13 Neuroscience Summer Programs for High School Students

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Medical interns

13 Neuroscience Summer Programs for High School Students

Summer programs are a great way for high school students to explore interests and stand out when applying to college. For those fascinated by the human brain, neuroscience summer programs can be especially rewarding. These programs help you learn about the science of the brain, understand complex concepts, and engage in hands-on research that could shape your academic and career future.

Here are 13 neuroscience summer programs perfect for students aiming for their dream college. They offer a chance to learn from experts, work on projects, and meet other students who share your interests. Let’s get started.

1. Neuroscience Research Academy

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

The Neuroscience Research Academy explores the biological foundations of the brain, covering everything from basic cell parts of neurons to understanding how our senses work. It also looks into more complicated things like memory, feelings, and understanding right from wrong.

Taught by faculty from Penn’s Biological Basis of Behavior program, this academy lets students dive deep into the latest research and medical progress in the field. Studying here has given us a lot of important ideas about how the mind works, both when it’s healthy and when it’s not.

Just to let you know, to join the Neuroscience Research Academy, you have to be there in person all the time. There’s no option to attend part-time or online.

a medicine student wearing a blue scrub suit and looking at the camera

2. Sci-MI’s Neuroscience Mentorship Program

  • Location: Online
  • Cost: Free
  • Program Date: Beginning of July to the beginning of August 2024 (exact dates unspecified)
  • Application Deadline: Unspecified
  • Eligibility: High school students

Run by the Science Mentorship Institute, the NMP lets students tackle a personal neuroscience research task. You’ll finish with a presentation and a write-up. The cool thing about this program is it’s all about using open-source resources. That means you’ll learn how to dig deep into your research using free stuff like software, papers, and volunteer mentors. Besides a weekly lecture, you’ll also join a journal club every week. In this club, you pick a research paper to talk about and share with the group.

3. Harvard Summer School’s Secondary School Program

  • Location: Harvard University
  • Cost: $3,900 – $14,250
  • Program Date: From June 22 to August 10, 2024 (depending on the selected session)
  • Application Deadline: April 10, 2024 (late applications)
  • Eligibility: High school students

The Harvard Summer School’s Secondary School Program offers a comprehensive neuroscience summer program that allows high school students to explore the intricacies of the brain and human behavior. You have the option to enroll in the 7-week program, which is flexible in terms of delivery format—you can choose to live on campus, attend online, or commute. 

During this time, you can take two courses, studying subjects like neurobiology, neuroinvesting, and the neuroscience of learning, among others. You’ll be in class for about 2.5 to 3 hours per class day, providing a balance of structured learning and free time for independent study or leisure​​​​​​.

4. Stanford Institutes of Medicine Summer Research Program

  • Location: Stanford University’s Institutes of Medicine
  • Cost: Free
  • Program Date: June 10 – August 1, 2024
  • Application Deadline: February 24, 2024
  • Eligibility: High school juniors and seniors

The Stanford Institutes of Medicine Summer Research Program (SIMR) runs for eight weeks and is designed for high school juniors and seniors interested in biomedical research. It takes place from June 10 to August 1, 2024, offering hands-on research opportunities with mentors at Stanford University’s Institutes of Medicine and selected departments.

When you apply, you can choose from eight research areas, including Immunology, Neurobiology, and Cancer Biology. Alternatively, there’s a bioengineering bootcamp available instead of lab research.

Alongside research, SIMR focuses on skill-building and professional development, covering lab techniques, data analysis, teamwork, and research presentation. Seminars and workshops help explore various career paths in biomedicine.

SIMR prioritizes inclusivity and diversity, welcoming students from all backgrounds to contribute diverse perspectives to the research environment.

5. UCI Brain Camp

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

UCI Brain Camp offers a hands-on summer experience tailored for middle and high school students intrigued by neuroscience. Scheduled from July 29 to August 9, 2024, it spans two weeks, running daily from 9 am to 4 pm. The program immerses participants in neuroscience through lectures, workshops, and lab tours, including dissections and various experiments covering brain structure, senses, memory, and brain-computer interfaces.

Participants will have access to advanced tools like electrophysiology and brain imaging. Workshops on experiment design, data analysis, and science communication provide valuable skills for college and future careers. The second week involves planning and conducting experiments, analyzing data, and presenting findings. Interaction with UCI faculty and students offers a glimpse into college life and neuroscience career pathways.

Group of medical students in college hallway

6. Summer Program In Neuroscience

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

The Boston University Summer Program in Neuroscience (SPIN) spans eight weeks and targets undergraduates interested in neuroscience, biomedical engineering, computer science, and medicine. It blends research, clinical exposure, and lectures to provide a comprehensive understanding of neuroscience. Participants engage in hands-on labs covering brain anatomy, attend small group lectures, and observe neurosurgery and neurological tests.

Beyond brain science and research, SPIN offers support for career development, including guidance on applying to medical and graduate schools and interview preparation. Admission is based on academic performance, recommendation letters, and a personal statement. The program runs from June 3 to July 25, 2024, with a fee of $4,000 excluding accommodation and meals. The application deadline for 2024 is March 18th.

7. The Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience (MPFI) Summer Research Internship

  • Location: Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience
  • Cost: No cost
  • Program Date: June 17 – July 26, 2024
  • Application Deadline: March 4, 2024
  • Eligibility: High school students from Palm Beach or Martin County

The MPFI internship offers a Neuroscience Internship Track featuring an immersive hands-on curriculum. You’ll dedicate 40 hours per week to intensive lab work, delving into topics such as genetic engineering and microscopy. Over six weeks, under the guidance of MPFI mentors, you’ll develop a solid understanding of brain function and gain proficiency in advanced imaging techniques commonly used by neuroscientists.

You’ll receive compensation for your efforts, which you’ll utilize for your final research project. Upon completion of the program, you’ll present your project to fellow researchers. Previous interns have explored projects related to neural circuits, real-time phase extraction, and emerging technologies in neuroscience.

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, running from July 8 to 19, 2024, is a prestigious program designed for high school sophomores and juniors passionate about neuroscience. To apply, you must be entering your junior or senior year and have a background in biology, chemistry, or research. Applications, including grades and two recommendation letters, are due by April 15, 2024. The camp fee is $2,200, and participants must arrange their own housing.

Led by esteemed faculty Dr. Jed Shumsky and Dr. Michael Lane from Drexel University College of Medicine, the program offers a comprehensive exploration of neuroscience topics such as cellular neuroscience, neuropharmacology, and electrophysiology. Participants gain hands-on experience, including recording live brain activity, and conduct a lab project to learn neuroscience techniques and data analysis.

Medical students sitting and talking at the university

9. Johns Hopkins Internship in Brain Sciences (JHIBS)

  • Location: JHU East Baltimore Campus
  • Cost: No specified cost
  • Program Date: June – August 2024
  • Application Deadline: March 1, 2024
  • Eligibility: Juniors or seniors from Baltimore City high schools

JHIBS is an 8-week internship where you get personal guidance, educational help, and career advice in neuroscience and neurobiology. It’s in-person.

The program aims to help high school students from communities that don’t have much representation. They pick six smart students and connect them with mentors from Hopkins faculty. The goal is to train a diverse group of future neuroscience researchers and scientists.

If you’re chosen for the internship, you can shadow Johns Hopkins neurologists at the clinic, attend seminars about the brain, talk about your career plans in weekly sessions, work on your own research projects, and show your work at the end in a presentation.

10. 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, running from July 6 to 26, 2024, offers a comprehensive three-week program to kickstart your journey into neuroscience. Participants engage in an intensive “Introduction to Neuroscience” class covering brain anatomy, physiology, and chemistry.

This hands-on program goes beyond lectures, featuring activities like sheep brain dissections, behavioral tests, microscope usage, and data analysis. Participants learn advanced skills such as small animal brain surgery and have opportunities to visit other labs for diverse neuroscience research experiences. The program concludes with a symposium for sharing work with peers and enthusiasts in the field.

Participants can earn up to six Carleton course credits (equivalent to three-semester credits) by meeting faculty expectations and completing course requirements. Upon completion, participants receive a grade and can request an official academic transcript, making this experience with Carleton’s Summer Carls a valuable opportunity to delve into neuroscience while earning college credits.

A female med student looking into her laptop while 2 more med students are studying at the desks behind her

11. Neuroscience Institute at Emory University

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

The Neuroscience Institute at Emory University, in collaboration with the Yerkes National Primate Research Center, The Marcus Autism Center, and Georgia State University’s Center for Behavioral Neuroscience, offers an exciting eight-week summer program for high school students passionate about science and neuroscience.

The ION program begins with a Meet-the-Mentor Luncheon in the spring, followed by a one-week introduction in early June. During this period, students engage in hands-on activities, discussions, and readings with teachers and peers. They also visit research facilities to observe techniques like PET scanning and electron microscopy. Additionally, Friday Workshops cover scientific communication, ethics, and specialized neuroscience topics.

Following the initial week, students go on a seven-week research project in a lab at one of the partner institutions. The program culminates in a Closing Research Symposium, where participants present their findings in a 10-minute talk attended by family, friends, teachers, and neuroscience enthusiasts, celebrating their accomplishments in the program.

12. Rice Neuroscience Society’s Neurocamp

  • Location: Online and in-person at Rice University
  • Cost: Free
  • Program Date: 2024 dates unspecified
  • Application Deadline: 2024 dates unspecified
  • Eligibility: Greater Houston area students (anyone can apply for the virtual sessions)

Rice University offers a free two-day camp (one day for online) focusing on neuroscience. It’s an excellent opportunity to learn about the subject from all angles. This program has three main parts. First, you’ll learn research skills by doing lab experiments. Then, there are sessions where mentors talk about university life and career paths. Lastly, you’ll dive into advanced topics like computational neuroscience and the philosophy of mind. You don’t need to know anything about neuroscience beforehand!

13. University of Minnesota’s High-School Neuroscience Summer Program for Underrepresented Minorities

  • Location: University of Minnesota
  • Cost: $400 
  • Program Date: 2024 dates unspecified
  • Application Deadline: 2024 dates unspecified
  • Eligibility: Freshmen, sophomores, and juniors from underrepresented groups attending Twin Cities schools

This week-long program, also called “Go4Brains,” packs in short 30-minute lectures, sessions to boost your career skills, hands-on experiments, and trips to research labs. One of the best parts is the mentoring program. They’ll pair you with a faculty member who will help you not just during the program but even afterward. They only take in 10 students per group, so it’s pretty hard to get in. But the upside is that you might actually get to touch a real human brain!

group of medical students sitting and communing at a stair outside of a medical college

Final Thoughts

As you look ahead to your future and think about joining a neuroscience summer program, remember that choosing the right one can make a big difference in your college journey. At AdmissionSight, we’re here to guide you through this decision. 

With years of experience helping students like you reach their dream colleges, we know what makes an application stand out. Our expertise can help you pick the program that best fits your interests and goals, ensuring you get the most out of this exciting opportunity. Let’s work together to make your college dreams a reality.

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