Summer Internships

Summer Internships

From the Director

About the Program

About the Students

Summer Internship Symposium Speakers

Other Neuroscience Research Training and Funding Opportunities

Frequently Asked Questions

Clinical and Basic Neuroscience Labs

Neuroscience at NIH

Investigators with Opportunities for Students

Other Summer Opportunities

From the Director

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke's Summer Program in the Neurological Sciences is a student research training program in brain and nervous system research. As one of 27 Institutes and Centers comprising the National Institutes of Health, NINDS has occupied a central position in the world of neuroscience for over 50 years. Our mission is to perform neuroscience research in order to improve our fundamental understanding of the how the nervous system functions and to translate new knowledge into treatments for those who suffer from neurological disorders.

Hundreds of disorders afflict the nervous system. Common killers and disablers such as stroke, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, autism, headache and muscular dystrophy are well known. The many rare disorders we study may be known only to the patients and families affected, their doctors, and scientists who study them. These are all tough problems and NINDS is constantly searching for dedicated young scientists with fresh ideas to help us achieve our mission.

This is a time of accelerating progress and increasing hope in the battle against brain disease. Advances in understanding the nervous system are beginning to pay off in the form of treatments for previously intractable problems including acute stroke, multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson's disease. At NINDS we are fortunate to have this first-rate research training program in the neurosciences which gives students the chance to learn and participate in hands-on clinical and basic neuroscience research with the hope that they will pursue careers in this burgeoning field.

Today's students are tomorrow's scientific investigators, conducting cutting-edge biomedical research that will lead to new ideas, theories, hypotheses, and treatments to help improve the neurologic health of the Nation.

Walter J. Koroshetz, M.D. Director, NINDS

COVID-19 UPDATE: We are now able to share information regarding the 2021 NINDS/NIH Summer Internship Program (SIP), High School Summer Internship Program (HS-SIP) and the Health Disparities in Tribal Communities Summer Internship Program. Unfortunately, it is clear that we still face uncertain times with continuing difficulty integrating trainees who started during the pandemic. Therefore, we want to let you know that all 2021 NINDS Summer programs will be fully virtual this summer. The 2021 Summer Program Cohorts has been selected. We look forward to the next application cycle starting in mid-November 2021. 

For information about COVID-19 , visit the following link:

About the Program

The Summer Program in the Neurological Sciences offers a unique opportunity for academically talented high school, undergraduate, graduate, and medical students to receive first-rate training in neuroscience research. Students get hands-on experience working with leading scientists in the Institute's Division of Intramural Research, the "in-house" research component of the NINDS. NINDS Labs are located in Bethesda and Rockville.

The NINDS purpose in awarding internships to qualified students is to provide student with a highly stimulating and rewarding summer research experience, with a view towards encouraging students to pursue advanced education and training in the biomedical sciences and future careers in scientific investigation, particularly basic and clinical research in the neurological sciences. Summer research training is designed to supplement and give practical meaning to students' academic course work. At the same time, students will make a valuable contribution to the NINDS research mission. Speakers that present during the Career Symposium inspires the students to pursue a career in Science while also giving them ideas on the various paths available within these fields. Several of the Career Symposium are Summer Internship Alumni.

At the conclusion of the Summer Program, students participate in the NIH Summer Research Program Poster Day. Poster Day gives students the opportunity to present their summer research before the NIH scientific community. From a pool of participants nominated by their Mentors as Exceptional Summer Students, judges anonymously vote for the Exceptional Summer Student Award Winners. Award winners are recognized during an Award Ceremony and some winners present their work during the Ceremony. Students also participate in meetings and seminars in their individual laboratories. In addition, students attend formal lectures and symposia dealing with the newest advances in health research.

Spotlight on the SIP


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  • Training and conducting cutting-edge clinical and basic research which will include career mentoring from leading neuroscience investigators;
  • Learning new technology, scientific investigation skills, gaining experience in presenting scientific results, learning ethics in biomedical research and the use of information technology for biomedical research;
  • Attending formal lectures and symposia dealing with the newest advances in health research;
  • Participating in the NIH's Annual Research Poster Day for Summer Students, a scientific exhibition that allows students an opportunity to discuss their research projects informally with peers and members of the NIH scientific community;
  • Obtaining key credentials that will help when competing for graduate school, medical school, predoc and postdoc fellowships, and tenure-track positions;
  • Networking and exchanging information and ideas with other NIH research trainees and investigators; and
  • Participating in journal clubs, lab seminars, and meetings in individual research labs.

2021 High School Summer Internship Program (HS-SIP) is for students who:

  • are seventeen (17) years of age or older by June 15, 2021,
  • are high school juniors or seniors at the time of application,
  • are U.S. citizens or permanent residents. (U.S. citizens may apply if they are enrolled at least half-time in high school. Permanent residents must be enrolled in a high school in the U.S. to be eligible.), and
  • if they will be 17 years of age on June 15, 2021, live, at the time of application, within 40 miles of the NIH campus on which they will intern. (This requirement does not apply to applicants who are 18 and older)

2021 Summer Internship Program (SIP) is for students who:

  • are 18 years of age or older on June 15, 2021,
  • are U.S. citizens or permanent residents, AND
  • are in college (including community college) or graduate/professional school at the time of application, OR
  • are high school graduates at the time of application and have been accepted into accredited college or university programs.

Individuals who are U.S. permanent residents must be attending or have been accepted into institutions in the U.S.

Prospective candidates must apply online. The application is available from mid-November to March 1.  It requires submission of the following:

  • a curriculum vitae or resume,
  • a list of coursework and grades (please note: we do not need a transcript at this time),
  • a cover letter describing the applicant's research interests and career goals, and
  • the names and contact information for two references.

For the online application visit:

2021 High School Summer Internship (Application Deadline: February 1, 2021)
2021 Summer Internship Program