Best High School Science Summer Programs in 2024

science student filling flask in lab
February 28, 2024
8 min read


Reviewed by:

Mary Banks

Former Admissions Committee Member, Columbia University

Reviewed: 2/28/24

As the academic year draws to a close, high school students often find themselves at a crossroads, seeking avenues to broaden their intellectual horizons, discover new passions, and experience a slice of collegiate life. 

Summer science programs for high school students uniquely combine academic depth with the excitement of a camp environment, transcending traditional classroom learning. 

These programs immerse students in a spectrum of scientific fields, including astrophysics, marine biology, and environmental science, promoting adventure, discovery, and personal growth. They offer practical experiences like hands-on experiments and field research, guided by expert educators and scientists. 

Tailored for young enthusiasts in various scientific disciplines, these summer programs not only deepen scientific understanding but also enhance critical thinking and problem-solving skills. They provide a platform for students to connect with peers sharing similar interests and to explore potential science careers. 

Join us to discover the ideal summer science program that aligns with your passions and academic goals.

Best High School Science Summer Programs

Discover the top high school science summer programs that have been meticulously selected for their excellence in education, unique learning opportunities, and ability to inspire young minds in the world of science.

1. Summer Academy for Math and Science (SAMS) at Carnegie Mellon University

Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Program Length: Six weeks

Cost: Free for selected students

Eligibility: Historically underrepresented rising seniors, some rising juniors

Start Date: Varies annually

Application Deadline: Varies annually

The Summer Academy for Math and Science (SAMS) at Carnegie Mellon University is a six-week residential program for underrepresented rising high school seniors, with some spots for juniors. 

It combines classroom instruction with hands-on experiments in advanced math and science, offering a college-like experience that fosters academic and personal growth in STEM. 

2. Yale Young Global Scholars

Location: New Haven, Connecticut

Program Length: Varies

Cost: Varies (financial aid available)

Eligibility: High school students

Start Date: Varies annually

Application Deadline: Varies annually

Yale Young Global Scholars is a prestigious pre-college summer program at Yale University for high school students interested in science and other fields. 

This multi-week program enhances students' intellectual curiosity and global awareness through a curriculum of lectures, interactive activities, and project-based learning led by Yale faculty. It emphasizes critical thinking, practical knowledge application, and global perspectives. 

3. Minority Introduction to Engineering and Science (MITES) at MIT

Location: Cambridge, Massachusetts

Program Length: Six weeks

Cost: Free for selected students

Eligibility: Minority high school students

Start Date: Varies annually

Application Deadline: Varies annually

The Minority Introduction to Engineering and Science (MITES) at MIT is a six-week intensive program for minority high school students, offering an immersive experience in engineering and science. 

Hosted in MIT's dynamic environment, MITES focuses on expanding students' STEM knowledge through rigorous coursework, hands-on labs, and team projects. It fosters a deep passion for STEM, blending academic challenge with practical application. 

4. Research Science Institute (RSI) at MIT

Location: Cambridge, Massachusetts

Program Length: Six weeks

Cost: Free for selected students

Eligibility: High school juniors

Start Date: Varies annually

Application Deadline: Varies annually

The MIT Research Science Institute (RSI) is a prestigious program for high school juniors at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, offering college-level classes and hands-on research opportunities in science and engineering. 

RSI provides deep insights into advanced theories and research methods, under the mentorship of professional scientists and engineers. It immerses participants in a challenging academic setting, enhancing their research and analytical skills. 

5. Telluride Association Summer Seminar (TASS)

Location: Multiple locations across the USA

Program Length: Six weeks

Cost: Free (including tuition, books, room and board, and travel)

Eligibility: High school sophomores and juniors

Start Date: Varies annually

Application Deadline: Varies annually

The Telluride Association Summer Seminar (TASS) is a six-week program for high school sophomores and juniors, hosted at prestigious universities. It offers a holistic educational experience, emphasizing both academic and personal interest exploration. 

This program provides participants with a preview of college life and academic pursuits in a nurturing environment, promoting both intellectual and personal development, and preparing them for future academic challenges.

6. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University: Data Science Camp

Location: To be announced

Program Length: July

Cost: To be announced

Eligibility: Grades 11 and 12

Start Date: To be announced

Early Application Deadline: February 1, 2024

Regular Application Deadline: March 1, 2024

The Data Science Camp at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University offers an immersive and hands-on experience for students interested in the field of data science. This program provides participants with the opportunity to delve into the mathematical and computational principles underlying data science. 

7. Colorado University-Boulder: Explore Biotechnology STEM Academy

Location: Jennie Smoly Caruthers Biotechnology Building, CU Boulder

Program Length: Five days

Cost: $625

Eligibility: Grade 9–12

Start Date: June 19, 2024

Application Deadline: Online registration closes June 9, 2024

The Explore Biotechnology STEM Academy at the University of Colorado Boulder is a dynamic program designed for high school students, particularly those in grades 9-12, who have a keen interest in biological sciences. 

This academy focuses on providing students with a comprehensive understanding of biotechnology, covering state-of-the-art topics and current as well as future technologies in the field. The program includes a blend of experiential learning projects, lab work, and field trips, complemented by group discussions. 

8. Ithaca College: Summer College for High School Students: Wildlife Tracking & Nature Conservation

Location: In Person at Ithaca College

Program Length: July, August

Cost: $3,900–$5,480

Eligibility: Grades 9–12

Start Date: Monday, July 15 through Friday, August 02, 2024. Participants are required to arrive on Sunday, July 14, between 2–5 pm

Application Deadline: Until full

The Summer College for High School Students at Ithaca College, focusing on Wildlife Tracking & Nature Conservation, offers a unique educational experience for high school students interested in environmental sciences. 

This program allows students to immerse themselves in the natural world, learning about wildlife tracking and the conservation of nature. Participants will engage in field-based activities, gaining hands-on experience in tracking and observing various wildlife species, such as weasels, mice, and bobcats. 

9. J Craig Venter Institute: Science Internship Program

Location: Rockville, Maryland

Program Length: Duration 12 weeks, official program runs from May through August

Cost: Free (You get paid)

Eligibility: The program is open to motivated high school students (18 and older), and undergraduate, and graduate students. Applicants must be eligible to work in the United States.

Start Date: To be announced

Application Deadline: Early March

The J. Craig Venter Institute Science Internship Program offers a unique opportunity for participants to engage in cutting-edge scientific research. Interns at the institute are provided with a dedicated mentor and the chance to collaborate and network with world-class scientists. 

The program is tailored to the academic experience and capabilities of each participant, ensuring a personalized and enriching experience. Interns are involved in hands-on participation in research projects, focusing on areas such as genomics and global infectious disease prevention. 

10. John Hopkins University: ASPIRE Program

Location: The program is held at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL)

Program Length: The program is a summer internship

Cost: The program is an unpaid, holistic learning experience

Eligibility: High school juniors and seniors

Start Date: To be announced

Application Deadline: The summer 2024 application period opens on January 1 and remains open until February 15, 2024

The ASPIRE Program, specifically offered through the Applied Physics Laboratory (APL), is a dynamic initiative designed for high school juniors and seniors. 

Johns Hopkins’ program provides students with a unique opportunity to explore and experience STEM careers before they commit to a specific area of study in college. It focuses on increasing students' knowledge and experience in STEM subjects, emphasizing the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration. 

11. MathILy

Location: In Person at Bryn Mawr College, Pennsylvania

Program Length: Five weeks with math classes for about seven hours a day, six days a week

Cost: $4,950

Eligibility: High school students who excel in math

Start Date: June 30, 2024 

Application Deadline: April 30, 2024

The MathILy program is a distinctive and intensive residential summer program designed for mathematically excellent secondary students. It offers a highly interactive and engaging environment for learning advanced mathematical concepts. 

The program is structured into two main parts: MathILy and MathILy-Er, both spanning five weeks and focusing on serious mathematics infused with levity. MathILy-EST, an extension of the program, provides an eight-week intensive summer research experience specifically for exceptional first-year college students. 

This part of the program emphasizes inquiry-based learning and early research opportunities, catering to students deeply interested in mathematics

12. MathWorks: Math Modeling (M3) Challenge

Location: Online

Program Length: 14 consecutive hours

Cost: Free

Eligibility: Grades 11 and 12

Start Date: To be announced

Application Deadline: No hard deadline

The MathWorks Math Modeling (M3) Challenge, organized by SIAM, is a prestigious mathematical modeling contest designed for high school students. This competition is unique in that it is entirely internet-based, offering a platform for students to showcase their mathematical modeling skills. 

The challenge is open to high schools in the U.S. and also includes schools with sixth form, having expanded internationally. Participants in the M3 Challenge are provided with a range of free resources, training materials, and software licenses to aid in their preparation. 

The competition emphasizes the application of mathematics to real-world scenarios, encouraging students to engage in complex problem-solving and critical thinking. This initiative not only fosters mathematical skills among young minds but also prepares them for future challenges in STEM fields.

13. Clemson University: High School Space Exploration Camp

Location: Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute (PARI) in North Carolina

Program Length: One week

Cost: $1,650.00 + $50 registration fee

Eligibility: High school-aged campers

Start Date: June 23, 2024

Application Deadline: Until full

Clemson University's High School Space Exploration Camp is a specialized program designed to immerse students in various aspects of space science. This camp offers a unique experience that includes learning about Planetary Geography, 3D Modeling/Printing, Three-Dimensional Spatial Reasoning, and Communication. 

It is tailored for high school students and provides a comprehensive week-long engagement in space-related studies. The camp's curriculum is structured to blend theoretical knowledge with practical, hands-on activities, allowing students to delve deeply into the world of space exploration. 

This program not only enhances students' understanding of space science but also develops their skills in technology and engineering, preparing them for future academic and career pursuits in STEM fields 

14. Champlain College: Game Academy

Location: Offered both on-campus at Champlain College in Burlington, Vermont, and as a virtual program.

Program Length: Two weeks

Cost: $4,500

Eligibility: The program is designed for students entering grades 10–12 and recent high school graduates about to enter college.

Start Date: July 8 or July 22 (two sessions)

Application Deadline: Varies annually

The Champlain Game Academy at Champlain College is a comprehensive and intensive residential pre-college program designed for high school students entering grades 10–12, as well as recent high school graduates. 

This program focuses on immersing participants in the world of game development, offering a rigorous and holistic educational experience. Students are trained in various aspects of game design and development, gaining hands-on experience in creating a working game. 

The curriculum is challenging yet rewarding, covering multiple facets of game development to provide a well-rounded understanding of the field. The program collaborates closely with peers and is guided by experienced instructors, making it an ideal setting for aspiring game designers and developers to hone their skills and creativity.

15. Stanford Institutes of Medicine Summer Research Program (SIMR)

Location: Stanford, California 

Program Length: Eight weeks

Cost: Not specified

Eligibility: American high school juniors or seniors who are 16 years old or older

Start Date: June 10, 2024

Application Deadline: February 24, 2024

The Stanford Institutes of Medicine Summer Research Program (SIMR) is an eight-week, highly selective summer research program hosted by the Stanford School of Medicine. 

Stanford specifically designed this program for high school juniors and seniors with a keen interest in biological sciences, engineering, and medicine. SIMR provides students with a unique opportunity to engage in hands-on research under the direct guidance of mentors from Stanford University. 

16. Penn Medicine Summer Program

Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Program Length: Four weeks

Cost: $10,495

Eligibility: High school students ages 16-18

Start Date: June 30, 2024

Application Deadline: February 29, 2024

The Penn Medicine Summer Program, hosted by the University of Pennsylvania's Perelman School of Medicine, is an intensive four-week summer program designed for rising high school juniors and seniors. 

This program offers a unique and immersive experience in the world of medical training and healthcare. Each week of the program is structured to represent a year in medical school, starting with basic studies and advancing through more complex medical topics. 

17. Research in the Biological Sciences (RIBS) at the University of Chicago

Location: Chicago, Illinois
Program Length: Four weeks
Cost: Not specified
Eligibility: Grade 10 or 11 students who have completed one year of high school biology

Start Date: To be determined
Application Deadline: Not specified

The Research in the Biological Sciences (RIBS) program at the University of Chicago is a four-week intensive training program designed for students interested in exploring the vast field of biological sciences. 

This program provides comprehensive exposure to a range of molecular, microbiological, and cell biological techniques. It is tailored to give students a deep dive into scientific research, fostering an understanding of the life sciences and medicine. 

18. Santa Clara University Summer Engineering Seminar (SES) Santa Clara University

Location: Santa Clara University, California

Program Length: One week

Cost: Free, but participants must provide their own housing and transportation

Eligibility: High school students who excel in math and science, and have completed their sophomore and junior year by July 1

Start Date: July 14, 2024 (session one), July 2, 2024 (session two), July 28, 2024 (session three)

Application Deadline: Varies annually

The Summer Engineering Seminar is designed to empower students from traditionally underrepresented and underserved backgrounds in engineering, providing them with a taste of college-level engineering education through a variety of courses and projects.

19. Simons Summer Research Program

Location: Stony Brook University, New York

Program Length: Six to seven weeks

Cost: No tuition charges/fees but participants are responsible for their transportation, dining costs, and/or residential costs 

Eligibility: American students who are in 11th grade and at least 16 years old

Start Date: July 1, 2024

Application Deadline: Varies

The Simons Summer Research Program offers highly motivated and academically gifted high school students a chance to participate in direct research in areas like science, math, or engineering at Stony Brook University. 

Participants, known as Simons Fellows, have the unique opportunity to collaborate with esteemed faculty mentors, acquire skills in laboratory methods and instruments, integrate into dynamic research groups, and immerse themselves in the environment of a research-focused university.

20. The Jackson Laboratory Summer Student Program

Location: Two campuses - Bar Harbor, Maine & Farmington, Conn. 

Program Length: 10 weeks

Cost: None

Eligibility: High school students

Start Date: June 1, 2024

Application Deadline: January 29, 2024

The Jackson Laboratory Summer Student Program offers students a chance to delve into genetics and genomics research, focusing on laboratory work, knowledge sharing, and professional development. Participants engage in a mentor-supported research project, from conception to presentation of their findings to peers and parents. 

The program annually selects about 40 diverse undergraduates and high school students from across the U.S., fostering a community of like-minded scholars. Hosted at the Jackson Laboratory in both Maine and Connecticut, the program also allows for exploration of local attractions, including Boston, New York, and Acadia National Park.


Explore our FAQ section for concise answers to common questions about science camps for high school students, offering essential information to guide your decisions.

1. How Much Does It Typically Cost to Attend Summer Science Programs?

The cost of attending science camps for high school students can vary significantly, depending on factors such as the program's length, location, reputation, and whether it includes residential facilities. 

For shorter, non-residential science camps, the prices generally range from $500 to $2,000, which typically covers tuition and materials. In contrast, longer, residential science camps are usually more costly, with fees ranging from $2,000 to $8,000, inclusive of accommodation and meals. 

Science camps hosted at prestigious universities and renowned institutions might command higher fees, occasionally exceeding $10,000. However, to ensure accessibility for a broader range of students, many science camps provide financial aid, scholarships, or need-based fee waivers. 

These financial support options are designed to make these educational programs more affordable and open to all interested students.

2. What Sets Summer Science Programs for High School Students Apart from Others?

Science camps for high school students stand out due to several distinctive features. Firstly, they offer specialized focus, providing in-depth learning in various scientific fields, often delving into topics that extend beyond the standard high school curriculum. 

Additionally, these camps emphasize hands-on experience, allowing students to participate actively in lab work, field studies, and research projects, which gives them practical, real-world experience in science. 

3. Are There Residential Summer Science Programs Available?

Yes, numerous residential science camps are available for high school students, offering a variety of features that enhance the overall experience. These camps typically provide on-campus housing in university dormitories, giving students a real taste of college life. 

The advantage of these residential camps lies in their ability to provide students with an immersive experience in college life, promoting independence and a deeper engagement with their scientific interests.

Final Thoughts

Science camps for high school students offer an invaluable opportunity for young enthusiasts to delve deep into the world of science. Whether choosing a residential or a day camp, students can benefit from a rich educational experience that goes beyond the regular school curriculum.

These camps not only foster a deeper understanding of scientific concepts but also aid in developing critical thinking, independence, and readiness for college. They are an excellent way for students to explore their interests, meet like-minded peers, and get a head start on their academic and career paths in science.

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