10 Academic Summer Camps for High School Students Interested in Science

Wednesday, December 06, 2023
Summer Camps For High School Students Interested In Science

For high school students interested in science, an academic summer camp can be the perfect way to gain hands-on experience in their chosen field. These programs can be great for a college application, but most importantly, they allow high school students to experience a rigorous and explorative science program before entering college or university.

Those who can experience summer science programs for high school students can also meet other students with similar interests and make connections that could last a lifetime. In many cases, students also meet and work with top university and college professors and researchers.

We've compiled eight of the most prestigious, well-rated science programs for high school students to help you find the right one for you or your child.

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1. Carnegie Mellon University - Summer Academy for Math and Science (SAMS)

This six-week residential summer program provides an opportunity for historically underrepresented minority groups interested in pursuing STEM-related undergraduate majors.

Selected rising seniors and a smaller group of rising juniors can work with each other and Carnegie Mellon's renowned faculty to learn about science and create connections. A combination of traditional classes, hands-on experiments, and college preparation are all available.

SAMS is fully funded and merit-based, so there is no cost to attendees.

2. University of Michigan - Michigan Math and Science Scholars (MMSS)

During this two-week summer program, high school students can engage in hands-on research projects in biology, astronomy, chemistry, computer science, physics, environmental studies, and statistics. This program aims to introduce the next generation of scientists to the newest research and methods to help foster a love of math and science.

Each class is led by University of Michigan faculty and has only about 15 students for an authentic hands-on learning experience.

3. UCLA - Applications of Nanoscience Summer Institute

For students with a background in chemistry, this two-week summer program allows student participants to learn the basics of pursuing a scientific research project through lectures, hands-on experiments, and teamwork on actual scientific research. The goal is to replicate the process of bringing a product to the market.

Over two weeks, students get the rare chance to delve into inquiries that mirror those being studied in the scientific world today. The program marries rigorous scientific methods and practices with engaging business tasks. As the course concludes, students will showcase their acquired expertise by collaborating on a team endeavor. This final project gives them firsthand experience in team-based research and allows them to pitch a business and product idea to tech investors.

4. Columbia University - Online Summer Immersion

These completely online programs are available as one or two-week courses in a wide range of subjects. For students interested in science, these range from Cell and Molecular Biology of Medicine to The Neuroscience of Psychiatric Disorders.

While this program is unique in being online, it still offers access to Columbia's professors, an international community of students, and even extracurricular activities and meetings led by current students.

Students receive a Columbia University Certificate of Completion and an evaluation letter from their instructor at the end of each course.

Students studying online

5. Texas Tech University - Clark Scholars Program

For seven weeks, 12 high school juniors and seniors receive a $750 tax-free stipend and room and board to participate in hands-on practical research with leading researchers and Texas Tech faculty members. They can choose from various academic fields, such as agricultural sciences, animal and food sciences, nutritional sciences, physics, and more.

The program also includes weekly seminars and field trips. Meals, room and board, and all weekend programming are included at no additional cost.

6. Emory University - Pre-College Program

For students looking to experience college before college, this program offers the choice of two, three, four, or six weeks at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Students not only have their choice of how long they attend but also whether they would like credit or no credit and which subjects they study, from biology and chemistry to forensics, medicine, microbiology, and more.

7. Michigan State University - High School Honors Science, Math and Engineering Program (HSHSP)

For ambitious science-minded high school students, this seven-week program offers the chance to tackle projects in areas like biochemistry, plant and soil sciences, genetics, physics, astronomy, and more. Students are paired with a lab mentor at Michigan State and can live on campus at a research-based university. This program is the oldest continuously running program of its kind, beginning in 1958.

HSHSP has alumni who have gone on to attend the most prestigious universities, studied the sciences, and even won awards in their fields.

8. Stanford University - High School Summer Session

For eight weeks, high school students can choose from more than 140 courses during a summer quarter at Stanford to get a taste of college life at a top university while taking classes alongside Stanford students from actual Stanford professors.

Students interested in science can choose from subjects like biology, chemistry, organic chemistry, environmental studies, and more.

9. Stony Brook University - Simons Summer Research Program

The Simmons Summer Research Program, hosted at Stony Brook University, spans seven weeks. Participants will engage in various workshops, tours, and events throughout the program, culminating in the creation of a written research abstract and a research poster. Please note that there are distinct applications for commuter students and those participating remotely.

10. Stanford University - Mathematics Camp

The Stanford University Mathematics Camp, known as SUMaC, is an immersive online program meticulously crafted for high school students with a keen interest in problem-solving. Over the course of three weeks, participants will delve into a comprehensive exploration of mathematics that goes beyond the conventional high school curriculum.

This unique experience not only offers an in-depth understanding of mathematical concepts but also provides an opportunity to establish connections within a community of like-minded individuals who share a passion for mathematics.


These are just some options available for high school students hoping to gain an academic science experience during the summer. You can choose the program best aligned with your goals, location, cost allowance, and scientific passions.