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The Summer Internship Program at the NIH

Coming to the Bethesda campus of the NIH for the first time? Watch our new YouTube video, Your First Day at NIH.

If you are in high school, please check out our activities/resources designed specifically with you in mind.

The NIH Summer Internship Program (SIP) provides you with a full-time biomedical research experience.  It is our hope that many of you will decide to include research as an important component of your future career and we hope you will all leave with a deeper understanding of how scientific investigation works and what it entails.  Although research should be your first priority during your stay at the NIH, we encourage you to find the time to participate in career development activities and reach out to the community around you.

Summer interns at the NIH include

  • high school students who are at least 17 years of age by June 15, 2019,
  • college students and individuals who will be starting college in the fall,
  • graduate students (that is, individuals working towards a PhD or master's degree), and
  • professional school (medical, dental, pharmacy, etc) students.

Altogether, the NIH is home to about 1300 interns each summer, all of whom are U.S. citizens or permanent residents.  Interns come from most states and the District of Columbia as well as from Puerto Rico.

The NIH Office of Intramural Training & Education (OITE) works with the Training Offices in the NIH Institutes and Centers (ICs) to ensure that your summer experience is as rewarding as possible.  We aim to help all NIH trainees become creative leaders in the biomedical research community.  In addition to participating in the training activities offered by your IC, please be certain to take advantage of OITE career and professional development activities and the OITE Career Services Center.  A big part of our job is helping you prepare for the next stage in your career.  We can assist you with applying to college or to graduate or professional school, evaluating career options, and improving your communication skills.  You may also be interested in joining one of our summer journal clubs.  In 2018 these small groups will meet weekly during the months of June and July to discuss selected papers in particular research areas.

The Office of Postbaccalaureate and Summer Research Programs (PSRP) in OITE is specifically responsible for summer interns.  When you first arrive at the NIH

  • be sure to attend an OITE workshop entitled "Planning a Successful NIH Summer Internship" (sessions will be held the second, third, and fourth Friday mornings in June; check Upcoming Events for time and place);
  • attend an Orientation in your Institute/Center;
  • read the 2018 Summer Handbook;
  • make certain you are included on the official summer listserv, OITE-SIP and check out other listservs that may interest you;
  • create an "NIH Trainee/Fellow" account for yourself on the OITE website so that you can make appointments with career counselors, register for Summer Poster Day, and access the Alumni Database (IMPORTANT NOTE: you will need a functioning NIH email address to create this account. If your IC or research group will not be providing you with an NIH email address, watch for a message to tell you how to create your OITE website account.);
  • come to Building 2 to meet OITE staff, and drop by your IC Training Office to meet your Program Coordinator and/or Training Director,
  • check out our online resources on topics like "Keeping a Lab Notebook", "Choosing a Mentor", "Writing Professional E-mail", "Lab Math", and "Reading a Scientific Article";
  • if you are new to research, register for the Summer Science Boot Camp to learn about NIH culture and get up to speed on your research skills.  NOTE: do not plan to attend both Boot Camp and "Planning a Successful NIH Summer Internship"; choose one or the other;
  • Register for a Summer Journal Club;
  • Sign up to follow the OITE Careers Blog and get an informative blog post delivered to your email once a week; and
  • Last, but certainly not least, having a community with which to share the NIH experience is often a large part of feeling comfortable here. The NIH is home to many organized communities. Take a moment to check them out.

Important note: should you decide to use social media during the summer, remember that including the NIH name, logo, or images is not allowed.  Only personal email accounts and wording that avoids associating your materials with the NIH are permitted.

Summer activities offered by the PSRP include scientific skills workshops; workshops devoted to getting to graduate school and getting to medical school; and a special series for high school students.  Keep your eyes open for two major summer events: Summer Poster Day, held at the beginning of August, which will allow you to share the results of your research with the NIH community, and the Graduate & Professional School Fair, which is attended by representatives of more than 200 institutions from across the U.S.

Check out the Summer Intern News page.

Getting Started at the NIH

Summer Poster Day Show Cover

Summer Poster Day 2014

View the slide show.

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