Finding Research Opportunities

There are many opportunities for Harvard undergraduates, regardless of previous experience, to conduct research in any discipline. Becoming knowledgeable about your personal goals and research opportunities will help you identify what kind of research you wish to pursue. Use the tabs below to get specific tips about research opportunities at Harvard, elsewhere in the US, and abroad.

Your success in finding a research opportunity will depend on your ability to be proactive, build faculty relationships, and use key resources. However, at times, research opportunities won't perfectly match your expectations, so while it is important to chart your personal goals and interests, it is equally important to remain flexible and open-minded through the process. Good luck!

Search the Funding Source Database and CARAT (Centralized Application for Research and Travel)

There are many avenues through which to pursue research at Harvard. Some of the more common ones are listed below, along with tips about how to explore these options.

Harvard-based research options

Course-based Research

Courses (existing or independent study). Many existing courses at Harvard and neighboring institutions  (where you can cross-register) have a strong research component. Furthermore, you can design an independent study course. To explore both options, the best place to start is with a concentration adviser knowledgeable about course offerings and policies in that concentration. Visit the Advising Programs Office to connect with undergraduate concentration advisers.

Thesis Research
Each concentration has its own requirements for thesis research, including topics allowed, prerequisites, timing, and who can supervise your work. If you are interested in thesis research, connect with advisers appointed by the concentrations for guiding undergraduates (information about concentration advisers can be found here). Also, check out our tips on how to effectively reach out to faculty.

Research Assistantships
There are many opportunities at Harvard and at neighboring institutions to work as a research assistant on an existing project. A research assistantship can be a great opportunity for students with little experience to get their first exposure to research. When searching for a research assistantship opportunity, don't forget to check with research centers on campus as well as with nearby hospitals and research groups, in addition to faculty and grad students. If you have never contacted research investigators before, check out our tips on how to effectively reach out to researchers.

Research Programs
There are many programs at Harvard that offer structured research opportunities for undergraduates in a variety of fields. They are usually offered on an annual basis, with pre-set start- and end-times, and require formal applications with strict deadlines. Structured research programs often include various forms of support (e.g. stipends, accommodation, etc.) as well as opportunities for fellowship, community-building and intellectual growth. Harvard has provided CARAT to help aggregate some of these programs. You should also consult faculty advisers, concentration advisers, and academic advisers to identify a program that fits with your interests and needs. Below is a sample of some of the research programs at Harvard.



There is a vast number of research opportunities for undergraduates in the United States. Many opportunities are offered through academic institutions, while others are affiliated with federal agencies, non-profit organizations, professional organizations, and the private sector. 

University Research

Full-time student research in the United States usually takes place over the summer, when students can fully dedicate themselves to a project. While some students will remain at Harvard over the summer to conduct research, others will choose to live at home. There are many structured, funded programs for undergraduates in the United States (e.g. REUs, but also plenty of worthy opportunities without the benefit of integrated funding. (Especially if a project has little or no funding available to support the student researcher, living at home may help make this a financially viable option.) *Note on faculty-mentorship: While many students do non-Harvard-affiliated research in the U.S., it is critical to find a Harvard-based mentor to guide you throughout the process. Such mentors can help you locate opportunities and successfully obtain a position, and -- equally importantly -- help you integrate this experience into your overall intellectual, personal, and professional growth afterwards.

Additional Options

Some students pursue research as part of an internship with a government agency, think-tank, advocacy-group, industry or private sector organization. Make sure to consult with OCS if you’re interested in research-focused internships. There are also many other options available for domestic research, and it is impossible to enumerate these comprehensively. Locating an appropriate opportunity will require numerous conversations with faculty and mentors at Harvard as well as independent research on your own: searching databases (like the ones given below) and even conducting Google searches (with parameters specifying locations and topics of interest to you).

*Note on funding for non-Harvard domestic research: Harvard funding is limited for non-Harvard affiliated domestic research opportunities. Many of Harvard’s research-focused funds are intended to support students’ interactions with Harvard-affiliated researchers or are meant to support international experiences. However, if the research dovetails with your concentration studies or a research center’s mission, there may be ways of finding Harvard-based funding for such research. You can also explore non-Harvard funding sources. For tips on how to locate such research support, consult the section on Finding Research Funding.


Below are some databases to get you started, and a sampling of opportunities, to give you a flavor of the many options available.

Research Opportunities Databases

Government Research Opportunities

Critical Skills Internship Opportunities- Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Participants gain hands-on research experience and the opportunity to apply learned theory to real life problems

Internship and Fellowship Opportunities in Science
Database of opportunities

Los Alamos National Laboratory- Los Alamos, NM
Provides students with relevant research experience while they are pursuing an undergraduate degree

National Cancer Institute's Summer Cancer Research Fellowship/Internship Program- Various Locations
Provides a unique opportunity for eligible sophomore or junior college students to engage in innovative approaches to cancer research through the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) Integrative Cancer Biology Program (ICBP)

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases - Bethesda, MD
Students are offered the unique opportunity to join one of NIAID’s research laboratories for an internship with a minimum of 8 consecutive weeks

National Science Foundation Science & Technology Centers, Summer Internships- Various Locations
An opportunity to gain hands-on research experience in a cutting edge field, in the biological sciences, computer and information sciences, engineering, geosciences, and mathematical and physical sciences

NASA, All NASA Education Projects - Various Locations
List of education opportunities at NASA

National Institute of Health, Summer Internship Program in Biomedical Research - Various Locations
Provide the 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

DOE Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internships at Oak Ridge National Laboratory - Oak Ridge, Tennessee
Opportunities to participate in research in a broad range of science and engineering activities related to basic sciences, energy, and the environment

Research at NASA's Glenn Research Center - Cleveland, OH
Mentor-guided internships to provide hands-on, real-life, career-related experiences that provide practical application that complements and expands upon students’ academic education

Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internships - Various Locations
Places students in paid internships in Science and Engineering at any of several Department of Energy facilities, different laboratories each offer different research opportunities

Summer Internships in Science and Technology - Batavia, Illinois
Internships offer a chance for students to work with Fermilab scientists or engineers on a project within the context of laboratory research

The Goddard Space Flight Center's (GSFC) Internship
The Goddard Space Flight Center's (GSFC) internship opportunities are designed to provide students with experiences that motivate and prepare them for careers aligned with NASA Goddard science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), business, legal, industrial management, education, communications and its industry and university partners

U.S. Department of Homeland Security - Various Locations
Provides students with the opportunity to conduct research in DHS mission-relevant research areas at federal research facilities.

Research Experiences for Undergraduates: National Science Foundation

National Science Foundation REU Opportunities - Various Locations

CyberInfrastructure for Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets REU - Various U.S. Locations
Provides the opportunity for undergraduate students to conduct research on topics of global significance. Students work closely with faculty advisors and other student researchers.

Mathematics Research Experience for Undergraduates - Cal State Channel Islands
A Research Experience for Undergraduates to work with faculty mentors, exploring the world of mathematical research in an eight-week residential summer program.

Medical Informatics Program (MedIx) - Chicago, IL
The main objectives are to encourage talented undergraduates to pursue graduate education and to expose students to interdisciplinary research, especially at the border of information technology and medicine.

NanoJapan: Summer Nanotechnology Research Internship Program - Various locations in Japan
The NanoJapan IREU is a twelve-week summer program that annually selects science and engineering students from US universities for nanotechnology research internships in Japanese university and government laboratories.

National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network REU - Multiple Locations in the U.S.
Students will receive hands-on nanoscience and technology experience through research with applications to bio-engineering, chemistry, electronics, materials science, optics,opto-electronics, physics, and the life sciences.

Northwestern University Materials Research Science & Engineering Center - Evanston, IL
The Northwestern University Materials Research Science & Engineering Center offers a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program over a 9-week period each summer.

NSF Summer Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Program in Cell, Developmental, and Evolutionary Biology
Individual research projects in one of ~30 faculty laboratories in the Departments of Integrative Biology, Molecular & Cell Biology and Plant & Microbial Biology at the University of California at Berkeley.

Program in Computational Sensing and Medical Robotics (CSMR) - Johns Hopkins University Baltimore, MD
REU students will contribute to specific research projects pursued by faculty and researchers at the Laboratory for Computational Sensing and Robotics. Each student will be a part of a collegial research team, including a faculty project supervisor and a graduate student mentor, and will work on a challenging research project.

Research Experience for Undergraduates Program in Solar and Space Physics - University of Colorado Boulder, Colorado
Students will work with scientists on projects spanning the field of solar and space physics.

SETI Institute's REU program in Astrobiology
Students will work with scientists at the SETI Institute and at the nearby NASA Ames Research Center on projects spanning the field of astrobiology from microbiology to planetary geology to observational astronomy.

Summer Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Program - Chicago Center for Systems Biology
The goal of the ten-week Summer Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program is to provide hands-on scientific research activities in Center laboratories.

SUPERB-CSIS: Summer Undergraduate Program in Engineering Research at Berkeley - Computer Science in the Interest of Society
The research focus of the REU site will be computer science in the context of solving societal problems, including health, national security and technology for underdeveloped countries.

Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship in Information Technology (SURF-IT) - University of California Santa Cruz
A research experience supervised by a UCSC Baskin School of Engineering faculty member. Scholars have weekly meetings focused on graduate school preparation, how to present research results, research ethics, as well as field trips to local neighboring research laboratories.

TRUST-REU (Engineering Summer Apprenticeship)
The program offers a research experience in cyber security and trustworthy systems through an eight-week summer program.

All Sciences

Albert Einstein Summer Undergraduate Research Program - Albert Einstein College of Medicine, NY
An opportunity to conduct original research in a laboratory at one of the world's top-ranking scientific institutions.

Amgen Scholars Program - Various
The Amgen Scholars U.S. Program provides hundreds of selected undergraduate students with the opportunity to engage in a hands-on research experience at some of the nation’s leading educational institutions. Amgen Scholars will have the opportunity to take part in important university research projects, gain hands-on lab experience and contribute to the advancement of science; interact with and receive guidance from faculty mentors, including some of the nation’s top academic scientists; and attend scientific seminars, workshops and other networking events.

California Institute of Technology Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship - Pasadena, CA
Caltech's Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships program introduces students to research under the guidance of seasoned research mentors at Caltech and JPL. Students experience the process of research as a creative intellectual activity.

Committee on Institutional Cooperation Summer Research Program - Champaign, IL
The goal of the program is to increase the number of underrepresented students who pursue graduate study and research careers by preparing undergraduates for graduate study through intensive research experiences with faculty mentors and enrichment activities.

Leadership Alliance - Various Locations
Offers undergraduates, interested in pursuing a PhD or MD/PhD, the opportunity to work for eight to ten weeks under the guidance of a faculty or research mentor at a participating Alliance institution.

Kansas State University, Summer Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program - Manhattan, KS
Gives undergraduates from under-represented groups a first-hand experience with the research process. This experience is designed to help students prepare for graduate school and other advanced study.

MIT Summer Research Program - Massachusetts Institute of Technology Cambridge, MA
This program seeks to identify students who might benefit from spending a summer on MIT's campus, working in a research laboratory under the guidance of experienced scientists and engineers who are MIT faculty members, postdoctoral fellows, and advanced graduate students.

Undergraduate Research Programs at CalTech - California Institute of Technology Pasadena, CA
Provides support for talented undergraduates to spend a summer working in a research laboratory on the Caltech campus.

Quantitative and Physical Science SURF Program - University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, TX
An intensive summer research training experience which leads to an understanding of the planning, discipline, and teamwork involved in the pursuit of basic answers to current questions at the interface of quantitative science and basic biomedical research.

Rockefeller Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship - Rockefeller University, NY
Provides a unique opportunity for undergraduates to conduct laboratory research. SURF students work with leading scientists in a broad range of areas including biochemistry; structural biology and chemistry; molecular, cell and developmental biology; immunology; virology and microbiology; neuroscience; physics; and mathematical biology.

Summer Research Opportunities Program (SROP) - Various Locations
The goal of the program is to increase the number of underrepresented students who pursue graduate study and research careers.  SROP helps prepare undergraduates for graduate study through intensive research experiences with faculty mentors and enrichment activities.

Summer Undergraduate Research Opportunities - University North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Multiple summer research opportunities at the University of North Carolina.

Summer Undergraduate Research Programs - University of Missouri
Programs in animal sciences, biology/biochemistry, plant genomics, and cell & molecular biology

The Center for Language and Speech Processing Summer Internships - Johns Hopkins University
Seeking outstanding members of the current junior class to participate in a summer research workshop on language engineering. Students of Biomedical Engineering, Computer Science, Cognitive Science, Electrical Engineering, Linguistics, Mathematics, Physics, Psychology, etc. may apply.

Undergraduate Student Scholars Program - NIH Center for Molecular Studies in Digestive and Liver Diseases at the University of Pennsylvania
An organized program of summer lectures and presentations combined with basic research experience in the laboratory of an expert investigator. Curriculum is designed specifically for undergraduate students with an interest in biomedical research, with the eventual goal of MD, PhD, or MD-PhD degrees.

Life Sciences

American Heart Association, Founders Affiliate Undergraduate Student Summer Fellowship Program
The goal of this program is to encourage students to pursue careers in cardiovascular research. Research projects with broad relevance to cardiovascular biology and stroke will be considered.

American Society for Microbiology Undergraduate Research Fellowship - Washington, D.C.
The goal of the program is to increase the number of underrepresented undergraduate students who wish to, and have demonstrated the ability to pursue graduate careers in microbiology.

Biomedical Research Apprenticeship Program - Washington University in St. Louis, MO
10-week summer research programs for exceptional students interested in pursuing biomedical research careers.

Center for Systems Biology, Undergraduate Summer Internship Program - Seattle, WA
The Center for Systems Biology provides highly motivated undergraduate students internship opportunities in several Faculty groups.

Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Watson School of Biological Sciences, Summer Undergraduate Research Program - Cold Spring Harbor, NY
Provides a place where young people are instructed in the techniques of modern biology while becoming integrated members of a vibrant scientific community. Students from around the world are accepted to the fully subsidized, 10-week summer program to work with senior Laboratory staff members on independent research projects.

Four Directions Summer Research Program - Harvard Medical School Boston, MA
Students are assigned a medical school faculty mentor who will work closely with the student to ensure completion of a research project over the 8-week summer period.

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center Summer Intern Program - Seattle, WA
Students spend a nine week period as part of a research team after selecting an area of interest, such as: cellular biology, developmental biology, evolutionary biology, genetics, membrane biology, molecular biology, molecular immunology, structural biology, oncogenes, or virology.

GSK Summer Undergraduate Research Program - Gerstner Sloan-Kettering Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, NY
This ten-week research program is designed for undergraduate students who are interested in pursuing a career in biomedically related sciences.

Health Educational Research Opportunity (HERO) - Virginia Commonwealth University
10-week summer research experiences for undergraduate students and first-year medical or dental students. Students have the opportunity to work with VCU faculty on research projects that focus on diseases of the heart, blood vessels, lung and blood, blood resources, and sleep disorders.

Integrated Biological Sciences Summer Research Program - University of Wisconsin, WI
In the Integrated Biological Sciences Summer Research Program, students do independent research projects with faculty mentors for ten weeks in one of seven research areas: Biochemistry/Biophysics, Bioenergy, Cellular and Molecular Biology, Computational Biology & Biostatistics, Ecology, Plants and Environmental Systems, Neurobiology, Virology.

Life Sciences Summer Undergraduate Research Program (LSSURP) University of Minnesota
The University of Minnesota LSSURP oversees and coordinates six life sciences programs. The programs begin with a joint orientation weekend, followed by participation in a 10-week research project under the direction of a University of Minnesota faculty mentor, and numerous special activities focused on professional development as well as social interaction.

Mayo Clinic Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship - Rochester, MN
Is an opportunity to build your skills as a young scientist or test your inclinations toward research.

Medical Scientist Training Program (MD, PHD) - University of Iowa Iowa City, IA
Offers an intensive experience for undergraduates interested in combined MD/PhD training for a career as a physician-scientist. The program provides students with experience in research laboratories and exposure to clinical medicine and medically-relevant research.

National Space Biomedical Research Institute’s (NSBRI) Summer Apprenticeship Program - Various Locations
NSBRI's summer program provides the opportunity for undergraduate, graduate or medical students from across the country to join ongoing project activities and gain hands-on experience in space biomedical research at NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, TX, NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, OH, and NASA Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, CA.

NYU Summer Undergraduate Research Program - New York University School of Medicine, NY
Offers a Summer Undergraduate Research Program for qualified sophomores and juniors who are interested in pursuing M.D., M.D./Ph.D. or Ph.D. degrees and a career in research.

Seattle Biomedical Research Institute, Undergraduate Intern Program - Seattle, WA
An opportunity to spend the summer working with some of the leading scientists in the world, in an environment devoted exclusively to infectious disease research. Each summer, Seattle BioMed will place three highly qualified undergraduate interns at the Institute.

Short-Term Training Program to Increase Diversity in Health-Related Research - Wright State University Dayton, OH
STREAMS is funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health to encourage members of under-represented minority groups and students with disabilities to choose careers in cardiovascular-related research. Students spend 80 percent of their time in the program doing laboratory research under the supervision of a faculty mentor.

Summer Biomedical Training Program - University of Maryland, Baltimore County, MD
Provides biomedical research experiences for undergraduate students, particularly those underrepresented in the field, who are interested in receiving a Ph.D. or M.D./Ph.D. in biomedicine.

Summer Medical and Research Training Program - Baylor College of Medicine, TX
The program is for undergraduate students who are interested in exploring a career in scientific research.

Summer Research Internship Program in Biomedicine - University of Virginia Charlottesville, VA
Offers summer research internship opportunities to qualified college undergraduates considering a career in biomedical research.

Summer Research Program at Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute - Oakland, California
The CHORI Summer Research Program is designed to provide an opportunity for students to immerse themselves fully in the world of basic and/or clinical research for three months during the summer.

Summer Research Program for Undergraduate Minority Students - Tufts University Boston, MA
Provides a mentored, 10-week research intensive experience for undergraduates who are interested in pursuing PhD or MD/PhD training upon completion of the baccalaureate degree.

Broad Summer Research Program (BSRP) - Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard University
Designed for underrepresented minority undergraduate students with an interest in the physical, biological, or computer sciences, engineering, or mathematics and a commitment to research. Students will spend the summer in a laboratory at the Broad Institute, where they will perform original scientific research.

Summer Student Intern Program, Jackson Laboratory - Bar Harbor, Maine
The program focuses on the methods of science and communication. The students work closely with a faculty mentor, participate in active research groups, and conduct their work in a highly interactive and team oriented atmosphere under the guidance of their mentor.

Summer Undergraduate MSTP Research Program (SUMR) – University of Iowa
Offers an intensive experience for undergraduates interested in combined MD/PhD training for a career as a physician-scientist.

Summer Undergraduate Program for Educating Radiation Scientists - University of Pennsylvania, Philedelphia
Looking to attract talented undergraduate students into research careers in the disciplines of radiobiology, radiation physics, cancer biology, cancer imaging or pathophysiology.

Summer Undergraduate Research Program in Molecular and Quantitative & Computational Biology – Princeton University
Provide intensive laboratory research experiences to a select group of undergraduates chosen from a nationwide pool.  Each student joins a research group – headed by a Faculty member – and carries out an original research project.

SURF Program - University of Texas Southwest Medical Center, TX
An intensive summer research training experience designed for college students who are preparing for careers in biological research. Fellows spend ten weeks pursuing individual research projects in the laboratories of UT Southwestern Graduate School faculty members.

Summer Research Opportunities – Duke University Durham, NC
A ten week summer program for research in systems biology.

The Massachusetts Life Sciences Center Internship Challenge - Various Locations, Massachusetts
Facilitates the placement of students and recent graduates who are considering career opportunities in the life sciences in paid summer internships across the state.

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease STEP-UP Program - Various Locations
Provides undergraduate students an opportunity to spend 10 weeks at a university of their choice working with faculty on research projects. Students can work in such areas as diabetes, endocrinology, metabolism, nutrition, obesity, digestive, liver, urologic, kidney and hematologic diseases.

The Stanford Summer Research Program in Biomedical Sciences (SSRP) - Stanford University
A fully funded, eight week, residential internship program combines a rigorous research opportunity with comprehensive mentoring. Aimed at undergraduates who want to prepare for and enter Ph.D. programs in the biomedical sciences.

The University of Maryland School of Public Health Summer Training and Research (STAR) program
Designed to provide traditionally under-represented undergraduate students with 2 consecutive summers of a 10-week research training and career development program to enhance their potential to apply for and complete graduate degrees in biomedical and behavioral science relevant to preventing and treating cardiovascular disease.

UCSF Summer Research Training Program - University of California, San Francisco
College students planning to earn a PhD in the field spend up to 10 weeks working with UCSF faculty members on research projects. Students selected for summer research at UCSF will participate in seminars, lectures, and social events, creating a cohesive community of student researchers.

University of Massachusetts Medical School, Summer Undergraduate Research Program - University of Massachusetts
A non-credit, ten-week, structured research experience. The program consists of "hands-on" laboratory research experience with an investigator serving as a mentor, role model and advisor.

University of Michigan Medical School Undergraduate Research Programs - University of Michigan Ann Arbor, MI
Summer undergraduate research experiences offer students the opportunity to participate in exciting projects, mentored by and working side-by-side with scientists.

University of Rochester Medical Center, Summer Scholars Program
For undergraduate students interested in the Ph.D. degree in the Biological or Biomedical Sciences and for Students with a potential interest in attending graduate school at the University of Rochester.

Physical and Engineering Sciences

Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Space Scholars Program
The Space Scholars Program invites undergraduate, masters, and doctoral students in the areas of science and engineering to participate in a unique summer research internship.

Center for Integrated Access Networks (CIAN) - Various Locations
By facilitating research experiences for undergraduates amongst groups with diverse research capabilities and interests, the program provides learning experiences that encourage students to continue with graduate work in photonics.

Center for Nanoscale Chemical-Electrical-Mechanical Manufacturing Systems - University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Chemistry Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship - University of California, Irvine
Provides a 10-week summer research opportunity for undergraduates to become fully immersed in a wide range of cutting-edge specialized and interdisciplinary research projects.

CRA-W/CDC Distributed Research Experiences for Undergraduates - Various Locations
The Programs goal is to increase the number of women and students from underrepresented groups entering graduate studies in the fields of computer science and engineering. This program matches undergraduates  from groups underrepresented in computing with a faculty mentor for a summer research experience.

IBM Almaden Research Center - San Jose, CA
Involves research in the general area of chemistry and engineering of information technology related materials in partnership with San Jose State University.

Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) - University of Michigan
Provides students with thorough grounding in the tools and best practices of data science and digital assets management.

MIT Lincoln Laboratory Summer Undergraduate Research Program - Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Program participants will contribute to projects and gain experience that complements their courses of study.

NASA Langley Aerospace Research Summer Scholars
The LARSS Program provides paid internship opportunities year round for eligible students during spring, summer, or fall sessions. Participants gain exciting hands-on research experience while working side-by-side with NASA’s finest scientists and engineers who serve as mentors at NASA Langley Research Center.

The NASA Undergraduate Student Research Program - Multiple Locations in the U.S.
Offers undergraduates across the United States mentored internship experiences at NASA Centers and research support facilities. Internships offer NASA research and development opportunities to undergraduate students.

Naval Research Enterprise Intern Program (NREIP)
The Naval Research Enterprise Intern Program (NREIP), provides an opportunity for students to participate in research at a Department of Navy (DoN) laboratory during the summer.

NIST SURFing the Physics Laboratory - Washington, D.C.
11-week Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship program providing hands-on research experience in Atomic, Molecular, Optical, Radiation and Chemical Physics.

Science and Engineering Apprenticeship Program (SEAP) - Office of Naval Research (ONR)
The Science and Engineering Apprenticeship Program (SEAP) provides an opportunity for students to participate in research at a Department of Navy (DoN) laboratory during the summer.

Significant Opportunities in Atmospheric Research and Science - Boulder, CO
Spend ten weeks conducting original research at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) or at laboratories of other SOARS sponsors.

Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) Space Astronomy Summer Program - Space Telescope Science Institute (Baltimore, MD)
The Space Astronomy Summer Program runs ten weeks, and is designed for upper division undergraduates with a strong interest in space astronomy. Students work individually with STScI researchers and staff on research projects.

Stanford Student Undergraduate Laboratory Internship Program (SULI) - Stanford University
An eight week paid internship at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC) in Menlo Park, California. SLAC’s summer internship program offers exciting opportunities for undergraduate students majoring in science or engineering to conduct research.

Stanford Nanofabrication Facility Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Program - Stanford University
An opportunity to spend ten weeks doing research at a state-of-the-art nanotechnology fabrication facility under the direction of faculty research mentors.

STEER Program: Short Term Educational Experiences for Research in Environmental Health Sciences for Undergraduate Students - University of California
Spend eight weeks working with a University of California researcher in a paid summer internship program on how the environment affects human health. Gain valuable experience and join other students who are interested in careers in science working on research projects that could be important for future academic and career opportunities.

Summer Research in Geosciences and Engineering (SURGE) - Stanford University
SURGE is a fully funded 8-week, comprehensive research, training and mentoring summer residential program for rising junior and senior undergraduates. Research areas include the Earth, Energy, and Environmental Sciences.

Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships (SURF) program - Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
The SURF program provides students across all engineering, science and technology disciplines with an intensive research experience, allowing them to work closely with graduate students and professors in their respective schools.

The Seyfert Prize Fellowship for Undergraduate Research - Case Western Reserve University (Cleveland, Ohio)
The Fellowship supports one student each summer to go to Cleveland and work on cutting-edge astronomical research with a CWRU faculty member.

UCLA NSF Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP) Summer Research Scholars - University of California, Los Angeles
Sponsors underrepresented undergraduates and master's students to participate in hands-on research with leading UCLA faculty in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.

Undergraduate Summer Internship in Transportation (USIT) - University of Texas, Austin
The program will offer up to ten selected undergraduate students the opportunity to gain firsthand experience in conducting transportation studies and to actively participate in transportation research with graduate students under the supervision of the Transportation faculty.

University of Colorado SMART Program - Boulder, CO
The program is intended for undergraduate students who are interested in preparing for graduate degrees in science, math and engineering. SMART offers students the opportunity to conduct research under the guidance of a faculty mentor, and participate in workshops designed to strengthen scientific writing and oral presentation skills.

Social Sciences and Humanities

Dumbarton Oaks
A humanities research center, museum, and garden of Harvard in Washington, D.C., offers summer research and conference funding, a wintersession course, and a Fellowship year of humanistic career training and apprenticeship in partnership with other Washington, D.C. museums and cultural institutes.

American Psychological Association - Database of summer research opportunities in psychology

Moore Undergraduate Research Apprentice Program - University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
The Program seeks to increase the number of minorities, as well as others with a demonstrated commitment to increasing diversity, gaining research experience and pursuing doctoral degrees in the natural sciences.

SURP in Educational Psychology-Applied Developmental Science & Education Policy - Curry School of Education, Virginia
An 8-week internship program designed to encourage students from groups traditionally underrepresented in the field of education research to consider careers in academic, policy, or research organizations. Interns will work on research focusing on schools, classrooms, and other youth settings as contexts critical to child and adolescent development.

Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences NSF Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REUs) - Various locations
8 to 10-week summer research programs at various institutions in social sciences, behavioral sciences, or economic sciences. 

Leadership Appliance - Various locations
Summer research programs in many disciplines, including social sciences and humanities. For a breakdown of research sites by discipline, please see this information sheet.

The process of finding research opportunities abroad can vary depending on whether you are taking part in a study-abroad program, a Harvard-based project (including independent-research), or a non-Harvard project.

As part of study-abroad

Harvard offers all students the opportunity to study abroad during term-time as well as the summer. Some study-abroad programs may involve coursework or other activities involving research. If you are interested in exploring a research-intensive study-abroad option, consult with the Office of International Education (OIE), which guides students through the process of funding international programs, funding/academic credit for such experiences, etc.

As part of a Harvard-affiliated project

Students may conduct research abroad as part of an ongoing Harvard-affiliated project. For example, a Harvard faculty member may be conducting research abroad or with international collaborators, and need students to serve as research assistants. Or students may design their own independent research project abroad. (Most commonly, such independent research builds on prior work in a course, or is designed to feed into future coursework or thesis work.) In all such cases -- whether you want to work on a Harvard-affiliated international project, connect with a Harvard project’s international collaborator, or pursue independent research -- the place to find or design such research should begin through conversations with your faculty mentors at Harvard. Locate appropriate mentors (by speaking with concentration advisers and perusing faculty pages) and speak with them about finding/designing such international research experiences. 

Research Assistantship with non-Harvard researchers abroad

It is also possible to find research opportunities with non-Harvard projects abroad. These can be within academic institutions, research centers, government agencies, as well as in industry and the private sector. (Note: A 'research assistantship' may also be referred to as an ‘internship’ when the project involves a government agency, multilateral organization like the UN, or the private sector.) Finding international research opportunities requires you to be creative and proactive:

  • Speak with existing faculty mentors about well-known international research programs;
  • Utilize databases (like PIVOT or EU Sixth Framework Programme) to locate projects in your region of interest;
  • Consult with OCS, if interested in finding internships abroad with a strong research component; and
  • Try Google searches with different parameters, to locate potential projects in locations/topics of interest to you.

Keep in mind: while the project may not be affiliated with Harvard, finding a Harvard-based mentor is critical to locating opportunities, successfully applying for a position, and -- equally importantly -- integrating your learning into your overall intellectual, personal, and professional growth afterwards. Harvard faculty mentors can also help you gauge whether an international opportunity meets Harvard's robust standards. Be wary of any program which asks for a substantial and immediate application fee. 

*Note on funding for international research: While some international research opportunities may provide funding or a stipend, many may not. Fortunately, there are many funding opportunities at Harvard specifically designed to support research abroad. For example, many of the centers and institutes across campus are focused on particular international regions, and are interested in supporting international student experiences related to the center’s mission. Additionally, other funding sources may be specifically earmarked for supporting international experiences in general. For tips on how to locate such research support, consult the section on Funding Considerations.



Below is a brief sample of international research opportunities and programs. This list is meant to illustrate the kinds of options that may be available, but is barely the tip of the iceberg. Follow the tips above to identify other research opportunities abroad.

The CERN Summer Student Program - Geneva, Switzerland
Students selected for the program will spend from the summer working with active research groups at CERN, one of the world’s premier international laboratories.

Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) - Switzerland
The Summer Research Program in Life Sciences and Technology at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), offers an intensive research training opportunity for undergraduate students interested in research careers in life sciences.

École Polytechnique, The Internship Program for International Students - France
Gives undergraduate and graduate students the opportunity to carry out a 3 to 6-month internship in laboratories from Ecole Polytechnique.

Excavations at Tel Dor in Israel - Tel Dor, Israel
Students are instructed in modern archaeological technique and become valued members of an international archaeological team.

Ku Leuven Internships - Leuven, Belgium
This internship allows undergraduate and masters students to conduct scientific research in an international setting. 

Multidisciplinary International Research Training Program (MIRT) - Various Locations
The program provides support for undergraduate and graduate students to do health-related population-based research and training in developing countries.

Nano Japan International Experience for Undergraduates Program - Japan
The NanoJapan program will select up to twelve (12) first and second-year undergraduate engineering or physics students who will be placed in a Japanese research lab.

National Science Foundation International Research Experience for Students Program - Brazil
The purpose of the University of Pittsburgh's IRES program is to create an innovative research experience in sustainable design for a select group of undergraduate engineering students who have high potential to pursue graduate education.

The Pasteur Foundation Internship Program - Paris, France
The Pasteur Foundation created a summer internship program for American undergraduates who wish to pursue a scientific career and to expose them to an international laboratory experience.

Research Internships in Science and Engineering - Multiple locations within Germany
RISE is a summer internship program for undergraduate students from the United States, Canada and the UK in the fields of biology, chemistry, physics, earth sciences and engineering.

Singapore International Pre-Graduate Award - Singapore
Supports short-term research attachments for international students at A*STAR. A unique opportunity for top overseas students to experience the vibrant scientific environment in A*STAR Research Institutes and Consortia. Students will be able to work with distinguished and world-renowned researchers in A*STAR labs.

SIT Study Abroad - Multiple Locations Internationally

The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) Undergraduate Scholarship Program - Germany
Highly qualified undergraduate students are invited to apply for scholarships funding study, senior thesis research and/or internships in Germany.

The Euroscholars Program - Multiple locations in Europe
EuroScholars is a unique study abroad program for advanced students whereby students can conduct research at a high caliber institution while taking a language and culture class.

The Open School of Ethnography and Anthropology - Merida and Piste, Mexico
Provides on-site, hands-on training in ethnography and anthropology

The Netherlands Foundation for Research in Astronomy (ASTRON) and the Joint Institute for VLBI in Europe (JIVE) Summer Research Programme - The Netherlands
The Programme enables astronomy students (graduate or advanced under-graduate) to spend the summer (10-12 weeks) at the Dwingeloo Observatory, conducting astronomical research under the supervision of ASTRON and JIVE staff members.

ThinkSwiss Research Scholarship Program - Multiple Locations in Switzerland
Supports highly motivated and qualified U.S. undergraduate and graduate students to do research at a public Swiss university or research institute for 2 to 3 months.

Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program - RWTH Aachen University
Aims to provide students with the opportunity to carry out their own research projects under the guidance of experienced RWTH researchers.