mentoring Program is an amazing opportunity for NYC high school students to conduct a yearlong research project with Museum scientists. 


Students in SRMP get paid to learn how scientific research is conducted. Depending on their topic of study, students can learn a variety of different research skills, like working with DNA in the lab, analyzing data from space-based telescopes, reading scientific articles, and learning to code and analyze data in Python, R, and other programming languages. 


18. Anson L. Clark Scholars Program


Application Deadline:  February 15

Location: Lubbock, TX

Duration: Seven weeks (June 16 – August 1) 


Through the Anson L. Clark Scholar Program, an intensive seven-week summer research program for twelve highly qualified high school juniors and seniors, students will gain hands-on experience with practical research alongside experienced and knowledgeable faculty at Texas Tech University.


Students can choose to participate in research in one field from a broad variety of options, including cell and molecular biology, chemistry, computer science, economics, engineering, history, and more! 


To apply, students must complete an online application that includes short essays, high school transcripts, test scores (at least a PSAT if no others are available), three recommendations (at least two from teachers), and a list of the student’s top five activities.


19. UChicago Data Science Institute Summer Lab Program 


Application Deadline: January 16 

Location: Chicago, IL

Duration: Eight weeks (June 10 – August 2)


The Data Science Institute Summer Lab Program is an immersive eight-week paid summer research program at the University of Chicago. During the program, high school and undergraduate students are paired with a data science mentor, whose expertise could be in computer science, data science, social science, climate and energy policy, public policy, materials science, biomedical research, or another related field.


Participants will hone their research methodology, research practice, and teamwork skills. No prior research experience is required to apply. All participants will receive access to applied data science research, which they will use to craft a research project. The project findings will be presented in a video that will be shown at an end-of-summer symposium.


20. UT Austin College of Natural Sciences High School Research Academy


Application Deadline: March 24

Location: Austin, TX

Duration: Five weeks (June 10 – July 17) 


Through UT Austin’s HSRA, high school students participate in interdisciplinary research projects being conducted by active College of Natural Sciences laboratories in fields such as biochemistry, biology, environmental science, genetics, neuroscience, genome engineering, data analytics, ecology, and more. 


There is a scholarship fund for underserved groups, so some stipends and free tuition scholarships may be available to students with demonstrated financial need. 


21. Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience – Summer Research Internship


Application Deadline: TBA for 2025 program

Location: Jupiter, FL

Duration: Six weeks (June 17 – July 26) 


The MPFI Summer Research Internship offers rising juniors and seniors an immersive laboratory experience where they can learn from seasoned researchers. The program is designed specifically for students with an interest in brain structure, function and development, and the advanced imaging techniques and technologies used in neuroscience. 


Program participants will participate in research projects alongside MPFI scientists, prepare a written scientific abstract based on their research project, and deliver a short presentation at the end of the summer. Research tracks include neuroscience, scientific computer programming, and mechanical engineering as it relates to neuroscience.


Applicants must be entering their junior or senior years in a Palm Beach or Martin County high school, be residents of one of those two counties, and be at least 16 by the beginning of the internship. Interns will be paid at a rate of $12.50 per hour.


22. Lincoln Park Zoo Malott Family Zoo Intern Program


Application Deadline: March 11 

Location: Chicago, IL

Duration: Seven weeks (June 24 – August 9) 


During this paid seven-week program, high school students learn how to educate others about animal and conservation sciences while crafting digital messages to engage audiences. The program culminates in a final project. Throughout the internship, students meet with researchers and the Animal Care staff to explore careers in the animal science and conservation fields. 


Applicants must be Chicago residents between the ages of 15-18, and must be entering grades 10-12 or their freshman year of college by the start of the internship.


23. The Scripps Research High School Internship Program 


Application Deadline: April 19

Location: La Jolla, CA

Duration: Seven weeks  


The Scripps Research Institute’s La Jolla, California headquarters is proud to offer a seven-week hands-on research experience for San Diego County high schoolers. The program is specially designed to expose students to careers in the biological and chemical sciences, to provide hands-on laboratory experience, and to motivate and prepare students for continuing education in STEM. 


Because Scripps is committed to increasing the number of students from underrepresented communities in STEM college programs, a special emphasis is placed on identifying and recruiting students who are from groups that are historically underrepresented in the sciences. All students will receive a $4,760 stipend.


24. QuarkNet Summer Research Program 


Application Deadline: January 31

Location: DuPage County, IL

Duration: Seven weeks (June 17 – August 2) 


High school sophomores, juniors, and seniors with a strong interest in STEM have a unique opportunity to work with scientists on research projects during this paid seven-week program at the prestigious Fermilab, located just outside of Chicago near Batavia, IL.


Interns are encouraged to indicate areas in which they have a particular interest, although research projects vary yearly based on the work ongoing at the lab. Broadly speaking, Fermilab’s focus is on particle physics.


Required application materials include a questionnaire, a letter of recommendation, and an essay. To apply, students must have U.S. citizenship or permanent resident status and must provide evidence of identity and eligibility to work in the United States. Participants will be paid at a rate of $17.20 per hour.


25. RISE Environmentor Internship


Application Deadline: N/A

Location: Far Rockaway, NY

Duration: Six weeks (July 1 – August 15)


The Environmentor Internship offers a great opportunity for 9th through 11th graders who live or attend school near the Rockaway Peninsula to gain firsthand research experience. Participants are mentored by scientists from local universities and research institutions as they work on projects focused on the Rockaway shoreline. Past research topics have included sea turtle strandings, octopus behavior, mussel denitrification, and dolphin fin morphology.


Students will also take part in water safety courses, receive CPR training, and explore on-water activities like kayaking and surfing. Students receive up to a $1,200 stipend, as well as community service hours for their participation in the program.


26. Stanford Institutes of Medicine Summer Research Program (SIMR)


Application Deadline: February 24

Location: Stanford, CA

Duration: Eight weeks (June 10 – August 1)


Students in this summer program are given the chance to perform research on a medically oriented project and work side by side with Stanford University students, researchers, and faculty. Students can choose from eight areas of research, including topics like immunology, cancer biology, and bioinformatics, which are all designed to increase their interest in the biological sciences and provide a deeper understanding of how scientific research is conducted.


The program is open to current high school juniors and seniors. Students will receive a minimum $500 stipend for their participation in the program.


27. Secondary Student Training Program


Application Deadline: February 16

Location: Iowa City, IA

Duration: June 19 – July 26


High schoolers in grades 10 and 11 can take part in an immersive research experience, which will allow them to explore their interests, enhance their academic skills, and build relationships with their peers during this research-focused summer program.


Participants can choose from a multitude of research areas, ranging from biology to industrial and systems engineering to religious studies. The program culminates with students creating and presenting a poster of their findings. All participants will live on the University of Iowa‘s campus for the duration of the program, and have access to all of the university’s libraries, study areas, and computer facilities.


Although this program is quite expensive, with a fee of $7,500, financial aid is available to cover up to 95% of the cost.


28. Young Scholars Summer STEMM Research Program


Application Deadline: March 24

Location: Urbana, IL

Duration: Six weeks (June 20 – August 2)


This program, offered by the prestigious Grainger College of Engineering at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), allows students to gain hands-on research experience in fields such as cancer immunology, AI, physics, quantum mechanics, and electrical engineering. They will also build valuable general life skills by participating in seminars on topics ranging from the college admission process to how to communicate scientifically.


The program is open to rising 10th through 12th graders from Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Iowa, and Wisconsin.


29. Summer Science Program (SSP)


Application Deadline: February 16

Location: Varies

Duration: Varies depending on location and field of focus


Students in the SSP get the chance to work in small teams on a real research project and gain firsthand experience taking and analyzing data. Research opportunities are offered in three fields—astrophysics, biochemistry, and genomics—and are held at a variety of institutions, including University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Georgetown University, Purdue University, and New Mexico State University.


The program is open to high school juniors, although a small number of exceptional sophomores have attended the program. You must be between 15-19 to participate, and have completed prerequisite coursework, which varies by field. Financial aid is available for this program.


30. The Jackson Laboratory Summer Student Program


Application Deadline: January 29

Location: Bar Harbor, ME, and Farmington, CT

Duration: 10 weeks (June 1 – August 10)


Students immerse themselves in genetics and genomics research while learning about laboratory discovery and scientific communication, as well as building professional skills. Over the course of the 10-week program, students work with a mentor to develop a research project, implement their plan, analyze their data, and report their results.


This prestigious program is competitive. Just 40 students are selected to participate annually. Participants receive a $6,500 stipend and have their room, board, and travel expenses covered.


31. Fred Hutch Summer High School Internship Program


Application Deadline: March 31

Location: Seattle, WA

Duration: Eight weeks (June 24 – August 16) 


This full-time, paid internship opportunity offers students a chance to immerse themselves in activities at the Fred Hutch Cancer Center, one of the top cancer research centers in the world. The program begins with two weeks of laboratory training and is followed by six weeks of mentored activities, research seminars, workshops focused on college and careers, and social activities.


The program is open to high schoolers entering their senior year with a strong interest in science and high academic achievement, and is specifically aimed at students from backgrounds underrepresented in biomedical science. Interns receive a stipend upon successful completion of the program.


How to Find Research Opportunities in High School 


Define Your Area of Interest 


Before you start looking for opportunities, narrow your area of interest a bit, whether it’s cancer, engineering, computer science, neuroscience, or something else entirely. Also bear in mind that while there may be more STEM opportunities available for high school students, research isn’t limited to these fields—research is also a key component of the social sciences, humanities, and other non-STEM fields. 


While you should be somewhat specific about what you’re hoping to research, don’t narrow your scope so much that it’s impossible to find a valuable opportunity, especially since opportunities for high schoolers in general are more limited than they are for students who have completed at least some college.


Talk to People in Your Immediate Circle 


Teachers, neighbors, your family, parents of friends, friends of your parents—any of these people could know about a research opportunity for you, or at least know someone else who does. Throughout your life, you will find that networking is often the key to finding career opportunities. 


Leveraging your network can help you uncover unique opportunities crowdsourced by the people who know you best—the best opportunities aren’t always hosted by large universities or programs. 


Reach Out to Local Institutions and Laboratories 


In addition to networking with your immediate circle, reach out to local facilities, such as labs, hospitals, clinics, and universities that conduct research. Even if opportunities aren’t publicized, these institutions and laboratories may be willing to make room for you. Remember: when pitching your idea, don’t make it too niche—this will make it more difficult to find a fit and market your skills to labs. 


Cast a Wide Net 


Research opportunities are hard to secure, especially when you’re a young student, so you need to be persistent. You may need to write a hundred emails, but if you put in the effort and cast a wide net, you’ll vastly improve your chances of landing a great opportunity. 


Try not to be too picky, either. Of course, you shouldn’t just accept any offer, especially if it doesn’t appeal to you. But even if the opportunity doesn’t align perfectly with your skills and interests, it can still be a great chance to gain experience and make you a better candidate for future experiences.


How Will Doing Research Impact Your College Chances? 


How much participating in research enhances your college admissions profile depends on many factors, including the scope of the project, the prestige of the program or institution, your individual role and performance, the institution’s connections to or sponsorships by certain colleges, and even how much weight a college places on extracurricular activities in general. 


Generally speaking, there are four tiers of extracurricular activities that colleges think about when reviewing applicants’ activities. Selective, competitive, and prestigious activities are often found in the top tiers, Tier 1 and Tier 2. Tier 1 includes things such as being a highly recruited basketball player or an award-winning national science fair competitor. 


Tier 2 is similar, but is usually reserved for activities that are less exceptional than those in Tier 1. Tiers 3 and 4 are reserved for more common extracurricular achievements, such as holding school leadership positions or being a member of a debate team.


Research usually falls into Tier 2, and some particularly prestigious opportunities could even be Tier 1. That’s because it’s somewhat unusual for high school students to conduct research in professional and collegiate settings, so it’s more likely to impress colleges than other kinds of extracurricular activities.


Do you want to find out the impact research and other extracurricular activities might have on your chances of admission to top colleges and universities? Try using CollegeVine’s free chancing calculator


Our tool evaluates your admissions profile, by accounting for factors like your grades,standardized test scores, and extracurriculars (including research!) to show you how you stack up against other applicants and how likely you are to get into hundreds of different colleges and universities. You’ll also receive tips on how to improve your profile and your odds—all for free.


Disclaimer: This post includes content sponsored by Lumiere Education.

Short Bio
A graduate of Northeastern University with a degree in English, Tim Peck currently lives in Concord, New Hampshire, where he balances a freelance writing career with the needs of his two Australian Shepherds to play outside.