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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.

Summer interns work in a research groups directed by a Principal Investigator (PI). 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.

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.

We also encourage you to pay careful attention to our extensive FAQs to support you in the application process.

Opening and closing dates

The HS-SIP application portal opens in mid-November and closes on Feb 1, 2024.

How to apply

The process of applying includes:

  1. complete the online application which includes:
    1. a resumé
    2. a list of coursework and grades
    3. a cover letter broadly describing your prior research experiences, your current interests and career goals
    4. the names and contact information of three references
  2. 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.

Check back here in mid-November to apply.

Selection process

Applications are reviewed by the IC who select their own summer interns and provide the funding to support them. Successful candidates will be informed by the hiring IC.

Remember that the application and selection process for cohort programs may differ so read information specific to the cohort programs that interest you.


Reach out to us with questions.