The 20 Best Summer Engineering Programs — TKG (2023)

By: Caroline Koppelman

Attending a summer program in Engineering can help the colleges you’re applying to understand you’re serious about engineering. Many students apply to college with no prior experience, so a summer program can give you a leg up. It’s important to remember that participating in a summer program at a school won’t necessarily increase your chance of getting into that particular school. But succeeding in a program at a top university demonstrates a work ethic and drive, which will certainly set you apart from your competition.

Application criteria and materials vary by program, but generally require transcripts, at least one teacher recommendation, and in some cases a statement of intention, standardized test scores, and samples of previous work. The programs below are geared towards high school juniors and seniors.

The Johns Hopkins Engineering Innovation Summer Program
Location: JHU Homewood campus in Baltimore, as well as various other campuses in Maryland, California, the District of Columbia, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Washington (“residential experience” offered at Homewood, and the Hood Campus in MD).
Overview: Engineering Innovation (EI) aims to introduce students to prevalent topics in the engineering domain, and prepare them for the rigor of college engineering programs. Instead of being an intensive course within one subject in Engineering, EI allows students to sample multiple subjects in order to help the student decide which is best for them (a rare opportunity afforded to students before beginning their degrees).
Number of Students Admitted/Age: Amount TBD by each location; Rising seniors
Application Deadline: Varies by location (see: http://engineering.jhu.edu/ei/sites/)
Dates: June 26 - July 21, 2017
Tuition: $2,500 (also varies by location)

MITES (Minority Introduction to Engineering and Science)
Location: MIT - Cambridge, MA
Overview: MITES is specifically geared towards students from underserved communities interested in studying science, engineering, and entrepreneurship. Students select five courses and are required to take one calculus course, one life sciences course, one physics course, a humanities course, and an elective course.
Number of Students Admitted/Age: TBD (80 admitted in 2016); Rising seniors
Application Deadline: February 1, 2017
Duration: 2017 TBD (dates for the 2016 course: June 11 - July 21)
Tuition: Free (Housing and Food included)

Research Science Institute
Location: MIT - Cambridge, MA
Overview: MIT’s Research Science Institute (RSI) admits 80 high school students from around the world to gather at MIT to experience the entire research cycle from start to finish. Students first participate in one week of intensive STEM classes with accomplished MIT professors. They then complete a five-week research internship, conducting individual projects with experienced scientists and researchers. At the end of the program, students deliver conference-style written and oral presentations. Students are given the opportunity to meet with prestigious guest speakers such as Nobel laureates, and accomplished technological entrepreneurs. Final projects are often used by students to enter into science and engineering competitions around the world.
Number of Students Admitted/Age: ~80 rising seniors
Application Deadline: N/A
Duration: June 25 - August 5, 2017
Tuition: Free (Housing and Food included)

Women’s Technology Program
Location: MIT - Cambridge, MA
Overview: MIT’s Women’s Technology Program (WTP) is a four-week intensive academic and residential experience, wherein female students participate in hands-on classes, labs, and team-based projects. Students can attend the WTP in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS), or Mechanical Engineering (ME), however no prior background (or very little) in engineering is required for any student entering into the program (though high proficiency in math and science is required). Female MIT graduate students, or post-docs, not only design and teach the classes, but also share dorms with the students for the entirety of the program.
Number of Students Admitted/Age: 60 (~40 EECS, ~20 ME) rising seniors
Application Deadline: January 15, 2017
Duration: June 24 - July 22nd
Tuition: $3,500

Stanford
Location: Stanford - Stanford, CA
Overview: Stanford’s pre-college summer institute focuses on the common principles shared by the many diverse domains of engineering. They offer three specialties—structural engineering, civil engineering, and bioengineering—for the students to choose (1) from for a hands-on, intensive program taught by Stanford’s engineering faculty and affiliates.
Number of Students/Age: Rising Juniors - Seniors
Application Deadline: Early - January 25, Regular - February 22, Extended - March 29
Duration: June 25 - July 14; July 17 - August 5
Tuition: $6,500 (Housing and Food included)

Penn Engineering Summer Academy
Location: University of Pennsylvania - Philadelphia, PA
Overview: Penn’s intensive, three-week program combines sophisticated theory with hands-on practical experience. Students can take a course in biotechnology, complex networks, computer graphics, computer science, nanotechnology, or robotics, all with accomplished Penn faculty. Courses also offer college credits.
Number of Students Admitted/Age: TBD; Rising Sophomores - Rising Seniors
Application Deadline: February 24, 2017
Duration: July 2 - July 22
Tuition: $7,375

Harvard Summer School
Location: Harvard - Cambridge, MA
Overview: Harvard’s Summer School offers a wide array of subject areas for pre-college students, including biological science, computer science, the history of science, mathematics and physics. The program is relatively intense, but also places emphasis on integrating students into the Harvard community, as well as the surrounding areas of Cambridge and Boston. Campus visits and meetings with admissions advisors are also included for nearby colleges, e.g. MIT, Tufts, and BU.
Number of Students/Age: TBD; Rising Juniors - Seniors
Application Deadline: TBD
Duration: 2-weeks, 4-weeks, or 6-weeks depending on student preference
Tuition: $4,500 (Room & Board included)

Yale Young Global Scholars
Location: Yale - New Haven, CT
Overview: The Yale Young Global Scholars program, similar to Harvard’s, offers a varied group of subjects for pre-college students, but Yale has a less common curriculum of engineering programs, including: Sustainable Development & Social Entrepreneurship, Frontiers of Math & Science, Applied Science & Engineering, and Biological & Biomedical Science. All sessions give high school student leaders opportunities to recognize and understand contemporary global issues, strategize responses, and innovate solutions while learning from renowned practitioners and Yale faculty members in a range of fields.
Number of Students/Age: Program-Dependent; Rising Juniors - Seniors
Application Deadline: January 31, 2017
Duration: Program-dependent

  • Sustainable Development & Social Entrepreneurship and Frontiers of Math & Science: June 19 - July 7
  • Applied Science & Engineering: July 9 - July 27
  • Biological & Biomedical Science: July 27 - August 9

Tuition: $5,800 (Housing and Food included)

Carnegie Mellon SAMS
Location: Carnegie Mellon - Pittsburgh, PA
Overview: Carnegie Mellon’s Summer Academy for Mathematics and Science is a six-week intensive STEM program. All courses are taught by members of the Carnegie Mellon faculty, while upperclassmen serve as classroom assistants, tutors, and mentors to program participants. Students will take courses in math, physics, programming, engineering, as well as an SAT preparation course, and one in personal and career development. Students from underserved communities, and first-generation college students are encouraged to apply. Applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents.
Number of Students Admitted/Age: TBD; Rising seniors
Application Deadline: March 3, 2017
Duration: July 1 - August 11
Tuition: Free

COSMOS UCSD, US Irvine, UC Santa Cruz, UC Davis
Location: UCSD, UC Irvine, UC Santa Cruz, UC Davis
Overview: The COSMOS program is a four-week residential program designed by the UC schools. Each campus focuses on different subject areas, all admitting their own “cluster” of students. The courses are taught by UC faculty and researchers. Students choose from nine different clusters, which include engineering design, biodiesel from renewable sources, tissue engineering and regenerative medicine, and more.
Number of Students Admitted/Age: 185 max; Rising Freshmen - Seniors
Application Deadline: February 17, 2017
Duration: Varies depending on campus
Tuition: $3,570 for in-state students; $6,000 out of state/international

Michigan State University High School Honors Science, Math and Engineering Program
Location: Michigan State University - East Lansing, MI
Overview: The HSHSP is a seven-week intensive summer research program for STEM students who are interested in gaining research experience on a university campus - the program is designed for students to “live and breathe” this particular lifestyle. Its emphases extend beyond education alone, offering aspiring engineering students the opportunity to also explore the social contexts in which their work may flourish.
Number of Students Admitted/Age: TBD; Rising seniors
Application Deadline: March 15
Duration: June 18 - August 6, 2017
Tuition $3,800

University of Maryland ESTEEM/SER-Quest
Location: University of Maryland - College Park, MD
Overview: The ESTEEM/SER program is a mentoring program for minorities interesting in science and engineering. The 4-week residential summer program accepts 20 students, and offers research opportunities in a current engineering faculty member’s lab.
Number of Students Admitted/Age: 20 rising seniors
Application Deadline: May 10, 2017
Duration: July 1 - July 30
Tuition: N/A

University of Maryland: Women in Engineering
Location: University of Maryland - College Park, MD
Overview: E2@UMD is a one-week summer program for high school women allows students to explore engineering through hands-on activities, laboratory experiments, informative workshops, team challenges, and seminars with professional engineers.
Number of Students Admitted/Age: TBD; Rising Juniors and Seniors
Application Deadline: March 31, 2017
Duration: July 9-15; July 16-22
Tuition: $1,000

Summer College Engineering Exposure Program
Location: University of Michigan - Ann Arbor, MI
Overview: The SCEEP is an 11-day program designed to help students understand disciplines within engineering, as well as the university environment in Ann Arbor. Students work on an engineering design challenge and develop a professional portfolio. Tours and talks are also offered by university faculty, alumni, and staff.
Number of Students Admitted/Age: TBD; Rising seniors
Application Deadline: TBD
Duration: July 5 - July 15; July 25 - August 4
Tuition: $100

CURIE Academy
Location: Cornell University - Ithaca, NY
Overview: A one-week summer program for girls to gain more exposure in the field of engineering. Scholars engage in two field sessions every day that are led by Cornell Engineering faculty. In the afternoon scholars work in small groups to complete research and design projects.
Number of Students Admitted/Age: 50 max; Rising Juniors - Seniors
Application Deadline: March 15, 2017
Duration: July 16 - 22
Tuition: $1,450 (Housing and Food included)

CATALYST Academy
Location: Cornell University, Ithaca, NY
Overview: Catalyst scholars engage in two field sessions every day to gain hands on experience from Cornell Engineering faculty. They also work in small collaborative groups to do research and design projects.
Number of Students Admitted/Age: 50 max; Rising Juniors - Seniors
Application Deadline: March 15, 2017
Duration: July 16 - 22
Tuition: $1,450 (Housing and Food included)

Columbia University Campus Immersion Program
Location: Columbia University - New York, NY
Overview: The Campus Immersion program offers students to ingrain themselves in the day-to-day schedules of Columbia’s students -- balancing course-work with residential life on and off campus. Their engineering-specific programs range from Biomedical Engineering to Materials Science and Programming.
Number of Students/Age: Rising Juniors, Seniors, and incumbent college freshmen (Note: There is also a Freshman-Sophomore division, as well a program offered for commuter students.)
Application Deadline: Program-Dependent (some currently closed)
Duration: Program-Dependent
Tuition: $10,645 (Housing and Food Included)

Summer@Brown
Location: Brown University - Providence, RI
Overview: Brown offers over 200 courses in its summer program emphasizing learning “for the sake of learning,” as opposed to overwhelming its students with an overly rigorous curriculum. Its STEM courses are less engineering focused, but offer over 100 classes in mathematics, physics, computer science, biology, chemistry, and environmental science.
Number of Students/Age: Rising Sophomores - Seniors
Application Deadline: “Completed applications must be received at least two weeks prior to the start date of an intended course or program. For most programs there is no application deadline, but courses and programs do fill quickly, so early application is encouraged.”
Duration: Duration is course-dependent, ranging from 1-4 weeks
Tuition: Tuition is also course-dependent, ranging from $2,596 - $6,587/course

NYU ARISE Program
Location: NYU - New York, NY
Overview: NYU’s Applied Research Innovations in Science and Engineering (ARISE) program is a seven-week, full-time endeavor, featuring college level courses/workshops, a high level of research experience in faculty labs, and a mentorship with a graduate student or post-doc in their related field. In addition to the engineering-specific components in the program, ARISE also offers guidance in public speaking and presentation. The program was conceived to provide high-level STEM experience to underserved populations, and is only open to New York City residents.
Number of Students/Age: Rising Juniors - Seniors;
Application Deadline: March 1, 2017
Duration: July 5 - August 18
Tuition: Students are paid $500 upon completion of the program
(Note: There is also a more general pre-college program at NYU, which offers five courses in engineering (“Introduction to Engineering and Design”, and four courses in Calculus), available here, open to all.)

University of Notre Dame IEP
Location: University of Notre Dame - Notre Dame, IN
Overview: Notre Dame’s Introduction to Engineering Program (IEP) is a two-week camp which provides students with an overview of the engineering domain. Topics covered include “The Scope of Engineering Today”, “Engineering Design and Projects”, and “Computer Programming”, along with guest lectures, field trips, and tours of faculty labs/facilities. This program is less academically rigorous than its contemporaries, allowing for free time and ample exploration of the college environment.
Number of Students/Age: Rising Seniors
Application Deadline: TBD
Duration: June 11 - 14; July 16 - 29
Tuition: $1,950 (Housing and Food included)

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