11 Biology Programs for High School Students

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

teacher explaining to students a cell model

11 Biology Programs for High School Students

Are you a high school student passionate about biology and dreaming of a future in the sciences? If so, you’re in the right place. This blog about the biology programs for high school students is tailored just for you, highlighting 11 exceptional biology programs designed to enhance your knowledge, skills, and college applications. Whether you’re interested in marine biology, genetics, or environmental science, these programs offer you hands-on experience and a deeper understanding of the biological sciences.

Read on to discover how these programs can help you stand out in the competitive world of college admissions and set you on the path to achieving your academic and career goals.

1. Summer Program In The Neuroscience

  • Location: Boston University
  • Cost: $4,000
  • Program Date: June 3–July 25, 2024
  • Application Deadline: March 18, 2024
  • Eligibility: Junior and senior undergraduate students

The Summer Program in Neuroscience (SPIN) at Boston University is an eight-week program designed for undergraduates with an interest in neuroscience, biomedical engineering, computer science, and medicine. SPIN combines research activities with clinical and didactic experiences to provide a comprehensive understanding of neuroscience. Students participate in hands-on neuroanatomy labs, attend small group lectures, and are involved in clinical rotations that include observing neurosurgical procedures and neurological assessments.

Boston University

This program not only enhances understanding of the brain and neuroscience research but also supports career development with sessions on application processes for medical and graduate schools and interview skills. Admission is based on academic performance, letters of recommendation, and a personal statement. The program runs from June 3 to July 25, 2024, with a tuition cost of $4,000, not including room and board. The application deadline for 2024 is March 18th.

2. University of Chicago Research In The Biological Sciences

  • Location: University of Chicago Summer Session Office
  • Cost: $14,000
  • Program Date: June 15–July 13, 2024
  • Application Deadline: January 18, 2024
  • Eligibility: Sophomores and juniors with at least one year of high school biology

The University of Chicago’s Research in the Biological Sciences (RIBS) program is a four-week, intensive summer course designed for high school students. This program is particularly suited for students with a keen interest in molecular, microbiological, and cellular biology. As a participant, you’ll be immersed in a range of laboratory techniques and research methods that are actively used in modern research settings. The course is structured to progress from basic laboratory skills to more advanced applications in areas such as developmental biology and cancer biology.

To be eligible for the RIBS program, you should be a high school sophomore or junior who has completed at least one year of high school biology. The program is rigorous, and a strong academic background in biology, math, and chemistry is expected. The application process involves an online application, submission of academic transcripts, and possibly recommendation letters. The program runs from mid-June to mid-July, and it requires you to live on campus and attend classes in person.

3. Adventures In Veterinary Medicine Program

  • Location: Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, Tufts University
  • Cost: $1500
  • Program Date: July 7–19, 2024 and July 21–August 2, 2024
  • Application Deadline: February 15, 2024
  • Eligibility: Students and those who have recently graduated from college

The Adventures in Veterinary Medicine (AVM) program at Tufts University, offered by the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, is a distinctive career exploration initiative. This is one of the biology programs for high school students that is designed to cater to a diverse audience, including middle school students, high school students, college students, and adults, providing an opportunity for each group to gain insights into the field of veterinary medicine.

A veterinarian cuddling a dog and smiling

During their time at AVM, students are given access to Tufts University’s extensive resources. This includes full access to university facilities such as libraries, computer labs, the student center, and even the Steve Tisch Sports and Fitness Center, which is equipped with various sports and fitness amenities. Health and wellness are a priority, with Tufts ensuring that all medical needs of the students are met, along with having protocols in place for urgent medical situations.

The program also emphasizes safety, with the campus being monitored by Tufts University Police and various security measures in place. For those staying on campus, residential life is an integral part of the experience. Students live in air-conditioned dorms with comprehensive security and support from the residential staff. The program includes a variety of activities and trips, ensuring that while the focus is on learning, there’s also an element of fun and engagement in the summer experience​​​​​.

4. UPenn Biomedical Research Academy

  • Location: Penn’s School of Medicine
  • Cost: $9,700
  • Program Date: July 6–27, 2024
  • Application Deadline: February 15, 2024
  • Eligibility: High school students

The UPenn Biomedical Research Academy is a comprehensive program for high school students interested in exploring the experimental basis of cellular, molecular, and genetic aspects of biology, particularly focusing on their relevance to diseases. Scheduled to run from July 6 to July 27, 2024, this program is designed as a fully residential experience where you’ll be immersed in daily lectures, faculty research talks, laboratory experiments, and small group investigations. The course content includes a wide range of topics such as genome sequencing, CRISPR/Cas-9, vaccines, antibiotic resistance, and bioethics, delivered by scientists, clinicians, and faculty from the Department of Biology and Penn’s School of Medicine.

In the laboratory component, you’ll get to perform experiments using techniques like PCR, gel electrophoresis, restriction analysis, bacterial transformation, and ELISA. You’ll have the opportunity to work on projects such as determining your blood type and investigating gene expression in bacteria. The program also includes journal clubs where you’ll engage in discussions on peer-reviewed research articles, learning how to read, interpret, analyze, and critique primary research under the guidance of Penn researchers or faculty members. This setup not only offers deep insights into the core of biomedical research but also equips you with valuable skills and knowledge for your future academic or professional endeavors in the field of biology​​​​​.

5. The Neuroscience Summer Institute at Carleton

  • Location: Carleton College
  • Cost: $4,500
  • Program Date: July 6–26, 2024
  • Application Deadline: March 11, 2024
  • Eligibility: High school students

The Neuroscience Summer Institute at Carleton, one of the biology programs for high school students, is an engaging three-week program designed to provide a comprehensive introduction to the field of neuroscience. In this program, you will participate in an intensive “Introduction to Neuroscience” course, which will expose you to various aspects of neuroscience, including brain anatomy, physiology, and chemistry.

Entrance sign and Skinner Memorial Chapel on the campus of Carleton College.

The program is not just about lectures; it includes hands-on laboratory activities, such as sheep brain dissection, behavioral testing, microscope work, and data analysis. You’ll even get exposure to advanced techniques like small animal brain surgery. Furthermore, the program includes opportunities to tour other neuroscience labs, allowing you to explore a wide range of research areas in the field. The program culminates with a symposium where you will present your work to peers and the broader community.

As a participant, you will earn up to six Carleton course credits (transferring as three-semester credits) for successfully meeting faculty expectations and completing course requirements. You’ll receive a grade and have the option to request a formal academic transcript to reflect your achievements in the program. This experience at Carleton’s Summer Program, also known as “Summer Carls,” is an excellent way to delve into the fascinating world of neuroscience while earning college credits.

6. Summer Student Program at the Jackson Laboratory

  • Location: The Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Maine, and The Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine in Farmington, Connecticut
  • Cost:  $6,500
  • Program Date: June 1, 2024 – August 10, 2024
  • Application Deadline: January 29, 2024
  • Eligibility: High school and undergraduate students

The Jackson Laboratory Summer Student Program is an immersive ten-week research internship focusing on genetics and genomics. It’s designed for students who want to deeply engage in laboratory research, and it emphasizes not just the discovery and experimentation aspects of the lab but also the communication of knowledge and professional development. The program runs from early June to mid-August each year, offering students a chance to work full-time on their projects under the guidance of seasoned scientists.

The program includes a generous stipend of $6,250, covering room and board and travel expenses. For high school students, you need to have completed the 12th grade, be at least 18 years old, and be a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident. College students should be enrolled full-time and have at least one semester remaining before graduation, along with the same citizenship requirements​​​.

7. Institute On Neuroscience

  • Location: Emory University
  • Cost: $25 application fee
  • Program Date: Exact dates for 2024 have not been specified
  • Application Deadline: Unspecified
  • Eligibility: High school juniors or seniors

The Institute on Neuroscience (ION) at Emory University, one of the biology programs for high school students in the country, in collaboration with the Yerkes National Primate Research Center, The Marcus Autism Center, and Georgia State University’s Center for Behavioral Neuroscience, offers an enriching eight-week summer program for high school students. This program is designed for students who excel in science and have a keen interest in neuroscience research.

a student smiling while holding her phone

It’s important to note that while ION Scholars are expected to provide their own transportation and meals, some reimbursement for transportation expenses may be available. Housing is not arranged for participants from outside Atlanta, and all participants are required to provide up-to-date immunization records and other materials required for employment at their matched research location. The ION program is a paid internship, providing valuable experience and exposure to the field of neuroscience research​​​​​.

8. Neuroscience Camp at Drexel

  • Location: Drexel University
  • Cost: $2,200
  • Program Date: July 8–19, 2024
  • Application Deadline: April 15, 2024
  • Eligibility: High school sophomores and juniors

The Neuroscience Camp at Drexel University, scheduled for July 8–19, 2024, is a highly esteemed program designed for high school sophomores and juniors with a keen interest in neuroscience. To be eligible for this competitive program, you should be a rising junior or senior with a background in biology, chemistry, or research. The application process requires you to submit transcripts and two letters of recommendation, with an application deadline set for April 15, 2024. The cost of the camp is $2,200, and it’s important to note that this is not a residential program, so housing is not provided.

During the camp, you will engage in an intensive study of neuroscience under the guidance of Drexel University College of Medicine’s esteemed faculty members, Dr. Jed Shumsky and Dr. Michael Lane. The curriculum includes a wide range of neuroscience topics, such as cellular neuroscience, neuropharmacology, electrophysiology, and other advanced subjects. Hands-on experiences, like live brain activity recordings, are a core component of the camp. You’ll also have the opportunity to undertake a lab project, encompassing various neuroscience laboratory techniques and data analysis.

9. UCI Brain Camp

  • Location: University of California, Irvine
  • Cost: $2,195
  • Program Date: July 29 – August 9, 2024
  • Application Deadline: Rolling basis
  • Eligibility: 6th to 12th graders

The UCI Brain Camp, one of the biology programs for high school students, is an immersive summer program designed for middle and high school students interested in neuroscience. Scheduled for July 29 to August 9 2024, the camp runs for two weeks and offers full-day activities from 9 am to 4 pm. This program provides a hands-on experience in neuroscience, featuring lectures, seminars, workshops, and laboratory tours. Students will engage in dissections and a variety of experiments, fostering a deeper understanding of neuroscience. Topics covered include brain anatomy, sensation and perception, learning and memory, brain-machine interfaces, and more.

Group of students reviewing

The camp also allows students to work with cutting-edge tools and technologies such as electrophysiology, brain imaging, and optogenetics. Participants will engage in workshops on experimental design, data analysis, and scientific communication, gaining valuable skills for college and future careers. The second week of the camp is particularly engaging, as students design and conduct experiments, analyze data, and present their findings. This interaction with UCI faculty and students offers insights into college life and potential neuroscience careers.

10. Investigative Biology Laboratory Course at Cornell

  • Location: Cornell University
  • Cost: undisclosed
  • Program Date: January 22 – May 7, 2024 & June 24 – August 2, 2024
  • Application Deadline:  May 5, 2024
  • Eligibility: Students with biological sciences majors

The Investigative Biology Laboratory Course (BIOG 1500) at Cornell University offers a comprehensive learning experience for underclassmen, including both first-year and sophomore students. The course is designed to immerse you in the essential aspects of laboratory experience, focusing on the concepts and processes of scientific investigation. It aims to build a strong foundation in biology for both majors and non-majors, promoting skills such as communication, literacy, and collaboration within the scientific community.

To apply, you should start by understanding the course thoroughly and creating an account on the Cornell SCE website. The application involves completing an online form, uploading necessary documents, and paying a non-refundable application fee. Engaging actively with the course community through various platforms is also recommended to enhance your learning experience​.

11. UPenn Summer Neuroscience Research Academy

  • Location: The University of Pennsylvania
  • Cost: $9,700
  • Program Date: July 6–27, 2024
  • Application Deadline: February 15, 2024
  • Eligibility: Students with at least one year of high school biology

The Neuroscience Research Academy is one of the biology programs for high school students that delves into the biological underpinnings of the brain, covering topics ranging from the fundamental cellular aspects of neurons to an exploration of sensory systems. It ultimately delves into more complex cognitive functions like memory, emotions, and moral reasoning.

View of UPenn building

Instructed by faculty from Penn’s Biological Basis of Behavior program, this academy offers students an opportunity to immerse themselves in the forefront of research and medical advancements in the field. This area of study has contributed significant insights into comprehending the mind’s workings in both healthy and diseased states. Please note that participation in the Neuroscience Research Academy requires full-time residential attendance, and there are no options for commuting or online participation.

Final Thoughts

As you look towards your future in the world of biology, remember that the journey is as important as the destination. The 12 biology programs we’ve explored offer you more than just knowledge; they provide a platform for personal and academic growth. By participating in these programs, you’re not just preparing for college; you’re laying the groundwork for a successful and fulfilling career in biology. So, take the next step, choose the program that resonates with you, and start shaping your future today. Your path to a dream college and an exciting career in biology awaits!



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