20 Engineering Programs for High School Students

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

an civil engineering student

20 Engineering Programs for High School Students

​​Engineering shapes the world we live in, from the smartphones in our pockets to the bridges we cross. For high school students, engaging in engineering programs can be a transformative experience. These programs not only deepen your understanding of how things work but also equip you with critical thinking and problem-solving skills essential for future success.

As you explore the vast field of engineering, you uncover a world of innovation and creativity, opening doors to numerous collegiate and career opportunities. Whether you dream of building sustainable cities, developing cutting-edge technologies, or solving complex global challenges, starting your journey in high school puts you on the path to making these dreams a reality.

1. Boston University Summer Preview

  • Location: Boston University
  • Cost: $1,995
  • Program Date: July 21 – July 26, 2024
  • Application Deadline: Rolling basis
  • Eligibility: Rising freshman and sophomore high school students

The Boston University Summer Preview program is a unique opportunity for you if you’re entering 8th, 9th, or 10th grade in the fall of 2024. This one-week, non-credit program, scheduled from July 21 to July 26, 2024, allows you to delve into exciting academic subjects while getting a taste of college life. 

In addition to the academic components, the Summer Preview program offers a range of social activities to help you get acquainted with Boston University and the city of Boston. Whether you opt to be a commuter or a residential student (note that residential students must be at least 14 years old by the start of the program), you’ll have the chance to engage in various group activities and workshops, including one on college admissions. 

This can be particularly beneficial as you prepare for your future college applications. The program doesn’t offer college credit but you will receive a certificate of completion and a letter of evaluation from your instructor. Keep in mind, however, that there is no financial aid available for this program, and the cost for participation is $1,896, with a student contribution of $99​​​​​​​​​​​​.

2. Engineering Summer Academy at Penn

  • Location: University of Pennsylvania
  • Cost: $7700
  • Program Date: July 7 – July 27, 2024
  • Application Deadline: April 5, 2024
  • Eligibility: Students 15 years old and above

The Engineering Summer Academy at Penn (ESAP) offers a dynamic and immersive experience for high school students interested in engineering. Set in the heart of Philadelphia, this program runs from July 7th to July 27th, 2024, and is hosted at Penn’s historic and vibrant urban campus, providing students with a taste of college life in an Ivy League setting.

ESAP is designed for highly motivated students, aiming to give them a hands-on experience in various engineering fields. To be eligible for ESAP, students must have completed at least their freshman year of high school and be at least 15 years old by the start of the program. A strong academic record, especially in math and science, is essential. For international students, proficiency in English is required, demonstrated through TOEFL scores or a letter from their school. The application process includes submitting an online application, high school transcripts, two letters of recommendation, and an application fee.

3. Engineering Summer Academy at the University of Arkansas

  • Location: University of Arkansas
  • Cost: $675
  • Program Date: June 23 – June 29, 2024
  • Application Deadline: Unspecified
  • Eligibility: High school students

The Engineering Summer Academy at the University of Arkansas offers you a one-week residential experience if you’ve recently completed 9th, 10th, or 11th grade. Scheduled for June 23-29, 2024, the program immerses you in interdisciplinary engineering concepts through various hands-on activities in state-of-the-art labs. You’ll have the opportunity to work closely with engineering faculty and current students, a setup that is both engaging and educational.

The program is divided into several tracks, including Chemical Engineering, Living Systems, Design of Non-Living Systems, and Structure and Function. Each track allows you to explore different aspects of engineering through practical projects and challenges. For instance, in the Chemical Engineering track, you’ll delve into global challenges like sustainability and alternative energy, while in the Design of Non-Living Systems track, you’ll learn about the application of engineering concepts across fields like Industrial, Mechanical, Electrical, and Civil Engineering.

4. Minority Introduction To Engineering & Science

  • Location: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Cost: Free
  • Program Date: Unspecified
  • Application Deadline: February 1, 2024
  • Eligibility: 11th graders

The Minority Introduction to Engineering and Science (MITES) at MIT is a highly prestigious and transformative six-week residential program designed for rising high school seniors, particularly those from underrepresented or underserved backgrounds. The program, which takes place on the MIT campus, immerses you in a challenging and rewarding academic environment. You will engage in rigorous coursework in math, physics, life sciences, engineering, and humanities, mirroring the experience of MIT undergraduates. This intensive program is designed not just to deepen your knowledge in these fields but also to expose you to the real-world applications of STEM disciplines, including Machine Learning, Architecture, and Genomics.

Beyond the academic rigor, MITES is an opportunity for personal growth and networking. You will form lasting friendships with like-minded peers and participate in various activities like lab tours, social events, and college admissions counseling. The program is aimed at developing your academic and personal skills, preparing you for success in college and future STEM careers. The curriculum is designed to provide you with a broader perspective on the impact of STEM on society and empower you to use your knowledge for global betterment. 

5. Smith Summer Science And Engineering Program

  • Location: Smith College
  • Cost: $4,745 – $8,082
  • Program Date: July 6 – July 19, 2024 & July 21 – August 3, 2024
  • Application Deadline: May 15, 2024
  • Eligibility: Students entering 9th-12th grade in the fall of 2024

The Smith Summer Science and Engineering Program (SSEP) at Smith College is a prestigious, four-week residential program designed for high school students, specifically young women, with a strong interest in science, engineering, and medicine. Scheduled to take place in July, the program annually hosts over 100 students from across the country and abroad, offering an enriching experience that combines hands-on research with learning. You’ll have the unique opportunity to work directly with the Smith faculty on projects in life and physical sciences and engineering. 

This program, which began in 1990, has since welcomed nearly 1,800 students from 46 states and 53 countries, helping participants to return to high school better prepared for advanced science courses and with a clearer understanding of what to expect in college. Admission to the SSEP is selective, with the program looking for students who show strong academic performance, motivation, and a willingness to explore. The application process includes submitting academic transcripts, a personal statement, and a teacher recommendation. Financial aid is available for those who demonstrate need, ensuring the program is accessible to a diverse group of students.

science, technology, engineering, mathematics education

6. Research Internship Program In Science And Engineering

  • Location: Boston University
  • Cost: $5,570 – $8,558
  • Program Date: June 30 – August 9, 2024
  • Application Deadline: February 14, 2024
  • Eligibility: Junior high school students

The Research Internship Program in Science and Engineering (RISE) at Boston University is an exceptional opportunity for high school students entering their senior year to delve into the world of scientific research. Scheduled from June 30 to August 9, 2024, the program invites you to spend six weeks conducting university laboratory research under the mentorship of distinguished faculty, post-doctoral fellows, and graduate students. RISE provides two distinct tracks: the Internship and the Practicum.

In the Internship track, you will engage in hands-on research projects across a wide range of fields, including astronomy, biology, biomedical engineering, chemistry, computer science, and more. This track involves 40 hours per week of research, offering an intensive experience that aims to develop your technical and analytical skills. The Practicum track, on the other hand, is perfect if you have a keen interest in computational neurobiology. It includes intensive lectures and four hours of daily group research, focusing on computational modeling of neural systems. Both tracks culminate in a Poster Symposium, where you will present your research findings.

7. Summer Introduction To Engineering at Notre Dame

  • Location: University of Notre Dame
  • Cost: $2,650
  • Program Date: June 30 – July 13, 2024 & July 14 – July 27, 2024
  • Application Deadline: Rolling basis
  • Eligibility: High school students

The Summer Introduction to Engineering (SITE) at the University of Notre Dame is an engaging two-week program designed to introduce you to the various fields of engineering. Scheduled for two sessions in 2024, with the first from June 30 to July 13 and the second from July 14 to July 27, the program offers an immersive experience of the expansive world of engineering. You’ll delve into traditional fields such as aerospace, chemical, civil, electrical, and mechanical engineering, as well as emerging areas like computer and environmental engineering

The curriculum is not only about understanding the academic requirements and coursework for engineers but also includes exploring the wide range of career opportunities available to engineering graduates. During the program, you’ll participate in hands-on activities including engineering design challenges, competitions, and the construction and programming of a computer-controlled robot. The program also includes introductory segments on computer programming and practical workshops to develop computer skills.

8. Summer High School Academic Program for Engineers

  • Location: Columbia University
  • Cost: $5,500 
  • Program Date: July 8 – July 26, 2024 & July 29 – August 16, 2024
  • Application Deadline: March 26, 2024
  • Eligibility: Sophomores, juniors, seniors, and recent high school graduates

The Summer High School Academic Program for Engineers (SHAPE) at Columbia University is a selective pre-college program designed for rising high school sophomores, juniors, seniors, and recent graduates. The program, which spans two three-week sessions in the summer of 2024 (July 8 – July 26 and July 29 – August 16), is tailored to foster interest and proficiency in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). 

If you participate in SHAPE, you can expect to immerse yourself in a rigorous academic environment that balances theoretical knowledge with practical application. You will be engaged in a wide array of courses, ranging from Biomedical Engineering, where you’ll get hands-on laboratory experience, to Competitive Programming, which hones problem-solving skills in a computing context.

9. WPI Frontiers Summer Program

  • Location: Worcester Polytechnic Institute
  • Cost: $3,995
  • Program Date: July 7 – July 19, 2024 & July 21 – August 2, 2024
  • Application Deadline: April 30, 2024
  • Eligibility: Rising 10th, 11th, and 12th graders

The WPI Frontiers Summer Program offers a dynamic two-week residential experience for high school students entering grades 10 through 12. Scheduled in two sessions for 2024 – the first from July 7 to July 19 and the second from July 21 to August 2 – the program is designed to immerse you in the world of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) along with a minor in humanities, business, or arts. This non-credit bearing program not only provides you with a chance to explore a STEM major of your choice but also allows you to connect with peers from around the world who share your passion for STEM. The cost for each session is $3,995, which includes housing, meals, field trips, workshops, and various activities.

The daily schedule of the Frontiers program is rich and varied. Your mornings will be spent delving into your chosen STEM discipline, followed by lunch in the dining hall, which doubles as a hub for social interaction. The afternoons are dedicated to workshops focusing on your minor subject. Apart from the academic side, the program includes various college preparation workshops, including resume writing, career planning, and financial aid guidance, alongside sports and social activities to ensure a well-rounded experience. The evenings are filled with an array of engaging activities such as movie nights and trivia sessions, providing a perfect blend of learning and fun​​​​​​​​​​.

10. Johns Hopkins Engineering Innovation

  • Location: Johns Hopkins University
  • Cost: $3,575 – $5,800
  • Program Date: July 1 – July 26, 2024
  • Application Deadline: May 17, 2024
  • Eligibility: High school students

The Johns Hopkins Engineering Innovation Pre-College Programs offer a unique experience for high school students interested in exploring engineering disciplines. These programs, including the Explore Engineering Innovation (EEI), are designed for students who demonstrate an aptitude in math and science and are curious about engineering. 

The program offers a rich learning environment with a 12:1 student-teacher ratio, ensuring personalized attention and support. It’s not just about academic learning; the program also focuses on the development of essential soft skills like teamwork, communication, and ethical decision-making, which are crucial in the engineering field. Additionally, participating in the Johns Hopkins Engineering Innovation program can enhance your resume, as it is affiliated with a globally recognized institution known for its contributions to science and engineering​​​​​.

11. Stanford Engineering Everywhere

  • Location: Online
  • Cost: Free
  • Program Date: Self-paced
  • Application Deadline: No application deadline
  • Eligibility: Open to all

Stanford Engineering Everywhere (SEE) offers an exciting opportunity for you to engage in high-quality engineering education from Stanford University, right from the comfort of your home. The program is available at no cost and only requires a computer and an internet connection. 

SEE provides a selection of courses originally taught at Stanford, including a popular three-course Introduction to Computer Science sequence taken by most Stanford undergraduates. Additionally, it offers more advanced courses in fields such as artificial intelligence and electrical engineering. These courses are designed to be comprehensive, featuring full lecture videos, course materials such as syllabi, handouts, homework, and exams, all accessible online.

What makes SEE standout is its open access to a global audience. You can explore various engineering disciplines through courses that cover linear systems and optimization, database systems, and more. The program’s format includes a mix of lectures, assignments, and quizzes, mirroring the rigorous academic experience of on-campus Stanford courses.

12. Boston University Summer Challenge

  • Location: Boston University
  • Cost: $4,700
  • Program Date: June 16 – June 28, 2024, July 7 – July 19, 2024, & July 21 – August 2, 2024
  • Application Deadline: Rolling basis
  • Eligibility: Rising sophomore, junior, and senior high school students

The Boston University Summer Challenge is an enriching two-week program designed for high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors interested in experiencing college life and academic challenges. In 2024, the program offers three sessions: June 16 – June 28, July 7 – July 19, and July 21 – August 2. As a participant, you will select two seminars from a range of over 20 options, each aiming to expand your academic horizons through lectures, discussions, individual and group work, project-based assignments, and even field trips. This is a residential program where you live in the dorms on campus, providing a real taste of college life.

During the program, days are structured with time allocated for seminars, meals, activities, and study periods. There are also ample opportunities for social activities, allowing you to explore Boston and engage in workshops focusing on college admissions. The program is known for its vibrant social community, where you can make new friends and learn more about yourself while getting to know Boston University. It’s a comprehensive experience that combines academic learning with personal growth and exploration of the city​​​​​.

Mechanical Engineers working

13. Boston University Academic Immersion

  • Location: Boston University
  • Cost: $5,212
  • Program Date: June 30 – July 19, 2024 & July 21 – August 9, 2024
  • Application Deadline: Unspecified
  • Eligibility: Rising 11th and 12th graders

The Boston University Academic Immersion (AIM) is a three-week program designed for high school students entering their junior or senior year. The AIM program is structured into two sessions for 2024. The first session begins on June 30 (for residential students) or July 1 (for commuter students), and ends on July 19. The second session starts on July 21 (residential) or July 22 (commuter) and concludes on August 9. 

This program not only deepens your academic understanding but also includes social activities and campus experiences, offering a well-rounded pre-college experience. Admission to AIM is competitive, with selections based on your academic performance, extracurricular activities, a personal statement, and in some cases, a specific writing sample. The program is open to both residential and commuter students, providing flexibility in how you choose to experience it​​​​​​​​.

14. Penn Summer Science Initiative

  • Location: University of Pennsylvania
  • Cost: Free
  • Program Date: July 8 – August 1, 2024
  • Application Deadline: March 1, 2024​​​​​​
  • Eligibility: Rising junior and senior high school students

The Penn Summer Science Initiative (PSSI) is a compelling program for high school students interested in materials science and engineering. In 2024, PSSI is offering a four-week intensive course from July 8 to August 1, focusing on materials science. This program, run from Monday to Thursday, from approximately 10:00 AM to 3:30 PM each day, is designed for students entering their junior or senior year of high school, primarily from the greater Philadelphia region. 

The course includes a rich blend of formal lectures by Penn faculty and affiliated researchers, materials science workshops, lab report writing seminars, and field trips. Additionally, the course involves hands-on activities and projects that allow students to work with a variety of materials characterization techniques like scanning electron and optical microscopies, thermal analysis techniques, mechanical testing, and x-ray diffraction.

PSSI emphasizes diversity and inclusivity, encouraging applications, particularly from students who are from underrepresented groups in science, including women, minorities, and persons with disabilities. The program selects students based on their scholastic achievements, resume, interest in science, and recommendations, with prerequisites that include having completed chemistry and/or physics courses.


  • Location: Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
  • Cost: $4,000
  • Program Date: July 23 – August 5, 2023
  • Application Deadline: April 14, 2023
  • Eligibility: High school sophomores and juniors

The PREFACE program at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) is a two-week, on-campus summer experience specifically designed for high school sophomores and juniors interested in engineering or technology careers. As part of the program, you will engage in a range of hands-on activities, experiments, and challenges under the guidance of RPI faculty and trained undergraduate teaching assistants. You’ll gain a deep understanding of various aspects of engineering, including how materials science intersects with different types of engineering and their impact on the world.

Eligibility for the program is limited to high school students entering their junior or senior year and who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents from backgrounds traditionally underrepresented in STEM fields. The selection process considers your academic performance, standardized test scores, essay quality, and recommendations. The program cost is $4,000, which includes room and board, instruction, supplies, and all program activities. Limited partial scholarships based on demonstrated need are available, but full scholarships are not offered​​​​​​.

16. Engineering with Artificial Intelligence Pre-College Program at Tufts

  • Location: Tufts University, 108 Packard Ave, Medford, MA 02155
  • Cost: Unspecified
  • Program Date: July 7 – July 19, 2024 & July 21 – August 2, 2024
  • Application Deadline: Unspecified
  • Eligibility: High school students

The Engineering with Artificial Intelligence Pre-College Program at Tufts University is a dynamic program for high school students, blending the principles of engineering with advancements in AI. It is scheduled in two sessions for 2024: Session 1 runs from July 7 to July 19, and Session 2 from July 21 to August 2. This program is available both as a residential and commuter option, giving you flexibility in how you choose to participate.

Throughout this immersive program, you will gain a comprehensive understanding of artificial intelligence and machine learning. This includes both foundational knowledge in data analysis methods and hands-on experience with sophisticated, integrated AI systems. You will engage with insights from university and industry leaders, delve into contemporary AI frameworks, and apply machine learning technologies to solve real-world problems.

a male computer science professional walking in between huge machines

17. DigiPen Institute Of Technology Summer Workshop

  • Location: 9931 Willows Road NE, Redmond, WA
  • Cost: Unspecified
  • Program Date: July 8 – August 2, 2024
  • Application Deadline: Rolling basis
  • Eligibility: High school students

The DigiPen Institute of Technology offers a robust Engineering Program tailored to prepare students for successful careers in the burgeoning fields of technology and engineering. The program is designed to equip you with both the theoretical knowledge and practical skills necessary to excel in various technological industries. 

The program is distinctive for integrating design-based project classes, allowing you to apply academic theory to practical scenarios right from the start. Such an education model prepares you for real-world engineering challenges and encourages lifelong learning. DigiPen is committed to continuous improvement of its curriculum and fostering innovation within the engineering field​​.

18. The Curie Academy at Cornell University

  • Location: 146 Olin Hall, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853
  • Cost: Unspecified
  • Program Date: July 14 to July 20, 2024
  • Application Deadline: February 15, 2024
  • Eligibility: Rising high school juniors and seniors

The Curie Academy at Cornell University is a one-week summer residential program designed for high school girls who excel in math and science, particularly those who are in their junior or senior year. The program aims to introduce participants to engineering and the variety of opportunities it offers in an engaging and interactive environment. While residing on Cornell’s campus, you will be immersed in a collegiate setting, participating in classes, lab sessions, and project research led by Cornell’s renowned faculty and graduate students. 

The Curie Academy focuses on collaboration, allowing you to work alongside peers from diverse backgrounds, fostering teamwork, and building lifelong friendships. It serves as a preparation for college life, offering a glimpse into the independence and responsibilities associated with higher education.

19. Summer Science Program

  • Location: In various host campuses such as UNC Chapel Hill, University of Colorado, & Georgetown University
  • Cost: $8,800
  • Program Date: June 9 – July 31, 2024 (depends on selected location)
  • Application Deadline: Unspecified
  • Eligibility: High school juniors and a select number of sophomores

The Summer Science Program (SSP) offers an engaging and transformative experience for high-achieving high school juniors and a select number of sophomores who are passionate about science. This program, which has been running since 1959, immerses you in hands-on experimental science, allowing you to work on real research projects in a collaborative environment. Over a span of 39 days, you and your team will engage in intensive study and complete a comprehensive research project. These projects are not only academically stimulating but also contribute to the broader scientific community.

SSP is conducted in collaboration with prestigious institutions like the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the California Institute of Technology. The program is rigorous and is designed to develop your skills in areas such as time management, collaboration, and problem-solving, which are crucial for success in college and beyond. Throughout the program, you’ll receive guidance from faculty on choosing a college major and understanding your academic and career aspirations.

Unidentified people working on a project.

20. Fermilab Target Program

  • Location: Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, Batavia, Illinois
  • Cost: Unspecified (program offers a salary of $17.20 per hour to the interns)
  • Program Date: June 17 – July 26, 2024
  • Application Deadline: February 5, 2024
  • Eligibility: High school sophomores and juniors

The Fermilab TARGET Program is a notable six-week summer internship designed for Illinois high school sophomores and juniors with a keen interest and aptitude in physics, mathematics, computer science, and engineering. Scheduled to run from June 17 to July 26, 2024, it offers you an immersive and hands-on experience in these fields. This competitive program aims to encourage students to pursue higher education and careers in STEM, with a particular emphasis on increasing representation among underrepresented minorities and women in these disciplines. 

Each year, the program hosts about 15-25 interns, providing an opportunity to work with scientists and engineers at Fermilab​​​​. As a participant, you won’t just be learning from textbooks; you’ll be actively engaged in real-world research projects under the guidance of experienced mentors. This hands-on approach helps you gain practical skills vital for success in STEM fields. 

Final Thoughts

As you look towards the future, remember that the world of engineering is constantly evolving, brimming with opportunities for those who are prepared. By participating in high school engineering programs, you’re not just gaining knowledge; you’re building a foundation for a future that’s as boundless as your ambition. 

These programs are stepping stones, guiding you toward the college of your dreams and beyond. Imagine a future where you are at the forefront of innovation, contributing to advancements that could change the world. This is more than just a possibility—it’s within your reach. So, take this knowledge, let your passion for engineering guide you, and step confidently into a future filled with endless possibilities.



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