7 Summer STEM Programs for High School Students

Friday, January 22, 2021
Summer Stem Programs For High School Students

If you’re a high school student with a particular affinity for science, technology, engineering, or mathematics, all conveniently encompassed in the term STEM, chances are you would love an opportunity to pursue your interests and talents during the summer, not just during the school year.

You’re in luck; plenty of universities and institutions offer summer STEM programs for high school students to keep learning and growing in their favorite STEM-related fields. And what’s more: these summer STEM programs often include opportunities to take on hands-on projects and meet world renowned leaders in STEM industries. (And they don’t look too bad on a college application, either.)

Below are 7 of the many different STEM programs offered for high school students during the summer, in no particular order. Some are offered in person, while others are online, especially in 2021, as a result of the pandemic. 

Remember to take a detailed look at each program’s cost, requirements, and sign-up deadlines as you decide which one might be right for you.

1. Research Science Institute (RSI)

In this prestigious summer program, 80 high school students who have completed the equivalent of three years of school (usually juniors and seniors) are chosen to participate in a six-week intensive program, free of cost, hosted by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Massachusetts. 

Students in the program complete the entire research process, starting from scratch, by reading current literature in their field, designing a research plan, carrying out that plan, and presenting their findings. 

Moreover, students get the chance to take intensive STEM courses from accomplished professors and receive mentorship throughout their research projects.

The 2021 program will be held either in-person on the MIT campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts, or virtually. The deadline to apply is January 16, 2021.

2. California State Summer School for Mathematics & Science (COSMOS)

COSMOS is an intensive four-week summer residential program for students, grades 8 through 12, interested and talented in STEM. 

The program takes place at four different University of California campuses: UC Davis, UC Irvine, UC San Diego, and UC Santa Cruz. Each campus can accommodate 160 to 200 chosen participants with a 3.5 GPA or higher to explore STEM topics through challenging curricula, hands-on and lab-intensive activities, and mentorship with renowned professors, researchers, and scientists in STEM fields. 

The program tuition adds up to $4,128 for California students and $6,500 for out-of-state students, but financial aid is available for eligible in-state students.

The 2020 program was cancelled due to pandemic-related health and safety concerns, but stay tuned for information regarding the 2021 program and beyond as it becomes available on the program website.  

3. Stony Brook University Garcia Summer Research Program

This intensive seven-week program is offered to gifted high school students who are interested in combining formal instruction with independent research at the Stony Brook University Garcia Center in Stony Brook, New York. 

Students have the opportunity to create and conduct an original research project through the program and continue their work through the Mentor Program, in which they work with a faculty member on scheduled research throughout the year.

The summer program requires a laboratory usage fee of $2500 along with a $50 registration fee. Since they will be working in a lab, students who apply must be at least 16-years old before the date mentioned on the application. They must also have a GPA of 3.8 or higher.

Information for the summer 2021 program is not yet available, but keep checking the program website for updates. 

4. Rosetta Institute of Biomedical Research Molecular Medicine Workshops

High achieving high school and middle school students interested in pursuing a career in medicine or related fields like biomedical research, drug development, pharmacy, or nursing are welcome to apply for advanced classes offered by the Rosetta Institute of Biomedical Research. 

The workshops in molecular medicine, which include engaging lectures and hands-on lab classes, are taught by PhD-level, experienced researchers and instructors.

Tuition for workshops ranges from $325 to $3680, depending on the workshop in question.

Workshops are offered year-round, but during the summer of 2021, there will be several different workshops held at UC Berkeley and UC San Diego, a series of limited-enrollment, lab-intensive workshops held in Alameda, CA, and a variety of summer online workshops.

5. Carnegie Mellon Summer Academy for Math and Science (SAMS)

Carnegie Mellon University’s SAMS program allows students to take part in a rigorous curriculum taught by renowned faculty and staff to develop a deeper understanding of areas like mathematics, biology, and physics through traditional classroom instruction, hands-on projects, and sustained faculty mentor engagement.

Carnegie Mellon encourages students from diverse backgrounds that have been historically underrepresented in science and engineering, ELL students, first generation college students, and students from families with low socioeconomic status to apply. Tuition for admitted students is free, but students are responsible for books, supplies, transportation, and recreational expenses, if applicable.

Due to health and safety concerns regarding Covid-19, the SAMS 2021 curriculum will be a 3-part program launching on July 3, 2021 and extended through December 2021.

6. Ross Mathematics Program

In this six-week program dedicated to mathematical discovery, students ages 15 to 18 attend synchronous lectures on Number Theory and attend small-group meetings each day to discuss problem sets, guided by a Ross counselor. Though the program has historically been held in person, for a while at Ohio State University, the program has moved to an online format.

The cost of the program is $1500, though financial aid is available.

The 2021 Ross Mathematics Program will be held online from Sunday, June 17 through Friday, August 6, 2021. The application window will open January 4, 2021, and admitted students will receive any updated specifics for the online program.

7. MDI Biological Laboratory Summer Research Fellowship

High school students aged 16 or older with an interest in developing scientific research skills must be nominated by a teacher before applying to this highly selective program. 

During the program, accepted  students conduct an independent research project and present their findings at the annual MDI Summer Science Symposium. Students are supervised by a faculty mentor and work alongside undergraduate fellows, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and research assistants to gain an understanding and perspective of scientific career paths.

Other than the cost of travel, laundry, and voluntary recreational activities, this program is cost-free for students who are accepted.

For the summer 2021 program, nominations are due by 11:59 pm EST on January 8, 2021, and applications are due by 11:59 pm EST on February 5, 2021.

Though the program has historically been held at MDI in Bar Harbor, Maine, the summer 2021 program may be moved online if health safety and concerns require that adjustment. If in-person activities are deemed safe, the program will take place from Sunday, June 20 through Saturday, August 7, 2021.