50 Best Pre-College Summer Science Programs for High School Students

Whether you’re trying to decide if you have enough interest in a particular subject to pursue a major and career, or you’re just trying to gain an edge on your college applications, pre-college summer programs are a great way for high school students to spend their summer.

That’s why we went on a search for the very best science programs available to high schoolers. We searched hundreds of programs, looking for unique opportunities at the most impressive places, and found these: the 50 Best Pre-College Summer Science Programs for High School Students.

Animal Science: Captive Raptor Management at Cornell University


Cornell University

We don’t know of any other pre-college summer program quite like this one. Over the course of three exciting weeks, students in Cornell University’s Captive Raptor Management course will learn everything from the identification and natural history of various birds of prey to basic raptor care, and the best strategies for restoring threatened bird species, among other things. Best of all: plenty of opportunities to work with (and hold!) live raptors.

Where: Cornell University, Ithaca, New York
How Long: Three weeks
Specific Subjects: Animal Science
How Much: $6,120 (includes tuition and room & board)
More Information

Animal Science: Sustainable Animal Husbandry at Cornell University


college farm
Whether you’re considering an education and career in farming or veterinary medicine — or if you just really like animals — Cornell’s Animal Science pre-college summer program in animal husbandry is sure to be a valuable way to spend three weeks. In addition to some lectures and classroom discussion, students will acquire real-life experience by touring a variety of animal farms, practicing animal handling techniques, and learning about the relationships between domestic animals and humans.

Where: Cornell University, Ithaca, New York
How Long: Three weeks
Specific Subjects: Animal Science
How Much: $6,120 (includes tuition and room & board)
More Information

Applications of Nanoscience Program at UCLA

UCLA
There are few additions to a college application more valuable than formal research experience, which students can attain by taking part in UCLA’s Applications of Nanoscience pre-college summer program. Over the course of two weeks, program participants will learn the basics of pursuing a scientific research project. They’ll attend lectures, take part in hands-on experiments, and work on a team project having to do with actual scientific research. By the end of the program, students will have a solid understanding of nanoscience, nanotechnology, and research projects.

Where: University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California
How Long: Two weeks
Specific Subjects: Nanoscience, Nanotechnology
How Much: $3,666 (includes tuition and room & board; discount offered for students entering the UC system the following fall)
More Information

Bioinformatics Inquiry through Sequencing at Tufts University

Tufts
This unique pre-college summer science program provides students with the rare opportunity to learn about the newest developments in next-generation DNA sequencing via hands-on experiments and research. Students are guided and mentored by Tufts faculty and graduate students and are able to participate in nearly every aspect of an active research environment, including preparing a proposal, data analysis, collaboration, and mentoring.

Where: Tufts University, Medford, Massachusetts
How Long: Six weeks
Specific Subjects: Biology
How Much: $2,800 (tuition only)
More Information

Biological Research and the Health Professions at Cornell University


Cornell
From biotechnology to natural healing, there has never been so much happening in the field of biological research as it applies to the health professions. Students participating in Cornell University’s Biological Research and the Health Professions program will spend six intensive weeks exploring different aspects of life as a researcher or doctor. Activities include dissecting a chicken with a world-famous zoologist, learning about non-traditional medical therapies, measuring electrical communication signals in living fish, exploring space research with a physiologist from NASA, talking with a top cancer researcher, and much, much more.

Where: Cornell University, Ithaca, New York
How Long: Six weeks
Specific Subjects: Health Sciences, Biology
How Much: $12,435 (includes tuition and room & board)
More Information

Boston College Experience Honors Program

Boston College

Rising juniors and seniors can spend six weeks of summer taking part in the Boston College Experience Honors program. This comprehensive program allows students to experience life as a college student while taking two undergraduate courses and even earning six college credits. Science-themed courses include Environmental Issues and Resources, and Social Problems, among others.

Where: Boston College, Boston, Massachusetts
How Long: Six weeks
Specific Subjects: Environmental and Earth Science, Sociology
How Much: Biology courses: $8,600 (residential), $7,100 (commuter); All Other Courses: $7,800 (residential), $6,100 (commuter)
More Information

Clark Scholars Program at Texas Tech University

Clark scholars science programs
The Clark Scholars program at Texas Tech University is an intensive seven-week summer research program open to high school juniors and seniors. The program allows students an opportunity for hands-on practical research with leading researchers and members of the Texas Tech faculty. This unique opportunity, which includes weekly seminars and fields trips, also pays students a $750 tax-free stipend and provides room and board.

Where: Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas
How Long: Seven weeks
Specific Subjects: Agricultural Sciences, Animal & Food Sciences, Biology, Chemistry and Biochemistry, Nutritional Sciences, Geosciences, Physics and Biophysics, and more.
How Much: Scholars receive a $750 tax-free stipend
More information

Columbia University Summer Immersion

Columbia University
Competitive students looking to pad their college applications while simultaneously exploring an interesting subject should look no further than Columbia University’s Summer Immersion program. Students can choose from a variety of subject areas in which to spend their three weeks, while also participating in extracurricular activities, and exploring New York City. Students leave the program with evaluation letters from their instructors, as well as a statement of completion from Columbia.

Where: Columbia University, New York, New York
How Long: Three weeks
Specific Subjects: Biology, Health, Physics, Chemistry, Psychology, Astronomy, Neuroscience, Earth Science, and more
How Much: $5,600 (commuter), $10,980 (residential)
More Information

Emory College Pre-College Program

Emory science programs
For those wishing to obtain a little taste of the college experience, there may be no better choice of summer program than the one offered by Emory College. One of the best thing about Emory’s program is the number of choices. How long, credit or no credit, specific subjects — you can choose all of it. For example, students looking for a pre-college summer science program have such class options as Current Concepts in Sports Medicine, Infectious Diseases: Causes and Cures, Introduction to Neuroscience, and Cancer: The Biology Behind the Disease, to name but a few.

Where: Emory College, Atlanta, Georgia
How Long: Two, three, four, or six weeks
Specific Subjects: Biology, Chemistry, Forensics, Medicine, Microbiology, Neurobiology, and more
How Much: $2,789—$7,587, depending upon length of course
More information

Environmental Studies and Sustainability Institute at Washington University in St. Louis

wusl
There are few topics as timely as environmental studies and fewer pre-college summer programs that focus entirely on this subject. One of the best, however, is the Environmental Studies and Sustainability Institute at Washington University in St. Louis. Over the course of the Institute’s two weeks, students will learn about basic ecological principles and discover how environmental studies incorporates concepts from politics, economics, ethics, philosophy, and social sciences. Each day is packed with traditional class time, field trips, guest lectures, and hands-on activities before culminating in a final research project.

Where: Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri
How Long: Two weeks
Specific Subjects: Environmental Studies
How Much: $3,885 (includes tuition, room & board)
More Information

Forensic Science Institute at Georgetown University


Georgetown University
Bring your “CSI” and “Bones” fantasies to life during the Forensic Science Institute, a one-week pre-college summer program hosted by Georgetown University. As part of this exciting week, students will cover topics like blood spatter analysis, gang and terrorism investigations, geographic profiling, and much more through discussions and lectures with actual forensic scientists, visits to places like the Museum of Crime and Punishment, and hands-on activities led by detectives and agents from various government agencies.

Where: Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.
How Long: One week
Specific Subjects: Forensic Science
How Much: $2,895 (includes tuition and room & board)
More Information

Forensic Science Program at Syracuse University

Syracuse
Gaining hands-on experience in forensic science while earning six college credits may sound too good to be true, but that’s exactly what students get in the Forensic Science Program at Syracuse University. Over the course of six weeks and two classes, students become a part of an actual forensic crime scene team that gathers forensic evidence from a simulated crime scene. Class lectures and various guest speakers provide basic background information, while a variety of hands-on lab activities provide an enhanced view of such topics as blood and hair analysis, DNA, forensic psychology, drug chemistry and toxicology, fingerprints, soil comparisons, arson investigations, and so much more.

Where: Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York
How Long: Six weeks
Specific Subjects: Forensic Science
How Much: $9,201 (residential students), $6,633 (commuter students)
More Information

Harvard University Pre-College Program

Harvard University
Imagine getting a taste of both college life and a subject you love at one of the best schools in the world: Harvard University. With Harvard’s Pre-College [summer] Program, you can do just that. This two-week residential program offers students the chance to live on the Harvard campus, take daily classes on a wide variety of fascinating topics, and explore Boston with other bright and ambitious students from around the world. Examples of courses include AIDS, Earthquakes, and Ebola: The Fight to Save the World; Introduction to Astronomy; Introduction to Neuroscience; The Promises of Regenerative Medicine; and dozens more.

Where: Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts
How Long: Two weeks
Specific Subjects: Anthropology and Archaeology, Astronomy, Biology, Physics, Environmental Studies
How Much: $4,500 (includes tuition and room & board)
More Information

Health Science Honors at Tufts University


Tufts University
Tufts University’s Health Science Honors program is a six-week course designed to provide students with an introduction to the philosophy and practice of medicine. This program is not residential, and students meet twice weekly on the Tufts campus for lectures on physiology and anatomy, plus hands-on laboratory activities. Perhaps most exciting are the number of field trips students take to area hospitals, clinics, and medical laboratories for behind-the-scenes looks at everything from medical research to patient cases and treatment.

Where: Tufts University, Medford, Massachusetts
How Long: Six weeks
Specific Subjects: Health Science
How Much: $2,800 (tuition only)
More Information

High School Honors Science, Math, and Engineering Program (HSHSP) at Michigan State

msu summer science programs
Michigan State’s High School Honors Science, Math, and Engineering Program is the oldest continuously running program of its kind in the country. Not surprisingly, it’s gained quite the reputation since it originally began way back in 1958. The program is seven weeks in length and is aimed at those ambitious, science-minded high school students who want to gain more experience conducting research at a top university. Each student will be paired with a lab mentor as they tackle different projects in the areas of biochemistry, plant and soil sciences, genetics, physics, and more.

Where: Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan
How Long: Seven weeks
Specific Subjects: Biochemistry, Astronomy, Genetics, Physics, etc.
How Much: Between $2,000 and $3,000 depending on in-state or out-of-state
More Information

High School Summer College at Stanford University

Stanford science programs
Stanford University, located in the San Francisco Bay Area, invites high school students to choose from more than 140 courses during its summer quarter. This opportunity, called the High School Summer College, is an intensive and selective eight-week program meant to provide high-achieving students with a realistic taste of college at a top university. Not only do participants take the same courses as Stanford undergrads, but they are also able to learn from actual Stanford professors, and are even matriculated as Stanford students. What an opportunity!

Where: Stanford University, Palo Alto, California
How Long: Eight weeks
Specific Subjects: Anthropology, Biology, Environmental Studies, Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, and more
How Much: $13,200 (includes tuition for eight units, room & board, and all fees).
More Information

High School Summer Scholars Program at Washington University in St. Louis

wusl science programs
Washington University in St. Louis’s High School Summer Scholars Program is a prestigious program in which students have the opportunity to study a variety of courses right alongside undergraduate students. During their chosen session (there are three, ranging from five to eight weeks in length), students live on campus in residence halls, participate in specialized seminars and a variety of social events, and are even made part of an academic support group. Course options are extensive, but science-themed courses include Geology of National Parks, Introduction to Psychology, General Chemistry, Introduction to Anatomy and Physiology, and much more.

Where: Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri
How Long: Five to eight weeks per session
Specific Subjects: Anthropology, Biology, Chemistry, Earth and Planetary Science, Physics, Psychology, and more.
How Much: $8,085 (five weeks), $10,585 (eight weeks)
More Information

The July Experience at Davidson College

Davidson College science programs
Davidson College, one of the top liberal arts schools in the country, offers high school students an opportunity to spend most of the month of July on the Davidson campus to experience life as a college student while padding their college application with courses from a school like Davidson. Science-themed classes include Three Pounds, One Quadrillion Synapses: Discovering the Frontiers of Neuroscience; and What is Race/Gender/Sexuality?; among others.

Where: Davidson College, Davidson, North Carolina
How Long: Three weeks
Specific Subjects: Biology, Sociology, and more
How Much: $4,000 (includes tuition and room & board)
More Information

Liberal Arts & Sciences Program at Syracuse University

Syracuse
Syracuse University’s Liberal Arts & Sciences program is especially valuable for those science-minded students who are considering a college career in the well-rounded world of the liberal arts. In this six-week program, students enroll in their choice of two regular undergraduate courses in the subjects of Psychology, Sociology, Philosophy, Math, Earth Science, and Economics. Especially interesting science-themed courses include Stars, Galaxies, and the Universe; Oceanography; and a Forensic Science Lab; among many others.

Where: Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York
How Long: Six weeks
Specific Subjects: Psychology, Sociology, Mathematics, Earth Science, and more
How Much: $8,707 (residential students), $6,139 (commuter students)
More Information

Math and Science Scholars at University of Michigan

math science scholars summer programs
High school students who love research and the sciences will love University of Michigan’s Math and Science Scholars summer science program. The two-week course aims to encourage the next generation of research scientists by assisting them in hands-on research projects. A number of fascinating courses are available in each of the following subjects: anthropology, art, astronomy, biology, chemistry, computer science, mathematics, physics, environmental studies, psychology, and statistics.

Where: University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan
How Long: Two weeks
Specific Subjects: Astronomy, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Environmental Studies
How Much: $1,300 per session for commuter students ; $2,100 per session for residential students
More Information

Medical Immersion at Georgetown University

Georgetown 1 science programs
This three-week program sponsored by Georgetown University’s top-ranked medical school offers students a once-in-a-lifetime taste of life as a first-year medical student. Dozens of topics including neuroscience, pathology, anatomy, immunity, cardiology, and endocrinology are covered, and students have plenty of practical learning opportunities through which to better understand these topics. Activities include patient simulations, dissecting a human cadaver, microscopic examination of prepared slides, and tours of various facilities such as the Georgetown University Medical Center Gross Anatomy Lab.

Where: Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.
How Long: Three weeks
Specific Subjects: Health Sciences
How Much: $6,199 (includes tuition and room & board)
More Information

Medical Institute at Georgetown Institute


Georgetown 2 science programs

This one-week course provides students considering careers in health with “snapshots” of the field of medicine and life in medical school at Georgetown. Lectures and activities cover such topics as anatomy and physiology, microbiology and infectious diseases, surgery, cancer, and biomedical ethics. Students can see these topics come to life with visits to hospitals, labs, and the National Museum of Health.

Where: Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.
How Long: One week
Specific Subjects: Health Sciences
How Much: $2,895 (includes tuition and room & board)
More Information

Medical Youth Science Program at Stanford University

Stanford science programs
The Medical Youth Science Program at Stanford University is a five-week residential program aimed at low-income or minority students from the San Francisco Bay Area. Besides allowing students to see what attending college at a place like Stanford is like, the program introduces science and medicine through interesting faculty lectures, laboratory activities, hands-on medical experiences, and more. College admissions guidance and mentoring are also included.

Where: Stanford University, Palo Alto, California
How Long: Five weeks
Specific Subjects: Science, Medicine
How Much: Tuition-free for all participants
More Information

Michigan Summer Sciences Pre-College Exposure Academy (MHSPEA)

University of Michigan summer science
Motivated sophomores and juniors who are considering medical school will benefit from the Pre-College Exposure Academy that is sponsored by University of Michigan’s Health System’s Office for Health Equity and Inclusion. The two-week program, which is limited to only 50 students, offers participants a unique exposure to various health professions. Students will learn what it takes to be successful in a healthcare career, receive one-on-one mentoring, take tours of medical facilities and the U of M Medical School, and take college prep courses essential to careers in health science.

Where: University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan
How Long: Two weeks
Specific Subjects: Health, Pre-Med
How Much: Free to all participants (including housing)
More Information

Minority Introduction to Science and Engineering (MITES)

MIT science programs
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) wants to see more minority students enter the fields of science and engineering, so each summer it hosts the prestigious Minority Introduction to Engineering and Science (MITES) program. The rigorous six-week program is the perfect intro to these fields, offering students fun, fellowship, a taste of college, and classes on such topics as calculus, biochemistry, and physics, to name but a few.

Where: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts
How Long: Six weeks
Specific Subjects: Biology, chemistry, biochemistry, physics, genomics
How Much: The cost of transportation to and from MIT
More Information

Natural Disasters & Catastrophes Summer Science Program at Boston College

Boston college science programs
While plenty of pre-college summer science programs exist on the topics of environmental and earth science, this program at Boston College is unique in that it focuses solely on natural disasters and catastrophes. Students will look at disasters like volcanoes, earthquakes, floods, tsunami, landslides, hurricanes, meteorite impact, pandemic disease, and more from a scientific perspective in order to understand all the factors that come into play during these world-changing phenomena.

Where: Boston College, Boston, Massachusetts
How Long: Three weeks
Specific Subjects: Environmental Science
How Much: $3,300 (residential), $2,300 (commuter)
More Information

Perimeter Institute’s International Summer School for Young Physicists (ISSYP)


perimeter institute science programs

Budding Einsteins and would-be Dr. Sheldon Coopers will find both valuable instruction and inspiration at the Perimeter Institute’s International Summer School for Young Physicists. Students will hear from some of Perimeter’s top researchers on such timely topics as superstring theory, quantum computing, and dark matter before taking part in hands-on labs and mini-courses. Participants will even have the chance to tour various research facilities and work with leading international theoretical physicists.

Where: Perimeter Institute, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
How Long: Two weeks
Specific Subjects: Physics
How Much: $500 CDN (includes tuition, room & board, and activities)
More Information

Pre-Medical Institute at Washington University in St. Louis

wusl science programs
Students intent on attending medical school will love this three-week Pre-Medical Institute at Washington University in St. Louis. The program is designed to build off students’ already strong foundation in the sciences, and exposes them to such medical topics as forensic psychology, nutrition, trauma surgery, pediatric medicine, emergency medicine, and physical and occupational therapy, among others.

Where: Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri
How Long: Three weeks
Specific Subjects: Pre-Med
How Much: $5,585 (includes tuition, room & board)
More Information

Program in Mathematics for Young Scientists

Boston University science programs
Mathematics is an integral part of science, and Boston University’s Program in Mathematics for Young Scientists is the perfect summer program for aspiring and motivated students to hone their math skills. They’ll team up with other students, research mathematicians, counselors, and visiting scientists for a typical day of number theory lectures, seminars, independent and group work and research, hands-on experiments, and plenty of fun activities.

Where: Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts
How Long: Six weeks
Specific Subjects: Mathematics
How Much: $6,600 including room and board (though thanks for the support of sponsors, last year’s students were asked to only pay $4,200)
More information

Research Apprenticeship in Biological Sciences (RABS) at Cornell University

Cornell University
While dozens of great programs exist for those students looking for an introduction or intermediate-level course in biology, not very many exist for those who are serious and ambitious when it comes to research science. Enter: the Research Apprenticeship in Biological Sciences at Cornell University. Known as RABS, this unique program allows serious, research-oriented students to work with some of Cornell’s leading professors and post-doctoral fellows on an investigative project. The program is intensive, as students may often spend 40 or more hours per week on a research team. At the end of the six-week course, students prepare both an oral presentation and a written report suitable for publication.


Where: Cornell University, Ithaca, New York
How Long: Six weeks
Specific Subjects: Biology
How Much: $12,435 (includes tuition and room & board)
More Information

Research Experience for High School Students (REHSS) at Vanderbilt University

Vanderbilt University science programs
Vanderbilt University is one of the most prestigious research universities in the country, and come summer, high school students can join the fun with the Research Experience for High School Students (REHSS) pre-college program. This intense six-week program immerses students into the life of a research lab. Though students attend weekly breakout sessions with faculty or graduate students, most of the time is spent working on an independent research project under the mentorship of a Vanderbilt faculty member.

Where: Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee
How Long: Six weeks
Specific Subjects: Varies
How Much: $1,500 (includes tuition only)
More Information

Research in the Biological Sciences (RIBS) at University of Chicago

University of Chicago science programs
University of Chicago’s Research in the Biological Sciences is an intensive four-week pre-college summer program designed to introduce students to a variety of research techniques in the fields of molecular biology, microbiology, and cellular biology. The whole program revolves around lab time and projects, though some lectures are included in the curriculum to provide background and introduce exciting new concepts. Each course ends with the students presenting results of their independent project.

Where: University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois
How Long: Four weeks
Specific Subjects: Biology
How Much: $7,940 (includes tuition for two courses, room & board, Student Life Fee)
More Information

Research in Science & Engineering (RISE) at Boston University

RISE Boston science programs
Some of the brightest minds in science teach at Boston University, making the university’s Research in Science & Engineering program a top choice for ambitious students looking for just the right summer science program. Over the course of six weeks, students can take part in either an internship (tackling research projects under the mentorship of a BU faculty member) or a practicum (conducting group research under the guidance of a BU instructor). With either choice, students can be sure they are participating in one of the best summer science programs available for high school students.

Where: Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts
How Long: Six Weeks
Specific Subjects: Research science, Engineering
How Much: $7,500 including application fee and room & board
More Information

Research Science Institute (RSI) at MIT


MIT summer science

It’s not often high school students get to experience the entire research cycle from start to finish. But that’s exactly what participants do during the five-week Research Science Institute that is sponsored by the Center for Excellence in Education and held each year at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). In addition to hands-on research with accomplished professors, students will read up on the most current literature in their field, draft detailed research plans, and deliver a conference-style oral report.

Where: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts
How Long: Five weeks
Specific Subjects: All research topics
How Much: No tuition
More Information

Research Scholar Program for High School Students at Stony Brook University

stony brook uni science programs

The Garcia Center at Stony Brook University in New York hosts an intensive seven-week pre-college summer program that combines formal instruction with independent research opportunities. Students design an original research project, then work closely with Garcia Center faculty and staff who provide necessary guidance and mentorship. Unlike most programs, which end after a certain amount of time, this unique program encourages its students to continue work on their projects even after the official end of the summer program by entering their research projects in national competitions, writing and publishing about their work, and even seeking patents.

Where: Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, New York
How Long: Seven weeks
Specific Subjects: Various
How Much: $1,600 (includes lab usage fee only)
More Information

Monell Science Apprenticeship Program

Monell Center science programsThis unique opportunity offered by the Monell Center is actually an internship. Available to both high school students and undergrads, the program pairs participants up with full-time researchers to offer the extraordinary opportunity to take part in hands-on research training, learn to communicate in a professional scientific environment, and — of course — to increase appreciation of the chemical senses — all while earning a weekly salary. Past interns have taken part in research on cloning olfactory receptors, investigating flavor preferences of infants, and studying air quality, to name a few.

Where: Monell Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
How Long: Seven weeks
Specific Subjects: Varies
How Much: This internship provides an hourly wage, however interns are responsible for their own room and board
More Information

STEM II at Brown University


brown science programs
Science-minded students are invited to “define, investigate, excel” in this rigorous two-week program designed as an opportunity for students to immerse themselves in a challenging and structured college environment. Students participate in a variety of hands-on activities, includes structured STEM experiences, and take on a project that they’ll present to their instructors, peers, and family. Specific science-themed classes include DNA Science and Biotechnology, Unravel the Mysteries of Human Diseases in a Worm!, The Secret Lives of Animals: A View into their Brains and Behaviors, and Introduction to Neuroscience, among others.

Where: Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island
How Long: Two weeks
Specific Subjects: Anthropology & Sociology, Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Studies, Medical & Health Studies, Neuroscience, Physics, Physical Science, Psychology
How Much: $4,196 (including tuition, room & board, course materials)
More Information

Stones and Bones Paleontology Program at University of Chicago


stones and bones science program
Experience in paleontology as a high school student is not an opportunity that presents itself every day, especially when it’s through a university as widely respected as the University of Chicago. But actual hands-on experience with “stones and bones” is exactly what students will get over the course of this unique, but totally intense, four-week program. The program begins in the labs of Chicago’s Field Museum, where students will learn how fossils are collected and analyzed. Students will learn such important concepts as evolutionary biology, fossil preparation, fossil description, and proper illustration, before heading to Wyoming to take part in the ongoing Field Museum expedition at the Green River Formation.

Where: University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois and Wyoming
How Long: Four weeks
Specific Subjects: Paleontology
How Much: $7,595 (includes tuition for two courses, room & board, Student Life Fee, and transportation between Chicago and Wyoming)
More Information

[email protected]

brown university science programs
The [email protected] pre-college summer program is a unique opportunity for students to experience life on an Ivy League campus while immersing themselves in subjects they love — all without the stress of grades and credits. Students participating in the program will live on campus, take part in a full calendar of campus events and activities, and choose from more than 200 non-credit courses. Examples of science-themed courses available include Live Like it’s 3000 BC: Introduction to Experimental Archaeology; Understanding Illness: Ethnography, Narrative, and Graphic Medicine; and Introduction to Medicine: Do You Want to Be a Doctor?, among many others.

Where: Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island
How Long: One to four weeks
Specific Subjects: Anthropology & Sociology, Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Studies, Medical & Health Studies, Neuroscience, Physics & Physical Sciences, Psychology
How Much: $2,596 to $4,299 per course, depending upon length of courses and housing needs
More Information

Summer Academies at Penn

penn science programs
Summer Academies at Penn are intensive, three-week programs that combine hands-on application with scientific theory. Students participating in these Summer Academies can choose from a variety of science-themed research programs, then spend the summer using Penn’s cutting-edge technology, participating in innovative lab experiences, and learning from some of the best Ivy League professors and researchers in the country.

Where: University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
How Long: Three weeks
Specific Subjects: Biomedical, Chemistry, Experimental Physics, Mathematics, Neuroscience, Social Justice
How Much: $8,399 (residential tuition), $7,299 (day student)
More Information

Summer Academy for Mathematics & Sciences at Carnegie Mellon


Carnegie Mellon offers a top-ranked Summer Academy for Mathematics & Science. The six-week program is specifically designed for those students who are come from backgrounds underrepresented in the fields of natural science (ethnic minority students, students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds, first-generation college students, etc.). Classes on mathematics, physics, computer science, and SAT preparation are all offered, and are taught by Carnegie Mellon instructors.

Where: Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
How Long: Six weeks
Specific Subjects: Mathematics, Physics, Computer Science
How Much: No tuition, though students spend an average of $200 on personal and recreational activities
More information

Summer in the City at Barnard College

barnard college science programs

Barnard College, a women’s liberal arts school, gives female high school students the unique opportunity to spend four weeks taking college-level courses while experiencing what it’s like to live in a place as vibrant and active as New York City. Students choose two four-day-a-week classes from a long list of options that include The Exploration of Space, Introduction to Neuroscience, Psych 101, and many more.

Where: Barnard College, New York, New York
How Long: Four weeks
Specific Subjects: Astronomy, Environmental Science, Neuroscience, Psychology, STEM, Technology
How Much: $7,500 (residential), $4,500 (Commuter)
More Information

Summer Internship in Biomedical Research (SIP)

Summer Internship in Biomedical Research science programs
The chance to work side-by-side some of the world’s leading scientists isn’t an opportunity that comes along every day, but that’s exactly what students will experience by participating in the National Institute of Health’s Summer Internship in Biomedical Research. Internships usually begin in May or June and last a minimum of eight weeks. The opportunities vary widely and include a hands-on introduction to scientific training, independent research and career instruction, and an advance research program during which students work in a research group.

Where: Maryland, North Carolina, Montana, Massachusetts, Arizona, and Michigan
How Long: Minimum of eight weeks
Specific Subjects: Varies
How Much: Stipends are provided, but participants are responsible for their own room and board
More information

Summer Science Institute at Carleton College


carleton college science programs
Students participating in Carleton College’s Summer Science Institute don’t just learn about science, they “do science!” The three-week program, which is led by Carleton faculty members and students, includes a fun and informative hands-on component during which students design a collaborative research project, gather data, run experiments, and then present at the Institute’s final research symposium.

Where: Carleton College, Northfield, Minnesota
How Long: Three weeks
Specific Subjects: Science
How Much: $3,895 (includes tuition, all materials, room & board, activities and excursions)
More Information

Summer Science Program Experience


uc boulder science programs
This prestigious pre-college summer science program (co-sponsored by MIT, University of Colorado Boulder (pictured), Caltech, and New Mexico Institute of Technology) provides students with the opportunity to immerse themselves in a central research project in either astrophysics or biochemistry. In the astrophysics program, teams observe various astronomical patterns to determine the orbit of a near-earth asteroid, while in the biochemistry program, teams design a small molecule that can inhibit an enzyme from a fungal crop pathogen.

Where: Colorado, New Mexico, or Indiana
How Long: Six weeks
Specific Subjects: Astrophysics, Biochemistry
How Much: $5,450 (includes tuition, transportation to the program, room & board, and supplies)
More Information

Summer Scholars Program

notre dame science programs
Those looking to experience life at a prestigious university like Notre Dame can look no further than the Summer Scholars program. Scholars choose from a lengthy list of interesting programs of study, then enjoy two intense weeks of coursework — though plenty of free time is also included so as to experience what life is really like on a college campus. Some examples of programs from which participants can choose include Archaeology: Exploring the Foundations of Notre Dame, Astronomy: Investigating Our Universe, Life Sciences, and so much more.

Where: University of Notre Dame, South Bend, Indiana
How Long: Two weeks
Specific Subjects: Archaeology, Astronomy, Global Health, Life Sciences, Psychology
How Much: $3,400 (includes tuition and housing). Some programs also require a lab fee of $150.
More information

UChicago Immersion


university of chicago science programs
The University of Chicago has been called one of the top ten universities in the world, so you can be sure their pre-college summer programs are some of the best available. In UChicago Immersion, students dive into life on the Chicago campus. They take an actual undergraduate-level course, receive personalized attention from faculty members, and participate in labs and other hands-on activities. Course options include Biotechnology for the 21st Century, Contagion: Infectious Agents and Emerging Diseases, and The Physics of Stars, among others.

Where: University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois
How Long: Three weeks per session
Specific Subjects: Biotechnology, Psychology, Contagious Diseases, Neuroscience, Biological Sciences, Physics
How Much: $6,275 (includes tuition for one course, room & board, Student Life Fee)
More Information

Vanderbilt Summer Academy

vanderbilt science programs
Gifted and high-achieving students (generally those who typically score at the 95th percentile and above) are invited to participate in Vanderbilt University’s prestigious Summer Academy. This unique experience allows students to get a taste of real college life by living on campus, taking accelerated courses with Vandy professors, attending social activities, and of course, completing college-level homework assignments. Science-themed courses include Alzheimer’s Treatment & Research, Bioarchaeology: Research & Implications, Addiction in the Modern Age, Microscopy of Nanomaterials, and more.

Where: Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee
How Long: Three weeks
Specific Subjects: Varies
How Much: $3,575 (includes tuition, room & board, activities, and materials)
More Information

Veterinary Medicine Programs


cornell science programs

Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, which is consistently ranked as the number one veterinary school in the nation, offers three pre-college summer programs in veterinary medicine: Conservation Medicine, Small Animal Practice, and Equine Practice. Each program is three weeks long and includes an intensive mix of lectures and demonstrations, hands-on activities, and mentorship with top veterinarians and professors.

Where: Cornell University, Ithaca, New York
How Long: Six weeks
Specific Subjects: Animal Science, Veterinary Medicine
How Much: $6,120 (includes tuition and room & board)
More Information

Yale Young Global Scholars

yale science programs
Yale University is repeatedly ranked as the best university in the United States, so it should come as no surprise that it is also home to one of the most respected (and therefore selective) pre-college summer programs. Yale’s Young Global Scholars program offers a number of session options for those interested in science, including Frontiers of Math & Science, Applied Science & Engineering, and Biological & Biomedical Science. Each session is 1-2 weeks long and includes courses and lectures with top-notch faculty members, plus plenty of opportunity for hands-on activity.

Where: Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut
How Long: 1-2 weeks
Specific Subjects: Applied Sciences, Engineering, Biology
How Much: $5,800 (includes tuition, housing, and three meals per day)
More information

Related Rankings