Research in Science & Engineering (RISE) at Boston University

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

neuroscientists working inside a lab

Research in Science & Engineering (RISE) at Boston University

As you stand at the crossroads of high school and college, the Research in Science & Engineering (RISE) program at Boston University presents a formidable opportunity to advance your academic journey. This prestigious summer initiative offers you a rare glimpse into the bustling world of college research, a chance to contribute to groundbreaking projects, and the means to forge connections with leading scientists and engineers.

At RISE you become part of a dynamic community where your curiosity fuels innovation and your determination sets the foundation for future success. Join us as we peel back the layers of this transformative program and discover how it can propel you towards your dreams in the vast universe of science and engineering. Whether you’re a budding biologist, an aspiring engineer, or a future tech mogul, RISE is the place where your potential will soar.

What is the Research in Science & Engineering (RISE) at Boston University?

At the heart of innovation and discovery at Boston University stands the Research in Science & Engineering (RISE) program. This initiative is a treasure trove of opportunity, offering passionate incoming college students a gateway to hands-on, cutting-edge research. By participating in RISE, you step into the world of professional inquiry and exploration alongside renowned faculty across various scientific and engineering disciplines.

If you’re a junior in high school with a zest for science, the Research in Science & Engineering (RISE) program at Boston University is looking for students like you. Imagine spending six weeks immersed in a university lab, working alongside some of the country’s most esteemed scientists. This experience will catapult your STEM capabilities to new heights. RISE welcomes both day students and those who wish to stay on campus, offering two distinct research paths:

The Internship track, where you’ll dive into hands-on research, contributing directly to ongoing projects.

The Practicum track, which allows you to engage in group projects under the guidance of experienced mentors.

a group of professionals writing unto a piece of paper laid out on a well lit table


As a participant in the Internship track, you’ll dedicate 40 hours each week to research initiatives, each meticulously crafted by your mentor. Your aim? To master technical and analytical expertise while gaining a deep understanding of the scientific method. You’re invited to delve into a range of hands-on research areas including:

  • Astronomy
  • Biology
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Chemistry
  • Computer Science
  • Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Medical Laboratory Research
  • Neuroscience
  • Physics
  • Psychology
  • Public Health

two neuroscientists analyzing a brain scan projected through the computer screen

Your journey through these fields culminates in a Poster Symposium, where you’ll showcase your findings. Moreover, once a week, you’ll unite with your peers in the Practicum track for specialized workshops. These sessions are designed to polish your academic and professional prowess.


In the Practicum track, immerse yourself in a team-based research venture within a university atmosphere, all while being steered by a BU instructor. This path is a perfect match for those of you seeking a more defined research framework, with a focus on computational neurobiology.

Choosing the Practicum track means your mornings will kick off with an engaging two-hour lecture from your instructor. Afternoons will then be dedicated to four hours of collaborative research. Here’s what you can expect:

  • Engaging in experiments that mirror the authentic practices of university lab research in computational neurobiology.
  • Following a structured syllabus that outlines clear protocols, yet embracing the thrilling unpredictability of the outcomes of your computational research.
  • Showcasing your research findings at the culminating Poster Symposium, alongside peers from the Internship track.

two chemists working inside the laboratory

Additionally, once a week, you’ll participate in workshops with Internship track students to refine your academic and career skills. These workshops are complemented by weekly interactions with local biotech or pharmaceutical companies, offering a glimpse into the industry.

Please remember, if you opt for the Practicum, you’ll need to bring a laptop capable of running programming software.

Life as a RISE Internship Participant

Imagine a day as a RISE Internship track student, where from 9 am to 5 pm, your world revolves around the buzz of laboratory life and research exploration. Each week, you’ll also participate in workshops that broaden your understanding of lab work, discuss your research progress, and explore the diverse careers science has to offer.

If you’re staying on campus, a variety of meal options await you at the dining halls. They cater to all, from vegetarian and vegan diets to specific food allergies. And if your research dedication keeps you close to the lab, to-go meals ensure you’re never hungry.

View of students staring at a laptop and talking to each other.

For those commuting, while BU doesn’t offer a meal plan, the culinary delights of the George Sherman Union or the dining halls are available for purchase. They’re perfect for enjoying a meal with classmates or accommodating your dietary needs.

Commuter students also enjoy access to dormitories during certain hours.

Beyond academics, you’ll join peers from the High School Honors program in dorm living and social events. The first week is packed with activities designed to introduce you to BU’s community and the city’s charm.

Each weekend promises a new group event, with additional optional activities during the week. Even as a commuter, you’re encouraged to dive into select social gatherings. Weeknights offer a balance of free time for studying, spontaneous fun, or unwinding with new friends until it’s time to rest.

Your free time is a canvas for exploration—whether it’s at BU’s many libraries, the Fitness & Recreation Center, lounging at the “BU Beach,” or discovering Boston’s vibrant neighborhoods. BU and Boston await with experiences that combine learning, adventure, and the forging of lasting friendships.

Group of students walking on the school campus.

Unveiling Program Activities: Discover and Connect

As a RISE program participant, your days will be filled with more than just research. Boston awaits with its historical and cultural gems, and you’re invited to experience it all.

Picture yourself meandering through the bustling streets of Faneuil Hall, unwinding on Newbury Street, or enjoying a movie night right in your dorm. These activities are not just for fun—they’re bridges to forming lasting connections with your peers and deepening your understanding of Boston’s vibrant community.

Reflect on the myriad of opportunities that past RISE students have relished. While this year’s lineup may vary, here’s a glimpse of what could be in store for you.

a group of students eating on a table

Academic Enrichment

  • Dive into weekly RISE workshops.
  • Hone your writing skills at a college essay workshop.
  • Learn effective study habits and note-taking strategies.
  • Expand your network at specialized workshops.
  • Explore mindfulness and meditation for balance.
  • Gain insights from college admissions presentations.
  • Discover potential academic paths through major overview panels.
  • Interact with BU students across disciplines like sciences, business, and humanities.

Three students talking while sitting on a bench.

Social Engagements

  • Break the ice with fellow students over ice cream.
  • Soak in the charm of Newbury Street and Harvard Square.
  • Embark on a classic Boston Duck Tour.
  • Appreciate art at the Museum of Fine Arts or the Institute of Contemporary Art.
  • Enjoy the cityscape with a Boston Harbor sunset cruise.
  • Laugh out loud at a Blue Man Group show or Improv Boston performance.
  • Cheer at a Red Sox game or dance the night away at the farewell event.

View of a students giving food to an elderly.

Community Service

Make an impact by supporting organizations like Cradles to Crayons and the Greater Boston Food Bank.

Your summer will be full of academic growth, social discovery, and community service, blending seamlessly with the dynamic RISE program and the historic backdrop of Boston.

Why should you go to the Research in Science & Engineering (RISE) at Boston University?

Choosing to engage with RISE propels you into a realm where your academic interests in science and engineering can flourish. You will have the chance to contribute to meaningful research that can influence real-world challenges. Furthermore, RISE is an environment where you’ll build a network with peers and mentors, enriching your academic journey and opening doors for future opportunities.

science student wearing laboratory gowns while looking through their microscope

The RISE Tradition

For over four decades, Boston University has been opening doors for high schoolers like you to dive into the world of research. The RISE program is a launchpad for future scientists, researchers, and academics. By joining RISE, you’re stepping onto a path trodden by distinguished alumni, setting the stage for a future in the annals of scientific and academic excellence.

The Broader Experience

Whether you’re soaking in campus life or journeying in daily, your experience at RISE will be packed with vibrant intellectual exchanges and memorable moments with peers. Here’s what every RISE participant gains:

  • A deeper grasp of how scientific exploration unfolds.
  • Knowledge of research ethics and how to navigate complex ethical considerations.
  • Skills to dissect and understand research papers.
  • The ability to present your research with confidence.
  • Networking savvy within the science and engineering communities.

This is where your passion for discovery meets the fun and camaraderie of a shared learning journey.

Three people talking on a table with a laptop.

How do you get into the Research in Science & Engineering (RISE) at Boston University?

Consider this your call to join the Research in Science & Engineering Program (RISE) if you’re on the cusp of your senior high school year come fall 2024 and hold US citizenship or permanent residency.

When reviewing your application, they will look at your academic performance, the challenge level of your coursework, and, though optional for summer 2024, your standardized test scores. Your essays and two recommendation letters will also play a significant role in our admission process.

How to apply to the Research in Science & Engineering (RISE) at Boston University?

Application Guidelines

Get ready to put your best foot forward with your application to the Research in Science & Engineering Program (RISE). Start by filling out the online application form—make sure you’ve got everything you need because once you start, there’s no saving and coming back later.

a male student reading a book in between shelves inside a library

Here’s what you’ll need to complete your application:

Essays: Sharpen your pencils for three essays where you’ll delve into:

  • Why you selected your subject of interest (300 words)
  • Your academic achievements (250 words)
  • Why you want to attend the RISE program (200 words)

a female student writing on her notes

Internship Aspirants: If you’re eyeing an internship, list three BU faculty members whose research sparks your interest. Check out the Internship page to align their work with your academic goals. Remember, while we strive to match you with your choices, it’s not always possible.

Recommendations: You’ll need to provide the email addresses of two referees—a math or science teacher and another counselor or teacher who can vouch for your character and capabilities. They’ll receive instructions on how to proceed once you’ve submitted your application.

Application Fee: Ready your credit card to cover the nonrefundable fee as you submit your application.

Typing intensely using a laptop placed on a table.

Supplemental Materials: After applying, you’ll get a link to upload additional items like:

Your high school transcript, inclusive of your grades up to fall 2023. Aim for the A– to A range to be competitive.

Standardized test scores, though they’re optional for summer 2024. If you have SAT, ACT, PSAT, or PreACT scores to share, an unofficial copy will do. Just ensure your full name is visible.

Financial Aid Documents: If you’re seeking financial aid, fax or mail your documents as directed on our Tuition, Aid, & Payment page—please do not email or upload these.

Keep in mind, we can only start reviewing your application once all these pieces are in place. Ready to get started? Your RISE journey begins with this application!

financial aid as one of the factors to consider when choosing a college

How hard is it to get into the Research in Science & Engineering (RISE) at Boston University?

The RISE program anticipates the involvement of around 130 students. These students will share living spaces and engage in social events alongside peers from the High School Honors program, which also hosts about 130 participants.

This program is highly competitive and selective, and admission decisions are based on various factors such as high school grades, standardized test scores, essays, and letters of recommendation.

Program Cost

In the summer of 2023, the RISE program set the cost for commuter students at $5,570. For residential students, the price was $8,558, encompassing accommodation, board with 14 meals a week, and all program fees. Keep an eye out for the Summer 2024 fees, which will be updated on December 15.

Two women looking out the window of their dorm room.

When you join RISE, your total fee includes:

  • Comprehensive tuition
  • Accommodation for residential students
  • All dining hall meals
  • Necessary textbooks
  • A variety of sponsored activities that span the six-week program duration
  • To confirm your spot at RISE, you’ll need to make a nonrefundable deposit, which will be credited towards your tuition.

View of post it notes placed on the table.

Financial Aid Information

RISE offers limited financial aid, dependent on your financial need. If you’re applying for aid, include:

The first two pages of your parents’ or guardians’ Federal Income Tax Form from 2022 or 2023, filed in either 2023 or 2024. Remember to redact social security numbers and mail or fax the documents—electronic submissions via email or upload are not accepted.

A written explanation from a parent or guardian detailing your financial situation and why the full tuition is beyond your reach.

When is the deadline to apply?

Mark your calendars for February 14, 2024—that’s your last chance to turn in your RISE application along with any additional documents. Your recommenders have until February 21, 2024, to submit their letters, and it’s up to you to make sure they do.

For a detailed look at the admissions journey, visit the RISE Admissions Timeline page. If financial aid is part of your plan, remember your application isn’t fully considered until we have all your financial aid paperwork. Rest assured, your request for aid won’t influence the admission verdict.

For information on next summer’s program and to apply, please check back on the RISE webpage on December 15!

A male student writing in his desk.

When do I find out about my application?

Expect to hear back from them about 6 to 8 weeks following the application cut-off date.

From late February to mid-March, the RISE Admissions Committee will be busy with the first phase of reviews. If your application catches their eye and you’re eyeing the Internship track, you’ll move forward to the matching stage.

Where is the Research in Science & Engineering (RISE) at Boston University?

RISE is hosted on the vibrant campus of Boston University, nestled in the heart of Boston, Massachusetts. The program leverages the university’s state-of-the-art facilities and resources to provide an unparalleled research experience.

Boston University Sign

When does the Research in Science & Engineering (RISE) at Boston University take place?

  • Opening Day & Orientation for Residential Students: Sunday, June 30, 2024
  • Orientation Day for Commuters & RISE Interns: Monday, July 1, 2024
  • Final Showcase at the Poster Symposium & Program Conclusion: Friday, August 9, 2024.

Please note: These dates are tentative and may shift pending final confirmation. The schedule for your regular check-ins with the RISE Program Manager will be detailed in your personal program itinerary once you get in.

How long is the Research in Science & Engineering (RISE) at Boston University?

The RISE program spans six weeks of intensive research, collaboration, and learning. This duration is intentionally designed to provide a substantial experience while also fitting into the busy schedules of ambitious students like you.

a group of college students walking side by side in a hall way

Final Thoughts

The Research in Science & Engineering (RISE) program at Boston University stands as a stellar springboard for your foray into the realms of science and engineering. As you stand on the threshold of your senior year, RISE offers you more than just a glimpse into university-level research; it promises a hands-on, mentor-guided journey that can shape your academic and professional future.

With its robust blend of academic rigor, real-world research, and community building, RISE isn’t just another summer program—it’s a unique convergence of opportunity, challenge, and growth. You’ll leave not only with new skills and knowledge but also with invaluable connections and memories that will resonate long after the summer fades.

As you consider your next steps, think of RISE as more than a line on your resume; see it as a commitment to your curiosity, a challenge to your potential, and a contribution to the scientific community. If you’re ready to take your passion for STEM to the next level, Boston University awaits your application. The future is bright for those who rise to the challenge—will you be among them?

Looking for expert advice on pre-college program applications? Connect with college admissions professionals such as AdmissionSight. Our extensive experience has guided countless students toward securing spots in prestigious universities around the world. Begin charting your educational journey—schedule a consultation with us today!


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