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A Pre-Med's Guide to Summer Research Programs

A great way to spend the summer as a pre-med student is by participating in a summer undergraduate research program. While some specific programs target students with no prior research experience, many of these programs are useful for those who are already involved in research at their respective undergraduate institutions but also wish to (1) explore a different field of research, or (2) pursue a specific area within their existing field of research.

While these programs serve as great additions to your resume, they also provide the opportunity to explore a new city, meet peers with similar research interests, and expose you to a network of professionals that can serve as mentors in your research area.

Below is a basic guide intended to make the decision to participate in a summer undergraduate research program that much easier!


1. Most programs run anywhere from 8-12 weeks and start between late May-June and end anywhere from July-early September.

2. The programs usually provide a weekly stipend for living, travel, and food expenses.

3. Housing is usually provided, but be sure to check the specific program you intend to apply to for information on housing.

4. Some programs provide seminars, workshops, and social activities throughout the summer as enrichment to the program.

5. Most programs require that you present your research at a symposium at the end of the summer. Depending on the program, sometimes you may be required to present at an additional conference during the school semester.


1. Curriculum Vitae or Resume

2. Letters of Recommendation

These programs usually request two (2) letters of recommendation from professors that can confidently speak to your interest in and commitment to research in the area to which you are applying.

3. Transcript(s)

Some programs will accept an electronic form of your transcript while others will request an official transcript to be submitted.

4. Statement of Interest

These programs will most likely ask you to submit a statement of interest with a specified word count. In this statement, you are usually asked to provide a description of your previous research experience, any current research projects you are working on, what your long-term goals are, and how this specific experience will help with achieving those goals.

5. Eligibility and Other Requirements

Eligibility requirements often include:

  • that you have US citizenship or permanent resident status

  • rising Juniors or Seniors (and sometimes rising Sophomores)

  • minimum GPA (some require a GPA >3.0 while others require a GPA >3.5)


1. These programs are highly competitive, so apply to as many programs as (reasonably) possible.

Many of these programs accept a small number of students (less than 20) from a large pool of applicants (over 500). You increase your chances of participating in a program by increasing the number of programs you apply to.

2. Don't overlook programs at smaller, lesser known institutions.

You can still learn a lot and have an invaluable summer experience even if you don't get accepted to a program at a large, well-known school.

3. Start early.

There are quite a few application materials (as outlined above) so you'll want to give yourself as much time as possible to gather them. Additionally, some programs have rolling acceptances, so applying early can only increase your chances of being selected.

4. Be on the look-out for programs that encourage specific demographics to apply.

Some of these include: women, students with disabilities, and underrepresented minority students (defined by NSF as African American/Black, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian, Alaska Native, and Pacific Islander).


Check out these websites to find extensive lists of research programs offered during the summer across the nation:



2. National Science Foundation


3. Pathway to Science


4. Summer Health Professions Education Program


5. AMGEN Scholars Program


You can also visit the websites of specific institutions you are interested in to see what programs they may offer during the summer.

Remember that MINT Admissions is here to help! Consider purchasing our Medical-Ivy Package (coming soon!) so that you can work with one of our amazing Admissions Consultants to craft an Ivy-League application. If you have questions about any of our services, feel free to email us at info@mintadmissions.com.