Program Description: Summer programs at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) provide 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.
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.
2014 Community College Summer Enrichment Program (CCSEP): In summer 2014, the NIH will again offer a special SIP program designed to recruit community college students to the NIH. Students in CCSEP can take advantage of all the opportunities available to other SIP interns. In addition, they will make a commitment to completing an enrichment curriculum. If you are a community college student and interested, please read about CCSEP.
Eligibility: The Summer Internship Program is for students who are 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.
Stipend Information: The stipends for trainees are adjusted yearly; the level depends on education completed prior to starting at the NIH. For details, see the Trainee Stipends page.
Application Procedure: Prospective candidates must apply online. The application is available from mid-November to March 1. It requires submission of
- a curriculum vitae or resume,
- a list of coursework and grades (please note: no transcripts need to be sent at this time),
- a cover letter describing the applicant's research interests and career goals, and
- the names and contact information for two references.
Candidates may also specify the scientific methodologies or disease/organ systems that interest them.
Selection: The 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.
Candidates will be informed of their selection by the hiring Institute, generally by May 1. Successful candidates will be required to submit the following documentation to their Institute or Center prior to beginning their training:
- Official high school, college, or graduate school transcripts
- Proof of U.S. citizenship or permanent resident status. U.S. citizens may submit a copy of their birth certificate or passport. Permanent residents will need to provide a copy of their alien registration card.