Summer is a great time to immerse yourself in a research experience. Whether it’s on campus or at another university, there are many opportunities to participate in summer research experiences. Learn more about how those experiences are structured below.
Depends on the program, but most begin in June and end in early August. Some programs begin later in the summer and can conflict with the start of UCF’s fall semesters – so be careful! Some programs offer flexibility on these dates. Other organizations may even offer year-round programs.
Summer research programs are typically two or three months, but some opportunities are as short as ten days. Programs in the fall and spring can also vary widely in length.
Most applications become available in November and December, and are due between November and March. Many program deadlines fall in February.
Most programs pay a stipend that covers room and board. Many programs cover travel costs (to and from the location) in addition to room and board. Some programs offer unpaid internships for credit (at UCF), while other institutions hire students as hourly employees.
Most opportunities use an online application form, and some require applications to be mailed in along with additional materials. We recommend using the UCF Writing Center and the Office of Prestigious Awards to assist with application preparation. Applications tend to require:
- Relevant academic and research experience (although some programs are for students who are new to research)
- A personal statement (our workshop helps with this)
- Two letters of recommendation
- Current resume
- Government-related opportunities also typically ask for a copy of your birth certificate or other proof of citizenship
National Science Foundation (NSF) – NSF’s Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REUs) are one of the most common types of summer off-campus opportunity; their website has a wide range of opportunities for students.
Nemours Summer Undergraduate Research Program: NSURP is a 10-week, full-time program that offers opportunities consisting of laboratory-based, translational, and clinical biomedical research projects. The available positions are located at 3 Nemours sites (A.I. DuPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, DE. From the DE site, there are occasionally projects based at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, PA; Nemours Children’s Specialty Care in Jacksonville, FL; and Nemours Children’s Hospital in Orlando, FL.)
i3 – iSchool Inclusion Institute of Information Sciences – The iSchool Inclusion Institute (i3) is an undergraduate research and leadership development program that prepares students (in many major) from underrepresented populations for graduate study and careers in the information sciences. It is a yearlong experience that includes two summer institutes hosted by the University of Pittsburgh School of Computing and Information and a research project spanning the year.
Big 10 Academic Alliance Summer Research Opportunities Program – Students can submit one application (that opens in November) for up to 10 universities.
Pathways to Science – Search for paid off-campus research opportunities in all fields, by region or discipline.
The Leadership Alliance – The Early Identification Program is a fully paid summer internship opportunity offered at over 20 institutions across the country, including Harvard, Stanford, the University of Chicago, Vanderbilt University, and Yale University.
Research Internship in Science and Engineering (RISE) – Summer research internship in Germany for most STEM disciplines.
National Institutes of Health Summer Internship Program (NIH SIP) – NIH summer research internships for STEM students.
Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) – Universities associated with the AAMC offer undergraduate researchers interested in medicine and health disciplines with summer research programs.
Summer Health Professions Education Program (SHPEP) – Summer enrichment program designed for students interested in health professions.
For more information about off campus experiences, attend one of our Summer Off-Campus Research Experiences workshops, and explore the various opportunities available across the United States and around the world through one of the databases linked above.
Additionally, UCF’s Office of Undergraduate Research is often sent advertisements for programs from across the country that are seeking applicants. Check out this google drive with information on those programs.
If you are interested in staying on campus or cannot travel for a research experience, consider participating in the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship at UCF or one of the Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) hosted on campus. SURF Fellows are awarded a $2,000 scholarship and spend the summer working in community with other students to present their research at the Summer Undergraduate Research Poster Showcase.