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Research Training

Summer Internship Program (SIP)

This program is available to:

An opportunity for students in college, graduate, and professional school to perform a summer research internship in the Intramural Research Program at the NIH.

About this program

This program is for college, graduate and professional students interested in exploring careers in research and healthcare. 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 the 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.

In addition to an intensive research experience, our summer interns have access to:

We also sponsor a Graduate and Professional School Fair in July and Summer Poster Day in early August, 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 individuals:

  • from racial and ethnic groups that have been underrepresented in biomedical research and healthcare fields
  • with disabilities
  • who are/were Pell Grant-eligible in college
  • who are/were enrolled in Tribal Colleges and Universities, community colleges, Hispanic-serving institutions, or Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs)
  • who identify as LGBTQ+
  • disadvantaged by life circumstances that have negatively impacted their educational opportunities

SIP cohort programs

Our goal is to support diverse students to enter careers in research and healthcare. To help us achieve this, we sponsor summer cohort programs.

Summer interns in these programs  have access to all resources of the broader SIP program and also participate in orientation, leadership, professional development,  and well-being programs as part of a cohort or  learning community. The curriculum of each cohort program is tailored to the educational needs of the group. The OITE provides funding and works with interns in these programs on an appropriate research group placement.  The OITE sponsors the following SIP cohort experiences:

  • CCSEP for students in community college
  • C-SOAR for college students who have limited access to research opportunities during the school year
  • GDSSP for master’s students in data science

Some ICs also sponsor SIP cohort programs.

Eligibility criteria

To apply for the NIH SIP, and 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
  • a U.S. citizen or permanent resident


  • enrolled at least half-time in an accredited community college, college, or university as an undergraduate, graduate, or professional school student at the time of application,


  • accepted into an accredited graduate program for the fall semester with the expectation of attending at least half-time. High school graduates who completed a gap year and are starting community college or college in the fall, are also eligible to apply.

Individuals who are U.S. permanent residents must be attending or have been accepted into educational institutions in the U.S.

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.  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:

We also encourage you to learn more about:

Watch this 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.

If you decide the NIH SIP is right for you, pay careful attention to our extensive FAQs to support you in the application process.

Opening and closing dates

The SIP application portal opens in mid-November and closes on March 1, 2024. You greatly increase your chances of getting a position by completing your application and reaching out to potential research groups by mid-January.

How to apply

The process of applying includes these four steps:

  1. Complete the on-line application which includes:
    1. a resumé
    2. a list of coursework and grades
    3. a cover letter broadly describing your research experience, current interests and career goals
    4. the names and contact information of three references
  2. Search databases and develop a list of PIs in the Intramural Research Program whose work interests you. Note that some PIs may reach out to you to see if you are interested in working in their group.
  3. Send personalized emails to PIs expressing interesting in their research group and highlighting why you are a strong candidate for their program.
  4. Interview, virtually or in-person

Please read information on finding mentors in the Intramural Research Program provides important information on how to find research groups and factors to be aware of as you interview and consider positions. We also encourage you to pay careful attention to our extensive FAQs to support you in the application process.

Check back here in mid-November to apply.

Selection process

There is no centralized selection process; applications are reviewed by individual PIs who select their own summer interns and provide the funding to support them. PIs begin interviewing candidates and offering positions in early January and the selection process is completed by April 30. Successful candidates will be informed by their PI and on-boarding paperwork will be done by the hiring IC.

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


Reach out to us with questions.