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14 Summer Programs in Irvine for High School Students

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

The campus of the University of California Irvine

14 Summer Programs in Irvine for High School Students

Irvine, renowned for its educational institutions and vibrant community, offers many enriching summer programs designed specifically for high school students. These programs cover various interests, from science and engineering to the arts and sports. They provide valuable opportunities for students to explore their passions, enhance their skills, and better understand potential career paths.

As we delve into the list of 14 summer programs in Irvine for high school students, we uncover opportunities awaiting young minds. Each program is uniquely tailored to inspire, challenge, and motivate students, fostering an environment where learning thrives and friendships flourish. Whether you’re a budding scientist, aspiring artist, or future Olympian, Irvine’s summer offerings promise an unforgettable experience that combines education, personal growth, and fun.

1. COSMOS (California State Summer School for Mathematics and Science)

  • Field: STEM
  • Cost: Varies; financial assistance available
  • Eligibility: Talented high school students
  • Important Dates: The application opened last January.

The COSMOS (California State Summer School for Mathematics and Science) program stands out as a premier enrichment opportunity among summer programs in Irvine for high school students, focusing on STEM education.

Group of three students

Held at the University of California, Irvine, COSMOS is a four-week residential program designed to engage the brightest high school students across the state and beyond in rigorous academic projects.

The goal is to inspire the next generation of scientists, technologists, engineers, and mathematicians by providing them with a unique environment that encourages exploration and innovation. Participants select specific “clusters” or courses that delve into advanced topics, ranging from astrophysics to biomedical sciences, offering a collegiate-level experience combining theoretical studies and practical, hands-on research.

This immersive program enhances participants’ understanding of complex STEM subjects. It gives them a glimpse into college life and the chance to connect with peers with similar ambitions and interests. By participating in COSMOS, students gain invaluable insights into potential career paths within the STEM fields, fostering personal and academic growth.

2. Summer Youth Science Fellowship Program

  • Field: Cancer Research
  • Cost: Free
  • Eligibility: 11th & 12th graders at Orange County High Schools
  • Important Dates: Application period details not specified; check the program’s website.

The Summer Youth Science Fellowship Program at the University of California, Irvine, is a hallmark among summer programs in Irvine for high school students, particularly those with a keen interest in the sciences.

three students in the walkway

This program is specifically designed to immerse participants in scientific research, focusing on the cutting-edge field of cancer research. Over six weeks, students can work alongside experienced researchers in laboratories at UCI, gaining hands-on experience and insights into the methodologies and challenges of conducting real-world scientific studies.

This enhances their understanding of complex biological concepts and introduces them to potential career paths in scientific research and medicine. The program’s culmination in a research symposium allows these young scientists to present their findings to peers, faculty, and other scientific community members, providing a platform for feedback and professional development.

This initiative serves as a critical stepping stone for high school students, offering a comprehensive introduction to the rigors and rewards of scientific inquiry within a supportive and intellectually stimulating environment.

3. Summer Online Research Program

  • Field: Biomedical Research
  • Cost: Not specified
  • Eligibility: High school students
  • Important Dates: Two sessions: June 24–July 12 and July 15–August 2, 2024.

The Summer Online Research Program offers a standout opportunity among summer programs in Irvine for high school students, particularly those interested in biomedical research and science.

a highschool student on an online class

This innovative program, hosted by the UCI School of Medicine, provides an online platform where students engage in a three-week mentored research experience. Designed to increase high school students’ exposure to research methods, the program pairs participants with UCI School of Medicine faculty members and undergraduate and postgraduate coaches.

The flexible schedule allows students to delve into their projects at their own pace, fostering a deep understanding of evidence-based medicine, the importance of responsibly conducting research involving human subjects and the critical evaluation of medical literature.

Participants learn to write organized research reports and submit abstracts to national meetings, potentially as co-authors, offering a significant step forward in their academic and professional development.

4. ICS Summer Academy

  • Field: Information and Computer Sciences
  • Cost: Not specified; discounts available
  • Eligibility: High school students
  • Important Dates: Not specified; check the program’s website for updates.

The ICS Summer Academy is an exemplary representation of summer programs in Irvine for high school students, particularly those interested in the burgeoning fields of information and computer sciences (ICS).

two female students seated in front of a laptop, smiling to their male professor wearing teal shirt

Situated within the supportive and innovative environment of UC Irvine, the academy offers a dynamic curriculum designed to introduce students to cutting-edge areas such as Data Analytics, Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning, Cryptography & Security, and Software Engineering.

What sets this program apart is its blend of academic rigor and practical application, all under the guidance of distinguished UCI professors and top-tier undergraduate and graduate students. This immersive experience equips students with the foundational skills and knowledge necessary for success in the digital age. It provides a unique window into college life and the exciting possibilities a career in ICS can offer.

The program’s focus on team-based projects fosters collaboration, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills, ensuring that participants leave with a comprehensive understanding of the subject matter and a deep appreciation for the field of ICS.

5. Summer Surgery Program

  • Field: Medicine/Surgery
  • Cost: Not specified
  • Eligibility: High school students
  • Important Dates: Not provided; contact the program for details.

The Summer Surgery Program is a unique and engaging component of summer programs in Irvine for high school students, especially those with a profound interest in the medical field and surgical practices.

a dentist demonstrating to his students inside a clinic

Hosted by UC Irvine Health’s Department of Urology, this program offers an unparalleled opportunity for students to gain firsthand exposure to the world of surgery. Participants are introduced to various surgical techniques and the latest medical technology, providing a rare glimpse into the life-saving work performed in operating rooms.

Beyond the technical skills, the program emphasizes the importance of teamwork, critical thinking, and decision-making under pressure, qualities essential for success in any medical career. Students can interact with leading surgeons and medical professionals, gaining insights into the challenges and rewards of a healthcare career.

This immersive experience broadens their academic horizons and allows them to explore potential career paths in surgery and medicine. For high school students in Irvine dreaming of a future in healthcare, the Summer Surgery Program offers a compelling blend of education, mentorship, and hands-on experience that is both inspiring and informative.

6. Summer Healthcare Experience

  • Field: Healthcare
  • Cost: Not specified
  • Eligibility: Rising Juniors and Seniors in High School
  • Important Dates: Not specified; check the program’s website for updates.

The Summer Healthcare Experience is a standout program among the summer programs in Irvine for high school students, designed to immerse participants in the multifaceted world of healthcare.

unknown individuals performing chemistry experiments

This enriching program, hosted by the UCI School of Medicine, aims to empower young individuals by offering them a comprehensive overview of various healthcare careers. It is a practical bridge for students, providing an in-depth understanding of the medical field through hands-on experiences, such as surgery simulations and suturing workshops.

Moreover, students have the invaluable opportunity to learn directly from experienced healthcare professionals, including physicians, nurses, and researchers, who share insights into their daily practices and the realities of working in healthcare.

The program also emphasizes the importance of mentorship, networking, and academic preparation, offering activities like interview coaching and essay preparation to support students’ future educational and career pursuits.

7. UCI x GATI’s BEAM Program

  • Field: STEM (Biology, Engineering, AI, Medicine)
  • Cost: $3,995 – $9,495; scholarships available
  • Eligibility: All high school students
  • Important Dates: June 12 – August 31.

The UCI x GATI’s BEAM Program distinguishes itself among summer programs in Irvine for high school students by offering an innovative and immersive experience in Biology, Engineering, Artificial Intelligence, and Medicine.

two computer scientists working in front of their computer

This program, a collaboration between the University of California, Irvine, and the Gifted and Talented Institute (GATI), is designed to challenge and inspire students through a curriculum that spans the most cutting-edge aspects of STEM education.

Participants are given the unique opportunity to engage in hands-on research and development projects, fostering an environment where creativity and innovation thrive. By working closely with esteemed faculty members and utilizing state-of-the-art facilities, students deepen their understanding of complex scientific concepts and develop valuable research and problem-solving skills.

The BEAM Program prepares students for future academic endeavors and gives them a glimpse into potential career paths within these dynamic fields. For ambitious high school students in Irvine looking to explore the intersections of biology, engineering, AI, and medicine, the BEAM Program offers an unparalleled educational adventure that is both enriching and forward-thinking.

8. Summer Engineering Academy at Chapman University

  • Field: Engineering
  • Cost: Register by March 31, 2024, for 10% off.
  • Eligibility: Students entering high school in the 24/25 academic year qualify.
  • Important Dates: Workshop varies.

Summer Engineering Academy at Chapman University is crucial in nurturing the next generation of engineers and innovators. It typically offers an immersive educational experience that combines theoretical learning with practical, hands-on projects.

Students taking a SAT exam in a room with a long table.

Students can delve into various engineering disciplines, from mechanical and electrical engineering to computer science and beyond, working alongside experienced faculty and industry professionals.

By participating in such a program, students gain valuable insights into the engineering profession, learn about the latest technological advancements, and develop problem-solving, teamwork, and creativity skills.

Programs like these are essential for encouraging young minds to explore the vast possibilities within STEM fields and providing them with the tools and knowledge to pursue these paths with confidence and curiosity.

9. Dance Camp (Backhausdance Summer Intensive)

  • Field: Performing Arts
  • Cost: Rates vary.
  • Eligibility: aspiring and experienced artists ages 12 to professional
  • Important Dates: July 15 – Aug 3, 2024.

The Dance Camp offered by Backhausdance, known as the Summer Intensive, is a remarkable highlight among summer programs in Irvine for high school students passionate about dance. This immersive program caters to young dancers seeking to deepen their understanding and hone their skills in various dance genres.

Ballet Dance

Through an intensive curriculum that covers a wide range of styles, from contemporary to ballet, participants are encouraged to explore new movements, refine their techniques, and express their artistic visions under the guidance of seasoned instructors.

The Summer Intensive focuses on technical excellence and fosters creativity, collaboration, and personal growth, creating a nurturing environment for students to explore their potential. This program is an excellent opportunity for high school students in Irvine to immerse themselves in professional dance, offering them a platform to connect with like-minded peers, engage with professional dancers and choreographers, and potentially set the stage for their future careers in dance.

10. CHOC’s Medical Intelligence and Innovation Institute (Mi4) Summer Internship Program

  • Field: Healthcare/Research
  • Cost: Free; support for low-income students
  • Eligibility: All high school students
  • Important Dates: June 22 – August 17 (previous year dates, check for current year)​​.

CHOC’s Medical Intelligence and Innovation Institute (Mi4) Summer Internship Program is a premier option among summer programs in Irvine for high school students with a deep interest in the evolving fields of medical intelligence and innovation.

test tubes with different chemicals

This program, hosted by the renowned Children’s Hospital of Orange County, provides a rare opportunity for students to delve into cutting-edge medical research areas, including nanomedicine, robotics, genomic medicine, and medical devices.

Participants gain hands-on experience through shadowing physicians, attending clinical workshops, and contributing to real-world research projects. Moreover, the program includes participating in the AI in Medicine journal club, fostering a comprehensive understanding of how artificial intelligence transforms healthcare.

The internship culminates in the presentation of a research project or invention in healthcare, offering students the chance to contribute to meaningful medical advancements and develop critical thinking, collaboration, and communication skills.

11. Instrumental Music Camp for High School Musicians

  • Field: Music
  • Cost: Rates vary.
  • Eligibility: High school students
  • Important Dates: Registration period: February 1, 2024, through May 1, 2024.

The Instrumental Music Camp for High School Musicians is an exemplary program among summer programs in Irvine for high school students, specifically tailored for those passionate about music and seeking to enhance their instrumental skills.

This camp provides a focused environment where young musicians can immerse themselves in intensive musical training, exploring a wide range of repertoires and styles under the guidance of experienced instructors.

Participants can engage in ensemble performances, solo pieces, and masterclasses, offering a holistic approach to musical education that balances technical proficiency with artistic expression. The camp fosters a collaborative community of young musicians, encouraging them to share ideas, inspire each other, and build lasting connections through their love of music.

For high school students in Irvine who dream of pursuing music at a higher level, this camp offers a unique chance to dive deep into their craft, refine their technique, and prepare for future musical endeavors in a supportive and inspiring setting.

12. Vocal Music Camp for High School Singers

  • Field: Music
  • Cost: Rates vary.
  • Eligibility: High school students
  • Important Dates: Registration period: February 1, 2024, through May 1, 2024.

The Vocal Music Camp for High School Singers stands out as a noteworthy choice among summer programs in Irvine for high school students, specifically designed for those with a passion for singing and a desire to enhance their vocal abilities.

Students laugh at each other.

This immersive camp offers an unparalleled opportunity for young vocalists to develop their skills in various genres, from classical to contemporary music, under the mentorship of accomplished music educators and vocal coaches.

The program focuses on multiple aspects of vocal performance, including technique, interpretation, and stage presence, allowing students to explore and refine their unique voices. Participants also engage in ensemble singing, fostering teamwork and collaboration while creating beautiful harmonies.

Workshops on vocal health and audition preparation prepare students for successful musical pursuits beyond high school. For high school singers in Irvine looking to deepen their understanding of music and vocal artistry, this camp provides a comprehensive and enriching experience that encourages personal growth, artistic expression, and a deeper connection to the music community.

12. Baking Camp at UCI

  • Field: Food
  • Cost: 250 USD
  • Eligibility: Grades 6-9
  • Important Dates: Camp will run June 26- Aug 4

The Baking Camp at UCI represents a unique and savory twist among summer programs in Irvine for high school students, offering them an opportunity to dive into the world of baking and pastry arts.

A girl cooking while having an interactive virtual cooking class

This specialized camp introduces participants to various baking techniques, from bread-making fundamentals to the intricate art of pastry design. Under the guidance of experienced chefs and bakers, students learn the science and creativity behind baking, exploring various ingredients, flavor combinations, and presentation styles.

The program enhances culinary skills and fosters creativity, precision, and a deep appreciation for the culinary arts. Participants work in a state-of-the-art kitchen, gaining hands-on experience that is both educational and enjoyable.

In addition to developing their baking prowess, students learn about kitchen safety, recipe development, and the importance of using sustainable and local ingredients. For high school students in Irvine with a passion for baking and a desire to explore culinary arts, this camp serves as a delightful introduction to the discipline, providing them with the skills and confidence to express themselves through baking.

13. Fencing at UCI

  • Field: Sports
  • Cost: 200 USD
  • Eligibility: Grades 5-9
  • Important Dates: Camp will run June 26- Aug 4

Fencing at UCI emerges as an intriguing and dynamic component of summer programs in Irvine for high school students, offering a unique blend of physical prowess, strategy, and discipline.

This program invites participants into fencing, a sport known for its rich history and elegance and its benefits for physical fitness, coordination, and mental agility. Under the tutelage of experienced coaches, students are introduced to the fundamentals of fencing, including the different types of weapons used in the sport: foil, epee, and sabre.

Each session is designed to teach the basic stances, movements, and techniques of fencing and instill a deep respect for sportsmanship and the etiquette that underpins this noble sport. Beyond the physical skills, the program emphasizes strategic thinking, quick decision-making, and the development of self-confidence, preparing students for competitions and personal growth.

For high school students in Irvine looking for a summer activity that challenges both body and mind, Fencing at UCI offers an extraordinary opportunity to explore an intellectually stimulating and physically demanding sport.

14. Pharmacy Summer Research Program for High School Students

  • Field: Science.
  • Cost: To be announced.
  • Eligibility: Open to all high school students.
  • Important Dates:  Registration for 2024 will open in the coming weeks.

The Pharmacy Summer Research Program for High School Students is a standout initiative among summer programs in Irvine for high school students, providing a unique opportunity for those interested in exploring the pharmacy and pharmaceutical sciences.

Young woman working in pharmacy looking for medicine in shelf standing behind counter

This program is specifically designed to introduce students to the world of pharmacy research, covering a wide array of topics from drug development and pharmacotherapy to the impact of pharmaceuticals on public health.

Participants can work alongside experienced pharmacists and researchers, engaging in hands-on experiments and projects that offer insights into the real-world applications of pharmacy science. The curriculum emphasizes the importance of research in advancing healthcare and encourages critical thinking, problem-solving, and collaborative skills.

This immersive experience is aimed at students who are curious about the role of pharmacists in healthcare systems and interested in pursuing a career in the pharmaceutical sciences.

Conclusion

The diverse array of summer programs for high school students in Irvine underscores the city’s commitment to fostering educational excellence and nurturing the next generation of leaders, innovators, and creators.

These programs equip students with valuable knowledge and skills and encourage them to think critically, work collaboratively, and pursue their passions with vigor. As the summer sun sets on these enriching experiences, students emerge more confident, knowledgeable, and ready to take on future challenges.

Irvine’s summer programs are more than just seasonal classes; they are stepping stones to brighter futures, igniting curiosity and inspiring dreams in the hearts of high school students.

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