Top 20 Engineering Summer Programs — Inspirit AI (2023)

Summer programs in engineering are a great way of boosting a high school student’s college applications by demonstrating to colleges that a student is invested in engineering as a field of study and potential career. Additionally, students can explore different concentrations and applications of engineering––such as mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, or software development––through summer engineering programs.

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By excelling in a summer engineering program, high schoolers can also showcase great potential in the field. Oftentimes, the activities and conversations that students engage in summer programs can even be an inspiration for students to conduct a personal research project.

In this blog post, we will cover 20 of the top summer engineering programs across the U.S. for high school participation. Many of these programs are hosted at elite universities and can be an opportunity for students to familiarize themselves with potential schools of interest.

For students who have a broad interdisciplinary STEM interest, be sure to also check out our previous blog posts on computer science internships and science competitions for high school students looking to take their research to the next level. Also, if you are a student interested in applying computer science or artificial intelligence to your engineering research, explore InspiritAI’s AI Scholars program.

1. California State Summer School for Mathematics and Science (COSMOS)

Designed by the UC schools, COSMOS is a four-week residential summer program invested in the continuing education of high school students with demonstrated interest and achievement in math and science. The program is hosted at four different campuses (Davis, Irvine, San Diego, and Santa Cruz), each offering different cluster topics and residential experiences.

The UCSD summer curriculum places a strong emphasis on technology and engineering and is administered through the Jacobs School of Engineering. Check the link above for details about the other COSMOS programs. In 2023, COSMOS is planning to hold a fully residential and in-person program.

2. Columbia University Summer Immersion: New York City

In its summer immersion program, Columbia University offers both 1-week and 3-week courses with courses in machine learning, blockchain, computer programming, and material science. The 3-week program offers a residential option which allows high schoolers to live on campus and explore the city. Upon completion of the program, participating high school students receive an official certificate of participation as well as written evaluations from their instructors.

3. Boston University Research in Science & Engineering (RISE)

Rising high school seniors are invited to participate in this 6-week internship program with both residential and commuter options. RISE also has an internship track and a practicum track between which students can select.

On the internship track, high schoolers will tackle research projects under the mentorship of distinguished BU faculty, spending 40 hours/week developing their technical and analytical skills and gaining insight into the scientific process. For students that opt for the practicum track, they will conduct group research under the guidance of a BU instructor while also attending daily two-hour lectures delivered by the instructor.

4. Summer@Brown

Brown University offers a variety of online and in-person courses in computer science, engineering, and biotechnology during the summer. Some course titles from the last year include “A Molecular Toolbox for Research & Medicine,” “Antibiotic Drug Discovery,” “Coding to Read and Control the Brain,” and “Data Science and Machine Learning.”

5. Harvard Summer School

The premier university’s pre-collegiate summer program is two-week long with course offerings across the STEM fields, from biology and computer science to math, physics, and statistics. Like other university-affiliated summer programs, Harvard’s pre-college program gives high school students the opportunity to live on campus and get a taste of the college experience.

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6. Summer Engineering Exploration (SEE) Camp

Hosted by the Society of Women Engineers at the University of Michigan, SEE camp is a one-week, co-ed camp for high school students entering grades 10-12 who are interested in engineering. The program includes a week-long design challenge, campus tours, team building, and hands-on engineering activities.

7. Minority Introduction to Engineering and Science (MITES) at MIT

MITES is a rigorous six-week residential summer program at MIT that introduces promising minority high school seniors to engineering and science. The program stresses the value of pursuing technical degrees and careers and includes a genomics research project and lecture series sponsored by the Broad Institute. This program was not run in 2022 but keep your eye out for 2023 program details.

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8. Engineering Science and Technology to Energize and Expand Young Minds (ESTEEM)/Summer Engineering Research (SER)-Quest

The goal of the ESTEEM/SER-Quest program at the University of Maryland is to recruit talented high school students to Maryland’s A. James Clark School of Engineering. Participating rising seniors will develop a research proposal, complete a literature review, and conduct a research project in engineering, as well as learn about the college application process. They will also have the chance to meet undergraduate and graduate students in engineering-focused programs.

9. Johns Hopkins Engineering Innovation

The Johns Hopkins Whiting School of Engineering is offering three different engineering innovation programs in 2023: Explore Engineering Innovation (either in-person or online), Biomedical Engineering Innovation (online), or Sustainable Energy Engineering (in-person).

Explore Engineering Innovation is a college-level course for motivated high school students with activities in civil, chemical, electrical, computer, and mechanical engineering. The course is offered at multiple commuter locations across the country in addition to the residential program in Baltimore.

Biomedical Engineering Innovation is a fully online course taught in fall, spring, and summer semesters that introduces high schoolers to modeling physiological systems, specifically the circulatory system and human efficiency. The Sustainable Energy Engineering program is a new program in 2023, in which high schoolers will gain fundamental knowledge in the fields of sustainability and energy.

10. Engineering Summer Academy at Penn (ESAP)

UPenn’s intensive three-week programs combine sophisticated theory with hands-on practical experience in cutting edge technologies. Students work with leading faculty while earning college credit and live on UPenn campus. Program concentrations include biotechnology, computer graphics, computer science, nanotechnology, networks, and robotics.

11. Introduction to Engineering Program (IEP) at Notre Dame

Between their junior and senior years, high school students are encouraged to experience Notre Dame’s two-week program that will include an update on career opportunities in engineering, an overview of the elements of engineering design and computer programming, and a chance to meet professional engineers.

12. Carnegie Mellon University Summer Academy for Math and Science (SAMS)

As SAMS scholars, students develop a diverse and supportive community of STEM scholars interested in attending prestigious universities and broaden their understanding and access to STEM career opportunities. The SAMS curriculum is broken into two parts, the first part occurring virtually to jumpstart high schoolers with some skill-building and the second part consisting of a five-week in-person program. SAMS is a full-funded, merit-based program.

13. CURIE Academy at Cornell University

CURIE Academy is a one-week program for high school girls excelling in math and science. With a focus on rising juniors and seniors who have not had prior experience in engineering, CURIE Academy engages students in two field sessions each day led by Cornell Engineering faculty as well as a week-long research project completed in small groups.

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14. Applied Research Innovations in Science and Engineering (ARISE)

At the NYU Tandon School of Engineering, ARISE is a free program for academically motivated sophomores and juniors with a demonstrated interest in STEM. The seven-week program includes a 5-week research experience participating in NYU faculty labs, mentorship from a graduate or postdoctoral student, a stipend of $750, as well as two weeks of workshops and college application prep.

15. Women’s Technology Program at MIT

The MIT Women’s Technology Program is a four-week academic experience introducing students to engineering through hands-on classes, labs, and team-based projects in the summer after 11th grade. Students need no prior background in engineering or computer science. WTP is a women-focused, collaborative community aimed at empowering historically underrepresented and underserved students in engineering.

16. CATALYST Academy

Another program targeting high school students from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds in STEM, CATALYST is a one-week residential program at Cornell for rising high school juniors and seniors. The program seeks to develop literacy surrounding engineering as a collegiate course of study and to highlight career and graduate school pathways in engineering. Students will also participate in workshops to demystify the college admissions process.

17. Stanford Pre-Collegiate Summer Institutes

Explore Stanford’s course catalog to browse through classes for Grades 8-11 in product design, augmented reality, biomedical engineering, data science, cryptography, and artificial intelligence. The classes are synchronous, online, and taught by top instructors.

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18. Yale Young Global Scholars (YYGS)

YYGS is returning to campus to offer residential sessions in 2023. Yale will offer three two-week sessions, each with an available concentration in “Innovations in Science & Technology.” The IST specialization is designed for students interested in learning about diverse topics in STEM fields and applying scientific principles to real-world applications.

19. Michigan State University High School Honors Science, Math, and Engineering Program (HSHSP)

The oldest, continuously running program of its kind in the U.S., HSHSP is a seven-week summer research program designed for high school students who wish to gain more experience conducting research while living on the campus of a major research-intensive university. The main goal of the program is to provide the social context for knowledge and research to flourish.

20. Research Science Institute @ MIT

At the core of the RSI academic program is an intensive, six-week introduction to scientific research. In fields ranging from engineering to cancer research, students gain experience in scientific inquiry in leading Boston laboratories. Many RSI students go on to enter science competitions, receiving top honors in the Regeneron Science Talent Search, International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF), and the Siemens Science and Technology Competition.

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