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2020 College Summer Opportunities to Advance Research


The application for summer 2020 is now CLOSED.

We are pleased to announce the NIH College Summer Opportunities to Advance Research (C-SOAR). The goal of the program is to encourage a diverse group of individuals to consider careers in the biomedical sciences (At the NIH "biomedical sciences" includes everything from behavioral and social sciences, through biology and chemistry, to physics, mathematical modeling, computational biology, and biostatistics). In addition to performing full-time research in a laboratory or on a project at the NIH, C-SOAR interns will meet each week as a group with students in the Community College Summer Enrichment Program (CCSEP). Together they will participate in workshops and courses focused on the development of academic and professional skills in preparation for careers in health care and in social, behavioral, and biomedical research.

Students with disabilities; students who are Pell Grant-eligible; students who are enrolled in Tribal Colleges and Universities, Hispanic-serving institutions, or Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs); students who identify as LGBTQ; and individuals disadvantaged by circumstances that have negatively impacted their educational opportunities, including recent natural disasters, are encouraged to apply to C-SOAR.

NOTE: The C-SOAR admissions committee will give preference to students who have not yet had the opportunity to participate in a research-intensive summer program like SIP, who lack opportunities to do research during the academic year, or who cannot explore their interests in biomedical research at their home institutions. Applicants who have considerable previous research experiences at the NIH or other research institutions and universities should consider applying to the general NIH Summer Internship Program.

C-SOAR/CCSEP activities will include:

  • Full-time research
  • An Orientation Week
  • A leadership development program focused on self-exploration, building resiliency, understanding conflict, finding mentors, and understanding emotional intelligence.
  • The NIH Graduate & Professional School Fair
  • NIH Summer Poster Day
  • Completion of an Individual Development Plan or IDP

Attendance at these C-SOAR/CCSEP group activities will be required.

C-SOAR interns are a part of the larger NIH Summer Internship Program or SIP, so all opportunities and responsibilities that apply to other SIP interns also apply to them.


C-SOAR applicants must meet all eligibility requirements for the NIH Summer Internship Program. They must be:

  • U.S. citizens or permanent residents;
  • Enrolled at least half-time in an accredited US college or university at the time of application submission;
  • At least seventeen years of age by June 15, 2020.

In addition, they must have a minimum GPA of 3.0.

**Students enrolled high school accelerated programs are ineligible for C-SOAR.


To Apply

To apply, you must complete the standard SIP application and indicate in your cover letter that you are applying for C-SOAR.  The online application is due January 3, 2020  Reference letters must be received by January 10, 2020. IMPORTANT: In item 9 on the SIP application SIP Subprogram Selection, please be certain to select C-SOAR.

Watch the YouTube video entitled Successfully Applying to CCSEP.

How will the program work?

The selection committee will review C-SOAR applications, and applicants will be informed of the committee's decisions by the end of February. Applicants who are not selected for this internship will be released into the general pool of applicants for the NIH Summer Internship Program and will be advised about the selection process for SIP to maximize their chances of admission.

Individuals who are selected for the C-SOAR will be matched with NIH principal investigators (PIs) who have indicated their interest in hosting a C-SOAR student. Every effort will be made to match the research interests the applicant describes in the application with the principal investigator's ongoing projects. C-SOAR applicants should not contact NIH intramural scientists to discuss placements on their own.

ALL interns in the C-SOAR program will be required to be on campus during the core program period: from June 1, 2020 to August 7, 2020. The possibility of remaining at the NIH for a short time after August 9th can be negotiated between the C-SOAR intern and the PI.  Summer internships are full-time positions; interns are expected to devote a minimum of 40 hours per week to their projects and training. In return, interns receive a stipend, determined by educational level. Funds for local transportation to and from the NIH will be provided as well.

Table comparing C-SOAR and other summer programs at the NIH

Support for C-SOAR is generously provided by the NIH Office of Research on Women's Health, the NIH Office of AIDS Research, and the Foundation for Advanced Education in the Sciences.