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Research Training

High School Summer Internship Program (HS-SIP)

This program is available to:

An opportunity for high school students to spend a summer working in the Intramural Research Program at the NIH.

About this program

This program is for 11th and 12th graders interested in exploring careers in research and healthcare. With the exception of the HiSTEP program, these are full-time research positions within one of the NIH Institutes and Centers (IC) in the NIH Intramural Research Program. Research groups are located on all NIH campuses, including the main campus in Bethesda, MD.

High school summer interns are selected by a central committee in each Institute/Center and placed in a research group to work under the supervision of a Principal Investigator (PI). HS-SIP applicants should not contact NIH investigators directly to explore possible positions.

We offer research opportunities in biomedical, behavioral, and social sciences with opportunities to explore basic, translational, and clinical research. Students interested in biology, engineering, epidemiology, psychology, mathematics, chemistry, pharmaceutical sciences, nursing, physics, computer science, bioinformatics, and other health-related fields are invited to apply. Summer interns may not work in administrative offices or outside of the NIH IRP.

All NIH summer interns have access to:

We also sponsor Summer Poster Day, where our interns share their research with the NIH community.

Diversity and inclusion

Diversity strengthens our community. We welcome applicants from diverse backgrounds and strongly encourage applications from:

  • people from racial and ethnic groups that have been underrepresented in biomedical research and healthcare fields
  • people with disabilities
  • people who identify as LGBTQ+
  • people disadvantaged by life circumstances that have negatively impacted their educational opportunities.

HS-SIP cohort programs

Our goal is to support diverse students to enter careers in research and healthcare. To help us achieve this, we sponsor two cohort programs for high school students. Interns in these cohort programs have access to all resources of the broader HS-SIP program and also participate in orientation, leadership, professional development, and well-being programs as part of a learning community. The curriculum of each cohort program is tailored to the educational needs of the groups and includes a focus on science, professional, and personal skill development. The OITE sponsors two HS-SIP cohort experiences:

  • HiSTEP for current high school juniors who will be rising 12th graders in the summer; this is a part-time program and interns do not work in NIH research groups.
  • HiSTEP 2.0 for current high school seniors; this is a full-time program and interns are placed in an NIH research group.

Eligibility criteria

To apply for the NIH HS-SIP, and HS-SIP cohort programs, you must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. In addition, you must:

  • Be 17 years of age or older on June 15, 2024.
  • Be enrolled in high school as a junior or senior when you submit your application. U.S. citizens may apply if they are enrolled at least half-time in high school. U.S. permanent residents must be enrolled in a high school in the U.S. to be eligible.
  • If you are under 18 years old by June 15, live within 40 miles of the NIH campus on which you will intern when you submit your application.

Applicants with a family member working at NIH should be aware of the strict nepotism policy, which may limit your ability to work in certain NIH institutes, centers, or research groups.

Stipend and other compensation

Stipends for summer interns are adjusted annually and are based on educational level. There is free parking on each NIH campus; summer interns on some campuses may be eligible to participate in the Transhare program.

All summer interns must present proof of health insurance to participate in the program.

Before you apply

The decision to come to the NIH as a summer intern is an important one.  In most cases these are full-time research positions, and it is not possible to take summer classes or tend to other responsibilities during work hours.

Research groups are located on several different NIH campuses, including the main campus in Bethesda, MD. Before you begin your application, we encourage you to learn more about:

Watch this important video before applying. It talks about the program and provides a framework for deciding if the program is right for you. It also discusses the application process and provides information on finding appropriate research groups.

How to apply

Opening and closing dates

The HS-SIP application is currently closed.

The HS-SIP application closed on Friday, February 16, 2024 at noon ET.
Reference letters are due before Friday, February 23, 2024 at noon ET.

Complete your application

You must use the NIH Application Center to apply for this program:

  1. After you complete the required sections of your profile, you will be asked to select a preferred program. Choose 'Summer internships for high school students'.
  2. You must select 'Apply' next to ‘High School Summer Internship Program’ for your application to be considered for this program.
  3. Ensure that you are eligible for this program before clicking 'Start Application.'
  4. To complete your application, import any relevant information from your profile. You must also submit:
  • Coursework & Exams - a list of coursework and grades
  • CV/Resume - a list of your education, experience, and other relevant history (see an example resume)
  • References - the names and contact information of two references
  • Letter/Statement - a cover letter broadly describing your prior research experiences, your current interests and career goals.

5. Review all of your materials carefully before you submit your application

HS-SIP applicants should not reach out directly to NIH Principal Investigators since HS-SIP selections are made centrally by the HS-SIP summer coordinator in each Institute/Center (IC). Reach out to the HS-SIP coordinator in the NIH IC you want to work. Follow the guidance they provide, as the application process differs in each IC.

The HS-SIP application is currently closed.

Selection process

Applications are reviewed by the NIH Institute/Center (IC) who select their own summer interns and provide the funding to support them. Successful candidates will be informed by the hiring IC. Many NIH research groups are unable to accommodate high school students due to safety concerns, and the acceptance rate of HS-SIP is ~7%. Therefore, we strongly encourage applicants to seek other internship and employment opportunities.

Have questions?

Check out our extensive frequently asked questions list to support you in the application process.