Summer Research Programs

Summer research programs exist at UC and at research institutions across the nation.

All have a competitive application process that usually opens during winter break and closes between early February and March.

In general, selection is based on letters of recommendation and a personal statement or essay that describes your research interests and/or career goals and/or examples of how you overcame obstacles or worked collaboratively to achieve a goal.

We encourage you to check out our workshops and information sessions that can help you submit a successful application.

Programs are full-time for ten to twelve weeks. Students are given a stipend. Students work on research projects under the guidance of a professor or other research professional.

  • Women in Science and Engineering (WISE): UC Students only. Broad range of research in sciences (e.g., economics, communication). Not funded by tax dollars, so international students qualify.
  • UHP Biomedical Research and Mentoring Program (RaMP): For first and second year students in UC’s University Honors Program interested in biomedical research and related fields.
  • UHP Discover: For students in UC’s University Honors Program (UHP) majoring in arts, humanities, and social science disciplines (including business and education).
  • Protégé: First year UC Engineering majors only. Requires high GPA fall semester of freshman year. Not funded by tax dollars, so international students qualify.

Programs are full-time for ten to twelve weeks. Students are given a stipend. Students work on research projects under the guidance of a professor or other research professional.

National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates

National Science Foundation-sponsored "Research Experiences for Undergrads" or "REUs" are available at nearly all 115 Research-1 institutions in the United States. They pay well and provide housing. Programs include STEM, social science, business, education and more. Explore a complete list at the link above.

UC has NSF REU programs in chemistry and sensory ecology, but since the purpose of the program is to introduce students to new research environments, UC students are not accepted into the programs at UC.

Pathways to Science

Pathways to Science is a research search engine for STEM and AHSS (Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences) majors. Search for paid research opportunities by institution or discipline.

McNair Scholars Program: A multi-term program to support graduate school readiness for students in populations that remain underrepresented in research professions (e.g., underrepresented minorities, students from low-income backgrounds, and first generation college students). McNair students are provided funding to engage in research full-time (during the summer) or part-time (during fall or spring semester).

Criminal Justice Undergraduate Research Program: Students apply in September for participation during the fall and spring semesters.

U.S. Department of Defense

The U.S. Department of Defense provides scholarships and paid research experiences to students who have demonstrated ability and aptitude for excelling in STEM disciplines of importance to national security. For example, seven Bearcats have been awarded the SMART Scholarship for Service since 2010. The award pays up to $30,000 in college expenses throughout a student’s undergraduate and/or graduate career and provides paid research internships in national labs along the way. In exchange for this investment, recipients work for the Department of Defense (in relatively high-paying jobs) after they graduate for the same number of years that they received the scholarship.

Oak Ridge Associated Universities

Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU) is a consortium of PhD-granting institutions that coordinates a number of paid research experiences in national labs and federal institutions. Thousands of opportunities exist for undergradates and recent graduates.

Nuclear Engineering Science Laboratory Synthesis (NESLS) Program

The Nuclear Engineering Science Laboratory Synthesis (NESLS) program, a cooperative research initiative at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), is administered through the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) and geared toward students working in nuclear engineering and science. NESLS offers students on-the-job educational and research opportunities at a multidisciplinary national laboratory. Research areas of interest may include nuclear security technologies; nuclear systems analysis, design and safety; fuels, isotopes, and nuclear materials.

Other features of the internship include:

  • Stipend based on academic status, ranging from $529-$935 per week for full-time; pro-rated for part-time
  • Travel/housing assistance (based on eligibility)
  • Professional development activities
  • Minimum GPA of 3.0/4.0
  • Open to U.S. and eligible international citizenship

To be eligible, students must be enrolled at an accredited U.S. college or university in a nuclear engineering, science, or eligible related degree with a 3.0/4.0 cumulative GPA at the time of appointment. Community college students must be working towards an Associate of Science or Associate of Engineering degree. All awards and active participation in the program are contingent upon security access approval to Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Program application deadlines for both the spring 2019 and summer 2019 internships have passed. If you are intersted in this opportunity for later semesters, please continue to check back for new application deadlines as they are made available.

Visit the Science Education and Workforce Development Programs at Oak Ridge National Laboratory website for information on additional programs that are seeking applicants.

Summer ORISE Fellowship at the CDC

A summer fellowship is available in the Division of Laboratory Sciences (DLS) within the National Center for Environmental Health (NCEH) at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia.

DLS provides laboratory support that improves the detection, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of environmental, tobacco-related, nutritional, newborn, selected chronic and selected infectious diseases. DLS also works to improve the rapid and accurate detection of chemical threat agents, radiologic threat agents, and selected toxins.

Collaborating with a multidisciplinary team, the selected participant will use state-of-the-art laboratory equipment to address topics relevant to public health. This will allow the participant to gain hands-on experience in applied analytical chemistry and enhance their knowledge of its applications to public health.

This opportunity is open to all current undergraduate and graduate students majoring in chemistry. U.S. Citizens only. If you have questions, send an email to CDCrpp@orau.org and include the reference code CDC-DLS-2019-0013 in your message. 

The application deadline for the summer 2019 appointment has passed, please continue to check back as we receive updates for the summer 2020 deadlines.

National Library of Medicine Associate Fellowship Program

The National Library of Medicine Associate Fellowship is a one-year residency program for recent library science graduates interested in a career in health sciences librarianship. The program combines curriculum and project work and is located at the National Library of Medicine on the campus of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland.

The Associate Fellowship provides knowledge and skills in project work ranging from:

  • Fundamentals of data science, and projects in data wrangling, data analysis, data visualization, programming, and data policy
  • Creation of online tutorials and educational videos, conducting user needs assessments
  • Development of an in-depth understanding of the development, production, implementation of NLM product and services

The Associate Fellowship offers opportunities for professional development through:

  • Participation in lectures, exercises, conferences, short and extended visits to other health sciences libraries
  • Workshops on work style, resume review, negotiation, and presentation skills
  • Mentorship from a program coordinator and NLM staff who serve as preceptors

The 2019 application deadline has passed, the 2020 deadline will be posted when it becomes available.

Data Management and Curation Fellowship

The Data Curation and Data Management Fellow at the National Transportation Library (NTL) will have an opportunity to gain hands-on learning and skills in data management and data curation best practices relating to transportation data, including aviation data produced by the BTS offices and US DOT-funded researchers.

The Fellow will learn to create and evaluate data management plans and craft data curation standards, operating plans and policies. The Fellow will learn how to catalog datasets for preservation, conduct data format migration and be exposed to other data services, all within the context of providing access to an entire research or statistical package which will contain data and reports.

Under the guidance of a mentor, opportunities to gain skills and experience may include:

  • Applying data management best practices to high-value transportation datasets, including aviation data
  • Using national and international standards to author metadata documentation
  • Programmatically minting persistent identifiers for datasets
  • Migrating and curating legacy datasets
  • Documenting and cataloging data packages
  • Operating a digital repository
  • Engaging in data management and curation outreach across the US DOT

Geospatial Data Creation and Curation Fellowship at the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT)

Have you ever wanted to influence and improve the effectiveness of geospatial data at the national level? Are you detail-oriented and committed to producing high-quality data products? Join us as we lead the development of new and improved national geospatial transportation products in the era of big data.

As the Geospatial Data Creation and Curation Fellow at the U.S. Department of Transportation, you will learn to create and curate geospatial datasets related to our nation's transportation systems that are used by government officials, researchers and the American people. To achieve your learning objectives, you will have the opportunity to collaborate with those other U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) offices and federal agencies that help maintain geospatial data and analytical capabilities. Your learning opportunities will also include the ability to participate in inter-agency efforts relating to the development and improvement of geospatial data and analytical applications.

More Federal Opportunities