Participating in research can help you decide whether a PhD is right for you and, if you do apply, makes you a stronger applicant. If you are looking for a short-term research experience, consider a paid summer internship organized by GSAS, Harvard departments, and Harvard-affiliated teaching hospitals. GSAS also offers a post-baccalaureate program, which enables college graduates to take part in a long-term research experience.
Summer Research Opportunities at Harvard (SROH)
Summer Research Opportunities at Harvard (SROH) is a 10-week research program for currently-enrolled undergraduates who are considering PhD careers in the humanities, social sciences, and life or physical sciences who have already completed at least one upper-level course in their field of study. SROH interns conduct research with Cambridge-based Harvard faculty and participate in discussions with faculty, build their presentation and research discussions skills, and take part in field trips with other Harvard summer programs. Students in the program live in Harvard housing.
SROH provides all research and course-related expenses, room and board, travel to and from the program, and a stipend. US citizenship or permanent residency is required. The program is funded by GSAS, Harvard Molecules, Cells, and Organisms, and the Leadership Alliance.
Other Harvard Programs
Center for Astrophysics Solar Research Experience for Undergraduates Program
Scientists from the Solar and Stellar X-Ray Group and the Solar, Stellar, and Planetary Group at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) host undergraduate students from around the US in the CfA Solar REU Program. For 10 weeks, these students will participate in cutting edge astronomical research about the Sun and the heliosphere and learn the skills necessary for a successful scientific career. Projects range from data analysis to computer modeling to instrument building. Special seminars will be held to increase students’ public speaking and computer programming skills. Students will learn from experience about scientific research and how to apply their academic work to real-world problems. Of course, some time will be devoted to exploring Cambridge and the surrounding area.
Harvard-Amgen Scholars Program
Harvard-Amgen Scholars conduct novel biotechnology-focused research with Harvard scientists over the course of a 10-week summer internship. Harvard-Amgen Scholars interact closely with faculty through scholarly and pre-professional development activities, including a Distinguished Faculty Lecture Series and the Biotechnology Journal Club. They also gain critical exposure to tools for effective science communication, proposal writing, and graduate school preparation while exploring the Boston area through a variety of social activities and outings. Currently enrolled undergraduates interested in pursuing a bioscience PhD or an MD/PhD are eligible, especially those from underrepresented and diverse backgrounds. US citizenship or permanent residency is required. Housing, travel, meal allowance, and a stipend are included.
Harvard Stem Cell Institute Internship Program
The Harvard Stem Cell Institute Internship Program (HIP) provides an opportunity for undergraduates to gain direct experience in stem cell research while working in a Harvard Stem Cell Institute laboratory under the supervision of an experienced researcher. Interns participate in a stem cell seminar series and a career pathways presentation, and present their summer research findings during the HIP Symposium. Candidates must express a strong interest in stem cell biology, but do not necessarily need previous lab experience. Approximately 35 students are selected for 10-week internships. A stipend is provided, and interns may elect to live in Harvard University housing for the duration of the program. International visas will be sponsored.
Research Experience for Undergraduates at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
The Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) is a 10-week program that introduces undergraduates to bioengineering, materials research, nanoscience, and engineering, while providing a coordinated, educational, and dynamic research community that inspires them to seek a graduate degree. REU students work on projects at the Materials Research Science and Engineering Center, the Center for Nanoscale Systems, the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, and other Harvard-based engineering and science entities. Professional development workshops, faculty seminars on research and ethics, and community activities are also integrated into the program. Housing, travel, and a stipend are provided.
Harvard Forest Summer Research Program in Ecology
The Harvard Forest Summer Research Program in Ecology is an 11-week research program that allows students to participate in ongoing research at the Harvard Forest in Petersham, Massachusetts. Projects focus on the effects of natural and human disturbances on forest ecosystems, including global warming, hurricanes, forest harvesting, and invasive organisms. Researchers come from many disciplines, and specific studies center on population and community ecology, paleoecology, land-use history, aquatic ecology, biochemistry, soil science, ecophysiology, and atmosphere-biosphere exchanges. Students work with mentors from Harvard and collaborating institutions. Responsibilities may include field sampling, laboratory studies, data analysis, and scientific writing. In addition, students attend seminars given by nationally-known scientists and workshops on career and graduate school preparation. At the end of the summer, students develop their research results, prepare an abstract, and present their findings at a student research symposium. Housing, travel, meals, and a stipend are provided.
The Banneker Institute and Aztlán Institute Summer Program
The Banneker Institute and Aztlán Institute summer program is a full-time, ten-week research and study experiences. We prepare undergraduate students of color for top graduate programs in astronomy. The programs run simultaneously, focusing on research, professional training, and social justice education. We offer housing, a competitive stipend, and reimbursement for travel. Our programs target undergraduate juniors from backgrounds historically marginalized from academia and the astronomical sciences in particular. While we accept students from all backgrounds, our application review process considers historical injustices and the tendency for traditional application review practices to reproduce racial disparities in academia.
Programs at Harvard Medical School
Summer Honors Undergraduate Research Program (SHURP) at Harvard Medical School
Summer Honors Undergraduate Research Program (SHURP) is a 10-week summer research program primarily for college students belonging to groups that are underrepresented in the sciences. In addition to laboratory-based research with Harvard Medical School (HMS) faculty, the program includes research and career development seminars and a peer mentoring program. Stipend, housing, and travel to/from the program are provided. Administered by the Division of Medical Sciences (PhD programs office) at HMS, SHURP is offered for currently-enrolled undergraduates who are considering careers in biological or biomedical research sciences, who have already had at least one summer (or equivalent term-time) of experience in a research laboratory, and who have taken at least one upper-level biology course that includes molecular biology. US citizenship or permanent residency is required.
Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology Summer Scholars Program
The Department of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology Summer Scholars Program offers research internships focused on molecular mechanisms in biology to motivated science undergraduates with a strong interest in pursuing graduate studies. Based at Harvard Medical School, the program gives students the opportunity to gain hands-on experience with laboratory research while interacting with faculty, postdoctoral fellows, graduate students, and other interns. They also attend weekly presentations by department members on specific research projects and tools, while working to improve their presentation, writing, and communication skills. Participating laboratories cover a broad range of basic and disease-oriented research topics using the analytical tools of biochemistry, molecular genetics, biophysics, chemical biology, and structural biology. Faculty research interests include: gene expression; DNA replication, recombination, and repair; structure and function of proteins and protein-RNA complexes; virus-host cell interactions; antibiotic and natural product synthesis; and computational approaches in structural biology. Students are provided with a stipend but are responsible for arranging their own travel, housing, and meals.
Department of Biomedical Informatics and Health Sciences and Technology Summer Institute in Biomedical Informatics and Optics
The Health Sciences and Technology Summer Institute in Biomedical Informatics and Optics, a program of Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology, sponsored by the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation, is a nine-week program that offers students a mentored research internship, which includes didactic classroom lectures with nationally-known leaders in all areas of biomedical informatics, as well as a communications tutorial. The ideal applicant is an undergraduate with a strong quantitative background interested in biomedicine or in the translation of computational methods to engineering/software applications in medicine, who aspires to contribute translational advances to biomedicine with a PhD, an MD/PhD, or a research-oriented MD. Research mentors from Harvard Medical School, including Harvard’s teaching hospitals, the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, and MIT are carefully matched to student interest and expertise. Stipend, travel, and housing in MIT dorms are provided.
Sponsored by the NIH-funded BD2K (Big Data to Knowledge) program, The Health Sciences Summer Institute is conducted in partnership with Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology, Massachusetts General Hospital, and the Department of Bioinformatics at Harvard Medical School.
Four Directions Summer Research Program at Harvard Medical School
The Four Directions Summer Research Program is offered to Native American undergraduate students and is run by Native American medical student members of the Native American Health Organization at Harvard Medical School (HMS). Established in 1994, the Four Directions Summer Research Program welcomes applicants interested in familiarizing themselves with the medical and research community at HMS who are seriously committed to helping their native communities. Interns engage in a wide range of research activities, work closely with advisors, and participate in career seminars about MD and PhD admissions and programs.
Summer Clinical and Translational Research Program at Harvard Medical School
The Summer Clinical and Translational Research Program is a 10-week mentored summer research program designed to enrich the understanding of undergraduate students—especially those from underrepresented minority and economically disadvantaged groups—in clinical or translational research. In addition to a mentored clinical/translational research experience, students participate in weekly seminars with Harvard faculty and graduate students, focused on topics such as research methodology, health disparities, ethics, career paths, and the graduate school and medical school application process. Interns also participate in offerings in other Harvard Medical School programs that include career development seminars and networking dinners. Program participants are provided housing, a stipend, and financial assistance of up to $500 toward travel expenses. Eligible candidates are undergraduate sophomores, juniors, and seniors with US citizenship.
Summer Undergraduate Program in Immunology at Harvard Medical School
The 10-week Summer Undergraduate Program in Immunology exposes undergraduate students to current topics in immunology. Students participate in a combination of weekly lectures and laboratory work with faculty, graduate students, and postdoctoral fellows from the Harvard Medical School Immunology Graduate Program. Participants from colleges in which the topic is not taught or presented in depth are especially welcome, and individuals from underrepresented minority groups are especially encouraged to apply. Preference will be given to students who are in their sophomore or junior year. Students are provided with a stipend. This program is unable to give assistance with travel, living arrangements, and visas.
Systems Biology Summer Internship Program
This 10-week paid Systems Biology Summer Internship Program enables interns to work on research projects spanning many fields of science, from biology (including systems biology, biophysics, bioinformatics, and genomics) to applied mathematics and computation. Participants learn a range of cutting-edge techniques in the exciting and dynamic research environment offered by the FAS Center for Systems Biology and the Department of Systems Biology at Harvard Medical School. Participants must be US citizens or permanent residents. Individuals from underrepresented minority and economically-disadvantaged groups are especially encouraged to apply.
Newborn Medicine Summer Student Research Program
The newborn medicine summer student research program is sponsored by the Harvard Program in Neonatology for students interested in clinical aspects and research in Newborn Medicine. During the 8-12 week program, students are guided by faculty and fellow mentors from the program with the goal of providing undergraduate and medical school students with intensive clinical and laboratory research. As part of the program, the students will have the opportunity to observe newborn care in the hospital nurseries, clinics, and neonatal intensive care units. Partial funding is available for students participating in the program.
Harvard Summer Research Program in Kidney Medicine
The Harvard Summer Research Program in Kidney Medicine (HSRPKM) is an 8-week research-based experience that provides undergraduate students interested in science or medicine an introduction of nephrology and an overview of basic and clinical science. At the end of the program, students will have the opportunity to present their research at a national student symposium. The program is based at Harvard medical school and provides housing and a stipend to participants. Students must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents to participate in the program. Although research experience is preferred, it is not required.
Programs at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health
Summer Program in Biological Sciences in Public Health
The Summer Program in Biological Sciences in Public Health at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health recruits undergraduates belonging to underrepresented groups for graduate-level training leading to research careers in the biological sciences. This eight-week, laboratory-based, biological research program exposes college science students who have completed their sophomore or junior years to the rewards of laboratory research directed towards solving important public health problems, such as infections (malaria, TB, parasites), cancer, lung diseases, multifactorial, multigenic, and common diseases of aging, diabetes, and obesity. Scientific approaches include regulation of cell growth and gene regulation; cellular metabolism; DNA modification; cellular signaling; and structure-function analyses.
Summer Program in Epidemiology
The Summer Program in Epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health is an intensive four week introduction to Epidemiology, Biostatistics, and research methods in relevant areas of interest, such as Cancer Prevention, Infectious Disease, Epidemiologic Methods, etc. The program recruits undergraduates (and recent graduates not admitted to a graduate program) belonging to underrepresented groups for graduate level training. Aside from the introductory courses in Epidemiology and Biostatistics, students will participate in evening faculty lectures, a faculty or post-doctoral fellow led research project, and networking opportunities with current graduate students and faculty. The program covers travel, lodging, a stipend for living expenses, and frequent meals.
Multidisciplinary International Research Training (MIRT) Program
MIRT is a national program designed to encourage students to pursue careers in biomedical and behavioral research providing support for undergraduate and graduate students to do health-related population-based research and training in developing countries including in Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Vietnam, Thailand, Republic of Georgia, Peru, Mexico, Ecuador, Chile, and Australia. Trainees get knowledge of scientific literature associated with projects, biomedical research ethics, and cultural aspects with a focus on how these aspects affect public health issues as well as scientific and medical issues. Research opportunities are designed collaboratively with faculty in these institutions to address health and health disparities pertinent to their countries.
Summer Program in Biostatistics & Computational Biology at the Harvard School of Public Health
The Summer Program is an intensive 6-week introduction to biostatistics, epidemiology, and public health research. Based at the Harvard School of Public Health, this program is designed to introduce qualified undergraduates and post-baccalaureates to the use of quantitative methods for biological, environmental and medical research purposes, and to demonstrate the application of quantitative methods to the study of human health.
Fostering Advancement & Careers through Enrichment Training in Science (FACETS) Program
FACETS is a 6-week summer program based at the Harvard School of Public Health designed to provide participants with exposure to the range and applicability of public health. Participants will receive introductory lectures and coursework in epidemiology and biostatistics from faculty within the Harvard Chan School. Participants will receive a summer salary, housing, and travel funding.
Programs at Harvard’s Affiliated Hospitals
Brigham Research Institute’s Undergraduate Research Summer Internship Program
The Brigham Research Institute’s Undergraduate Research Summer Internship Program provides an excellent opportunity for undergraduates across the US to gain a focused, challenging, and hands-on research experience in a basic science or clinical laboratory setting of their choice. Interns can choose from a wide variety of host labs doing exciting work in areas related to cardiovascular, immunology, musculoskeletal, neuro, and sex differences research. During the 10-week internship program, students can take advantage of several educational/career advancement offerings on the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard University campuses while participating in a central curriculum associated with the program. Students will present their research findings in a mini-research symposium at the end of their training period.
Continuing Umbrella of Research Experiences Program at Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center
The Continuing Umbrella of Research Experiences (CURE) program introduces high school and college students from underrepresented minority groups to the world of cancer research. Each year CURE selects several students to participate in full-time summer internships lasting 8 to 12 weeks, with the option to extend up to 2 years. They are assigned individual mentors, who oversee their research and offer guidance. In addition to working on a research project, participants benefit from various program activities, such as a comprehensive orientation, scientific research and professional development seminars, journal club discussions, networking, and social events. Applicants must demonstrate an interest in pursuing a biomedical or health-related research career. Students receive a weekly stipend.
Summer Research Trainee Program at Massachusetts General Hospital
The goal of the Summer Research Trainee Program (SRTP) is to provide underrepresented minority students with an eight-week overview of opportunities available in biomedical research and clinical medicine. Students are assigned to Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) laboratories or clinical sites where they undertake original research projects and prepare oral or written presentations of their work under the mentorship of an MGH investigator. The program is open to underrepresented minority students who have completed at least three years of college or who are first-and second-year medical students; no prior research experience is necessary. Housing, meals, and a stipend are provided. Travel expenses are granted based on demonstrated need.
Summer Training in Academic Research and Scholarship Program at Brigham and Women’s Hospital
The Summer Training in Academic Research and Scholarship (STARS) Program provides underrepresented minority medical and undergraduate students with an opportunity to engage in basic, clinical, and translational research projects during an eight-week summer program at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) and Harvard Medical School (HMS), with the goal of encouraging scholars to pursue advanced medical and graduate-level science training. Interns assist with a research project under the supervision of an HMS faculty mentor while participating in Research 101 education and training sessions, social networking opportunities, weekly roundtables with BWH faculty and the Office for Multicultural Faculty Careers, and community health center/clinic shadowing. Housing, travel, and a stipend are provided.
Exceptional Research Opportunities Program (EXROP)
The exceptional research opportunities program (EXROP) enables exceptional undergraduate students from disadvantaged backgrounds or underrepresented groups in the sciences to have an opportunity to conduct research in the laboratory of an HHMI investigator/scientist over a 10-week period during the summer. Travel, housing, and a stipend are provided by HHMI. Students must be nominated by an HHMI investigator, a faculty member at an active Science Education Alliance school, or a director of an HHMI-funded undergraduate program at a college or university.