National Institute of Health (NIH) Summer Research Programs

Nature of Research/Program Description: 

The largest summer research program at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is the Summer Internship Program (SIP) in Biomedical Research.  There is a detailed description below.

Other NIH summer research programs are focused on specific health issues and/or target under-represented minorities in the health fields. Each program has its own application process. These programs include:

Summer Internship Program (SIP) 

SIP provides an opportunity to spend a summer working at the NIH side-by-side with some of the leading scientists in the world, in an environment devoted exclusively to biomedical research.The NIH consists of the 240-bed Mark O. Hatfield Clinical Research Center and more than 1200 laboratories/research projects located on the main campus in Bethesda, MD and the surrounding area as well as in Baltimore and Frederick, MD; Research Triangle Park, NC; Hamilton, MT; Framingham, MA; and Detroit, MI.  NOTE: the number of positions in Hamilton, Framingham, and Detroit is limited.

Internships cover a minimum of eight weeks, with students generally arriving at the NIH in May or June. The NIH Institutes and the Office of Intramural Training & Education sponsor a wide range of summer activities including lectures featuring distinguished NIH investigators, career/professional development workshops, and Summer Poster Day.

NIH Summer Internship Program is highly competitive.  In 2013, more than 6300 completed applications were submitted, and about 1000 interns were selected. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis from November through April by scientists in the Institutes and Centers of the NIH.  Individual scientists select their own summer interns and provide their funding; there is no centralized selection process.  For suggestions on how to increase your chances of being offered a position, please read the SIP Frequently Asked Questions.

To increase your chances of being offered a position, please do four things: (1) Watch the new Applying Successfully Video by clicking on the link to the right.  (2) Read the SIP FAQs carefully. (3) Read our suggestions for creating a successful application.  (4) After submitting your application, contact NIH investigators with whom you would like to work and explain why you would be a good addition to their groups.  You can identify NIH investigators with projects that interest you by searching the NIH Intramural Annual Reports. Use the text search feature to find project descriptions that contain the key words you enter.  You can then find contact information for the investigators in the NIH Enterprise Directory.

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NIH Summer Internship Program (SIP):

Other NIH Summer Programs:

Targeted Students: 
General Eligibility Requirements: (note that these vary by program) Students must be at least sixteen years of age or older at the time they begin the program. To be eligible, candidates must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents. U.S. citizens are eligible to apply if they are enrolled at least half-time in high school or an accredited college or university as undergraduate, graduate, or professional students. Students who have been accepted into an accredited college or university program may also apply. Permanent residents must be enrolled in or have been accepted into an accredited institution in the U.S. to be eligible.
Program Time Period: 
Time Period Details: 
Starting in May or June
Application Deadline: 
SIP: March 1
Other Summer Programs: see program for details
Applied Physics
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Cognitive Science
Ecology and Evolution
Environmental Studies
Human Biology
Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology
Physics (Astrophysics)
Physics Education