13 Internships for High School Students in Philadelphia

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

13 Internships for High School Students in Philadelphia

Philadelphia, a city renowned for its rich history and vibrant culture, is a fertile ground for youth educational growth and professional development. Among the myriad opportunities it offers, internships for high school students in Philadelphia are particularly noteworthy. These programs are designed to provide work experience and foster a deeper understanding of various professional fields, from the arts and sciences to technology and healthcare.

For ambitious high school students eager to step beyond the confines of their classrooms and into the real world, these internships offer a first-hand look at what it means to be part of professional environments, encouraging personal and academic growth. Each program’s unique focus and structure aims to equip students with the skills, knowledge, and insights necessary to make informed decisions about their future careers.

1. Penn Summer Science Initiative (PSSI)

  • Field: Material Science and Engineering
  • Paid/Unpaid: Not specified.
  • Eligibility: High schoolers entering junior or senior year, having taken chemistry and physics
  • Important Dates: Application Deadline – March 1.

The Penn Summer Science Initiative (PSSI) stands out as a distinguished program among internships for high school students in Philadelphia, offering a unique blend of academic rigor and practical experience in material science and engineering.

forensic science student examining a sample in microscope

This four-week program, sponsored by the University of Pennsylvania’s Laboratory for Research on the Structure of Matter, is designed to introduce high school students entering their junior or senior year to the fundamentals and advanced concepts of material sciences and engineering through a comprehensive curriculum that includes lectures, hands-on computer, and experimental labs, as well as field trips to industrial and university facilities.

What makes PSSI especially noteworthy is its commitment to accessibility and inclusivity, offering this enriching educational experience at no cost to the participants, with a particular encouragement for students from groups underrepresented in science to apply.

Each year, a select group of 24 to 28 students from the greater Philadelphia region who have previously completed a course in chemistry and physics are chosen to participate in this highly competitive program. PSSI not only enriches the academic lives of its attendees but also prepares them for future success in STEM fields, making it a pivotal opportunity for aspiring young scientists and engineers in Philadelphia​.

2. High School Program in Biomedical Research at The Wistar Institute

  • Field: Biomedical Research
  • Paid/Unpaid: Paid, $1000 stipend
  • Eligibility: At least 16 years old, completed one high school science course.
  • Important Dates: Applications are due by 11:59 pm EST, March 31, 2024—Program Dates – July 10 – August 3​​.

The High School Program in Biomedical Research at The Wistar Institute is a standout opportunity among internships for high school students in Philadelphia, particularly for those drawn to the cutting-edge world of biomedical research.

Health care researchers working in life science laboratory

This initiative, designed for students at least 16 years old and completing at least one high school science course, offers a rare glimpse into professional scientific research. Throughout this program, participants are introduced to and profoundly engaged in hands-on research projects covering cancer biology, vaccine development, and infectious diseases.

This paid internship, which accepts a limited number of students each year to ensure a focused and immersive experience, provides an invaluable platform for young scientists to gain practical skills in laboratory techniques and scientific investigation.

Beyond the technical skills, students are encouraged to develop their scientific literacy by engaging with current scientific literature, enhancing their understanding of the broader context of their research projects.

3. Neurology High School Scholars Program at CHOP

  • Field: Neurology Research
  • Paid/Unpaid: Not specified.
  • Eligibility: Current high school sophomore, junior, or senior, 16+ by start
  • Important Dates: Application Period – February 2 to March 1.

The Neurology High School Scholars Program at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) represents a remarkable opportunity within the landscape of internships for high school students in Philadelphia, focusing on the intricate and fascinating world of neurology.

an image of brain on a CT scan result

This program offers a five-week, immersive experience for high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors at least 16 years old by the program’s start. What sets this internship apart is its comprehensive exposure to neurology through hands-on research, clinical observation, and participation in educational workshops led by CHOP’s esteemed neurology department.

Students have the unique chance to delve into current neurology research projects, learn about advanced neurological disorders, and observe clinical practices in one of the nation’s leading pediatric hospitals.

This experience provides invaluable insights into the complexities of neurological sciences and equips students with practical skills and knowledge, preparing them for potential careers in medicine and research.

4. CHOP Research Internship for Scholars and Emerging Scientists (CHOP-RISES)

  • Field: STEM-M (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math, Medicine)
  • Paid/Unpaid: Stipends provided
  • Eligibility: Rising juniors and seniors who are typically under-represented in research.
  • Important Dates: Two consecutive summers during students’ rising junior and senior years.

The CHOP Research Internship for Scholars and Emerging Scientists (CHOP-RISES) is an exemplary model among internships for high school students in Philadelphia, specifically tailored for those with a burgeoning interest in the STEM-M fields (science, technology, engineering, math, and medicine).

Science technology concept. Studying asian girl

Hosted by the prestigious Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute, CHOP-RISES is structured as an intensive, two-summer program to nurture high school students’ scientific curiosity and skills, particularly those typically underrepresented in research.

The program is meticulously designed to transition participants from merely “science curious” to “science confident,” offering a blend of hands-on laboratory experience, mentorship, and academic enrichment.

Throughout the program, students engage directly with cutting-edge research projects, learning fundamental research techniques and contributing to meaningful scientific inquiries under the guidance of esteemed professionals at CHOP.

5. GRASP Lab Internships

  • Field: Robotics and Engineering
  • Paid/Unpaid: Not specified
  • Eligibility: Must be a rising senior, 6 weeks commitment
  • Important Dates: Not specified.

The GRASP Lab Internships at the University of Pennsylvania offer a unique and highly sought-after opportunity among internships for high school students in Philadelphia, particularly for those fascinated by robotics and engineering.

Medical Research Laboratory

These internships are designed to immerse students in the cutting-edge world of robotics research, providing them with a hands-on experience that is both educational and inspiring. Unlike traditional internship programs, the GRASP Lab offers a more personalized approach by allowing high school students to work directly with GRASP faculty members on a case-by-case basis.

This tailored mentoring enables students to delve deep into specific projects, ranging from autonomous vehicles and drones to robotic arms and artificial intelligence applications. The program is characterized by its commitment to fostering a deep understanding of the complexities and challenges within the field of robotics, encouraging students to develop problem-solving skills, technical understanding, and a passion for innovation.

This initiative not only cultivates the next generation of engineers and scientists but also strengthens the educational fabric of Philadelphia by providing its young residents with unparalleled access to world-class resources and expertise.

7. Bloomberg Arts Internship Summer (BAI) & School Year (BAISY)

  • Field: Arts and Culture
  • Paid/Unpaid: Paid, $17.53 per hour for the summer
  • Eligibility: Rising high school seniors
  • Important Dates: Summer Application Deadline – February 28​.

The Bloomberg Arts Internship Summer (BAI) and the subsequent School Year (BAISY) program present a comprehensive and enriching pathway among internships for high school students in Philadelphia, with a specific focus on the arts and cultural management.

A woman visiting art gallery.


Sponsored by Bloomberg Philanthropies and administered by the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, the BAI summer internship places rising high school seniors in paid positions at premier arts and cultural organizations across the region.

This experience is not just about gaining work experience; it’s a deep dive into the professional world of arts, offering insights into exhibition planning, arts administration, marketing, and event coordination.

Following the summer experience, participants who have completed the BAI program have the unique opportunity to extend their learning and engagement through the BAISY program during the school year.

8. Apprenticeship Program at Monell Chemical Senses Center

  • Field: Scientific Research
  • Paid/Unpaid: Paid, full-time
  • Eligibility: High school students from the Philadelphia area
  • Important Dates: June 20 – August 11.

The Apprenticeship Program at Monell Chemical Senses Center is a prime example of engaging internships for high school students in Philadelphia, focusing on the pioneering fields of biomedicine and the chemical senses.

Two students working on a project in a laboratory.

This unique program offers high school students from the greater Philadelphia area, including Camden, NJ, the opportunity to immerse themselves in scientific research alongside some leading researchers in taste, smell, and chemosensory irritation.

Throughout the summer, apprentices are paid to work full-time on research projects, gaining invaluable hands-on experience in the laboratory, learning various scientific techniques, and engaging in activities that bolster their public speaking, written communication, and understanding of ethical principles in human and animal research.

This comprehensive program culminates in a public conference where apprentices present their research findings to the scientific community, family, and friends, providing a platform for the practical application of their summer’s work and enhancing their communication skills.

9. Philadelphia Zoo Volunteer Ambassador

  • Field: Animal Care and Education
  • Paid/Unpaid: Unpaid, volunteer
  • Eligibility: Students 14 years of age and older
  • Important Dates: 50 hours of service annually.

The Philadelphia Zoo Volunteer Ambassador program is a distinctive offering within the realm of internships for high school students in Philadelphia, providing a unique opportunity for young individuals passionate about wildlife and conservation to gain practical experience.

A female veterinary medicine student reading through a book in her room

Unlike traditional internships, this volunteer-based role allows high school students aged 14 and older to engage directly with the zoo’s visitors, educating them about the animals and conservation efforts undertaken by the zoo.

This hands-on experience not only aids in developing public speaking and interpersonal skills but also fosters a deeper understanding and appreciation for animal care, environmental conservation, and the workings of one of the nation’s oldest zoos.

Volunteers are expected to commit to a certain number of service hours annually, making this role an excellent way for students to contribute to their community while gaining valuable skills and insights into zoological and environmental careers.

10. UPenn Provost’s Summer Mentorship Program (SMP)

  • Field: Various (Dental, Engineering, Law, Medicine, Nursing)
  • Paid/Unpaid: Free
  • Eligibility: Rising 10th and 11th graders from Philadelphia and surrounding high schools, aimed at first-generation and underrepresented students.
  • Important Dates: Four weeks from July 8 to August 2​.

The UPenn Provost’s Summer Mentorship Program (SMP) emerges as a significant and impactful initiative within the spectrum of internships for high school students in Philadelphia, aimed at illuminating the path to higher education and professional success for first-generation and underrepresented high school students.

Young woman looking up something in her laptop.

This four-week program in July is meticulously designed to provide rising 10th and 11th graders from Philadelphia and its surrounding areas with an immersive experience in one of Penn’s professional schools—Dental, Engineering, Law, Medicine, and Nursing.

Beyond shadowing professionals and gaining insights into various professions, SMP participants are engaged in a curriculum rich in standardized test preparation, personal growth, professional development, financial literacy, and wellness.

This comprehensive approach prepares students for academic challenges and equips them with the essential life skills needed for their future careers. By offering this program at no cost, the University of Pennsylvania underscores its commitment to broadening access to education and professional opportunities for the youth of Philadelphia, thereby contributing significantly to its participants’ educational enrichment and professional preparedness.

11. URBN Inc. Internship

  • Field: Business/Retail
  • Paid/Unpaid: Paid
  • Eligibility: Not specified, but interns work in various business areas within URBN.
  • Important Dates: Ten weeks from June 3 to August 9.

The URBN Inc. Internship stands as a pivotal opportunity in the array of internships for high school students in Philadelphia, particularly for those with an interest in the dynamic world of retail and fashion.

view of students lounging in the bench

Hosted by URBN Inc., the parent company behind powerhouse brands such as Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, and Free People, this ten-week paid internship program is based primarily at their Philadelphia Navy Yard headquarters.

Participants can work in business areas that align with their interests, providing a real-world glimpse into retail’s fast-paced and creative world. Beyond the day-to-day work experience, interns participate in special events, off-site field trips, and projects that offer a comprehensive understanding of the retail industry’s various facets.

This program serves as a valuable professional stepping stone for high school students in Philadelphia. It enriches their knowledge of business operations, marketing, merchandising, and the creative process behind some of the most recognized brands in the fashion industry.

12. Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) Opportunities Academy

  • Field: STEM/Healthcare
  • Paid/Unpaid: Free
  • Eligibility: Not specified, focuses on introducing students to careers in healthcare.
  • Important Dates: One week from June 24 to June 28.

The Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) Opportunities Academy offers a unique and enriching experience within the landscape of internships for high school students in Philadelphia, especially for those intrigued by the potential of a future in healthcare and STEM fields.

Research Science Institute

This program spans a week during the summer and is specifically designed to introduce students to the vast possibilities and career paths of the medical and healthcare sectors. Participants are engaged in hands-on activities, clinical skills simulations, and immersive learning experiences that aim to deepen their understanding of medical practices, patient care, and the importance of osteopathic medicine.

Providing access to PCOM’s state-of-the-art facilities and the expertise of its faculty, the Opportunities Academy serves as a crucial bridge for high school students in Philadelphia, fostering their curiosity and passion for the sciences and potentially guiding them towards careers in healthcare.

This initiative is particularly noteworthy for its commitment to offering a comprehensive overview of the medical profession, preparing participants academically, and inspiring them with the tangible impact they can make through a medical career.

13. WorkReady Summer Program

  • Field: Various
  • Paid/Unpaid: Paid (up to $1,000+)
  • Eligibility: Youth aged 12-24 living in Philadelphia, looking to explore different career paths and gain work experience.
  • Important Dates: Program runs in July-August.

The WorkReady Summer Program is a standout initiative in the realm of internships for high school students in Philadelphia, designed to offer young people between the ages of 12 and 24 a gateway into the professional world through paid work experiences.

A student smiling at the camera while on the grass.

This program, running during the July-August timeframe, places students in various work environments five days a week, allowing them to explore different career paths, gain valuable work experience, and earn while learning.

WorkReady is committed to preparing Philadelphia’s youth for their future careers by allowing them to develop professional skills, understand workplace dynamics, and explore their interests in a real-world context.

By offering up to $1,000+ for a summer work experience, WorkReady not only incentivizes participation but also makes a significant investment in the professional development of the city’s young people. This program underscores the importance of early work experiences in shaping career trajectories and enhancing employability skills, making it a critical component of the educational and professional landscape for high school students in Philadelphia.


Internships for high school students in Philadelphia serve as crucial stepping stones toward career readiness and personal development. Through participation in these programs, students gain invaluable experiences that extend far beyond the tangible skills learned. They are introduced to networks of professionals, exposed to real-world challenges, and given a glimpse into potential career paths that could shape their futures.

Whether their interests lie in the arts, sciences, technology, healthcare, or business, Philadelphia’s high school students have a wealth of resources to explore, learn, and grow. By taking advantage of these opportunities, they set the groundwork for their academic pursuits and professional careers, ensuring they are well-prepared for whatever lies ahead.


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