Pre-med Summer Programs for Undergraduates – Updated 2023 List

Feb 8, 2022

Summer for pre-meds is the perfect time to venture out of the classroom! We have curated a list of pre-med summer programs all over the country with their most current website links, deadlines, and program dates.

Med school admissions highly favor students who participate in pre-med summer programs. Notably, summer internships are beneficial for students who haven’t had the chance to do research yet or have a flexible summer. For those of you who are ready to look for internships, bookmark this page!

This article describes the different types of pre-med summer programs, what you can expect, and where you can find them!

Types of summer programs

Summer programs can be pretty diverse. Therefore, you may want to think about what your goals are. Where do you need to gain experience? What do you want to learn? What university or campus would you like to check out?

Generally, there are three main types of summer internships available for pre-meds. The three types are pre-health, research, or public health summer programs. This section describes each of them. Given these descriptions, you can make an informed decision about which program is right for you.

Pre-Health summer programs

Pre-health summer internships are the most popular among premedical students.

As such, these programs focus on exposing you to clinical or translational research. Also, pre-health summer internships offer informative workshops about career paths. Some even provide MCAT study programs throughout the summer. If you lack clinical exposure or direct experience in healthcare, a pre-health summer internship is a good option for you.

Most programs will offer development seminars and allow you to engage in translational research. If translational research is essential for you, check each program’s curriculum to avoid missing out!

Research summer programs

Research programs are laboratory-intensive. Therefore, your entire summer will be about working on a project. Although you’ll need to learn new skills, these projects are always manageable. Examples of research areas are genetics, developmental biology, neuroscience, bioengineering, cognitive science, and translational medicine. However, these programs rarely place students in translational research labs. Instead, these programs recruit students interested in basic science research. This means that your summer project will involve biological, physiological, pharmacology, or engineering work. At the same time, this does not mean that your research will not be relatable to medicine. On the contrary, basic science research builds the foundation for translational research to thrive!

Research summer programs aren’t only for pre-meds. Therefore, the applicant pool will include students applying to Ph.D. programs. As research-focused programs, some tend to favor pre-doctoral students. Don’t let this discourage you!

Many program websites will tell you what their standards are. Still, the majority of summer programs accept both pre-med and pre-doctoral students.

Public Health summer programs

The third most popular summer internship for pre-meds is public health programs. Public health programs don’t always require laboratory research. In fact, they are pretty different. Pre-med summer programs for public health are great for students who care about health disparities and public health issues in (and outside of) their community. Let’s say this sounds like something that interests you. In that case, public health programs will prepare you to consider public health career choices to supplement your growth as a future MD.

Here, you will work with university or university organizations, health departments, or even federal agencies. Your summer project may require data analysis, methodology development, data collection, or literature reviews.

When should you start applying for pre-med summer internship programs?

University-affiliated pre-med summer internships have strict deadlines around early spring. If you are applying for the coming summer, start your applications during the winter before. For example, if you are looking for a summer internship for 2024, create your applications during the fall of 2023. Most summer programs open their applications in late September. Likewise, most programs have February deadlines, although some accept applications until late March.

Pay careful attention to deadlines! A few programs accept applications on a rolling basis until a specific date. “On a rolling basis” means that the program accepts students continuously. In this case, we recommend submitting your application as soon you are allowed to.

List of pre-med summer programs in the U.S.

Here, we have compiled a list of pre-med summer programs all over the U.S. If their most current websites posted application deadlines and program dates, we have posted them here for you. You can find programs based on your area of interest, such as: East Coast, West Coast, Southern States, or the Midwest!

Pre-med summer programs in the East Coast

Albert Einstein College of Medicine – Bronx, NY

Boston University School of Medicine – Boston, MA

Brigham and Women’s Hospital (Harvard-affiliated hospitals) – Boston, MA

Drexel University College of Medicine – Philadelphia, PA

Georgia State University, Neuroscience Institute – Atlanta, GA

Gerstner Sloan-Kettering Graduate School – New York, NY

Harvard Medical School – Boston, MA

Hofstra North Shore/LIJ School of Medicine – Manhasset, NY

Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine – Baltimore, MD

Maine Medical Center Research Institute – Scarborough, ME

Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Diversity and Inclusion – Boston, MA

Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center – New York, NY

Mount Sinai School of Medicine – New York, NY

New York University School of Medicine – New York, NY

Penn State University, College of Medicine – Hershey, PA

Thomas Jefferson University – Philadelphia, PA

Summer Undergraduate Research Program – (Deadline: January 15, Program dates: June 8 – August 14)

Tufts University – Boston, MA

University at Buffalo (SUNY) School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences – Buffalo, NY

University of Connecticut Health Center – Farmington, CT

University of Maryland – Baltimore, MD

University of Massachusetts Medical School – Worcester, MA

Rutgers University – New Brunswick, NJ

University of Pennsylvania – Philadelphia, PA

University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine – Pittsburgh, PA

University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry – Rochester, NY

Weill Cornell/Rockefeller/Sloan-Kettering – New York, NY

West Virginia University – Morgantown, WV

Yale School of Medicine – New Haven, CT

Pre-med summer programs in the West Coast

City of Hope National Medical Center and Beckman Research Institute -Duarte, CA

Keck Graduate Institute – Claremont, CA

Oregon Health and Science University – Portland, OR

Stanford University School of Medicine – Stanford, CA

University of California, Los Angeles – Los Angeles, CA

University of California, San Diego – La Jolla, CA

University of California, San Francisco – San Francisco, CA

University of Utah – Salt Lake City, Utah (great for premeds!)

Pre-med summer programs in the Southern States

Augusta University – Augusta, GA

Baylor College of Medicine – Houston, TX

Louisiana State Health Sciences Center. Shreveport Department of Pharmacology, Toxicology, and Neuroscience – Shreveport, LA

Medical University of South Carolina – Charleston, SC

Texas A&M University College of Medicine – Bryan, TX

Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences – Lubbock, TX

University of Alabama at Birmingham – Birmingham, AL

University of Georgia, Biomedical and Health Sciences Institute – Athens, GA

University of New Mexico School of Medicine – Albuquerque, NM

University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center – Oklahoma City, OK

University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston – Houston, TX

University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center – Smithville, TX

University of Texas Medical Branch – Galveston, TX

University of Texas School of Medicine at San Antonio – San Antonio, TX

University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center – Dallas, TX

University of Virginia School of Medicine – Charlottesville, VA

Virginia Commonwealth University – Richmond, VA

Wake Forest University – Winston-Salem, NC

Pre-med summer programs in the Midwest

Case Western Reserve University – Cleveland, OH

Children’s Hospital Research Foundation of Cincinnati – Cincinnati, OH

Committee on Institutional Cooperation – Champaign, IL

Creighton University– Omaha, NE

Loyola University Chicago, Stritch School of Medicine – Chicago, IL

Medical College of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, WI

Mayo Clinic – Rochester, MN

Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation – Minneapolis, MN

Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine – Evanston, IL

Ohio State University Medical Center – Columbus, OH

University of Chicago – Chicago, IL

University of Cincinnati College of Medicine – Cincinnati, OH

University of Colorado Health Sciences Center – Denver, CO

University of Iowa Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine – Iowa City, IA

University of Kansas – Lawrence, KS

University of Michigan – Ann Arbor, MI

University of Minnesota – Twin Cities, MN

University of Mississippi – Jackson, MS

University of Nebraska – Lincoln – Lincoln, NE

University of Wisconsin – Madison, WI

Vanderbilt University – Nashville, TN

Washington University – St. Louis, MO

Wayne State University School of Medicine – Detroit, MI

What are pre-med summer programs like?

Most programs will be fully-funded. Yes, you will get paid!

As a summer intern, you will have a stipend usually broken into two big payments: one at the beginning of summer and one near the end. This will help you cover all personal expenses. Hold on, it gets better! Most internships will include on-campus housing and meal plans so that you can eat and sleep on campus!

So, if you are nervous about moving across the country for your dream internship, remember that you won’t have to pay for living expenses. All the links we provide in this article will lead you to program websites. There, you can find information about a specific program and its funding options. At the most basic level, most of these programs will provide a summer stipend.

Summer programs are full-time commitments

Summer internships are almost like full-time jobs! To get the most out of your summer, consider your summer internship to be your only priority. With housing, food, and pay included, these programs really try to make it easy for you to never worry about a thing. That said, they also have very high expectations of you.

Depending on the type of program you are interested in, you can expect to report to your laboratory, classes, or workshops at 9 a.m. and have a full day of work.

You are going to work a 40-hour workweek during a summer program. Typically, lunch hours (or dinner) include career workshops or classes. After scheduled events, you are free to study, go back to the lab, explore the university, or hang out with your classmates.

Although you will not always have homework, the amount of time you will study outside of lab or class depends on your program. Therefore, making other commitments (like volunteering outside of the program) can be very difficult. To prevent burnout, you will be asked to make no other commitments outside of your program.

You may be assigned to a lab or a mentor (if research-based)

Summer internships for pre-meds are very intensive. Therefore, most programs will also ask senior medical and graduate students to participate. During the entire summer, you are paired with someone to be your mentor. This is especially true of research-based laboratory internships. Your mentor will help you outline a summer project from start to finish. These projects are meant to be significant enough to contribute to the laboratory’s research but manageable enough to be completed during 8-10 weeks.

You and your mentor will work together every day. This will be a learning opportunity for you both. As a premedical student, you will learn new laboratory skills and think critically about research, medicine, or public health. As a scientist or MD in training, your mentor will also be learning how to teach younger generations.

The main idea of pairing you with a mentor is to give you the support to succeed.

If you’ve never done research or made a project presentation, summer internships are great opportunities to learn how. Although you need to put in the work, your mentor will guide you.

Some programs have two kinds of mentors. One type of mentor is directly affiliated with the pre-med program. These mentors will run the program’s weekly activities, such as workshops or dinner events. The other kind of mentor will be a senior graduate student or post-doctoral student who will work with you directly every day. This means that your research mentor may not always be aware of program events. Still, they will offer you enough flexibility to meet all your program requirements. All of these details vary by program, so there are just examples.

Some programs offer MCAT prep courses and career development workshops

One of the best perks about pre-med summer programs is that you will have so many resources! These programs are carefully outlined so that you advance in your academic journey. Accordingly, programs will offer a variety of classes and workshops. These may include:

  • MCAT/GRE prep or review classes
  • Giving a research talk to a knowledgeable audience
  • How to communicate your science to the general public (or a non-scientific audience)
  • Making a scientific poster to present your summer work
  • Writing a compelling personal essay or statement of purpose
  • Crafting a CV or resume
  • Drafting professional emails to professors
  • Guidance on applying to medical or graduate school

Some programs also offer seminars on overcoming the challenges of being a pre-med student or on more non-academic-related topics. Some examples are:

  • What to expect from medical school
  • Exploring the MD/Ph.D. route
  • Overcoming imposter syndrome in academia
  • How to contribute to diversity efforts in medicine
  • How to build meaningful relationships with your mentors

You will need to present your work at the end of the summer

Something else you can expect from joining a pre-med summer program is to present your project to an audience at the end of the summer. Your audience will most likely be your peers (classmates), faculty, lab members, program administrators, and the general public. As such, this exercise is meant to teach you how to communicate medical science projects to various people.

These presentations will usually mark the end of your summer internship. Therefore, you will be expected to present what your project was about, how you formed your hypothesis, the methods you used to pursue it, and what you learned. Remember—you will have help from your mentors! Although this seems daunting to some students, this is an excellent opportunity to add a poster or talk presentation to your CV—and to your medical school application!

Benefits of participating in pre-med summer programs for college students

Connect your classroom knowledge to real-world (or lab) experience

Are you maybe growing tired of only learning from textbooks? Pre-med summer programs are a fantastic opportunity to learn how to translate that knowledge to a laboratory or clinical setting. This is particularly alluring to students who like to make direct contributions or change in their field.

For example, how does a molecular biology phenomenon apply to cancer biology research in the lab? How do all the concepts you’ve learned in science classes come together in biomedical research? Research projects for pre-med students can also be about developing new techniques and approaches to medicine. In these cases, you will see how learning about human anatomy gives you an advantage in bioengineering. 

Getting out of the classroom and applying what you’ve learned in school will provide you with a new perspective. Having done research or worked on a project as a college student will give you the advantage of seeing how it’s applied in the real world. Therefore, you will go into medical school with a more curious mindset and approach everything you’re learning with a more creative lens.

Expand your network

Premed summer programs recruit students from all over the country. Therefore, you will live and work closely with students, administrators, and professors. This gives you the perfect opportunity to grow your network and make a good impression at another medical institution. As such, the best tip for applying to pre-med summer programs is to explore opportunities outside of your comfort zone.

Many medical school admissions are interested in students who seek opportunities outside of their community.

This shows that you are experienced and willing to travel to a different community. Additionally, a summer project at another institution gives you the advantage of having a letter of recommendation from a school other than your own. This shows that you have diverse interests and can work well outside of your own institution.

Most pre-med students tend to receive all of their academic letters of recommendation from one school. Expanding your network outside of your home institution will give you an edge! Aside from the academic connections you make, you will also meet new friends! Making friends with other like-minded students will help you build a sense of community in your journey to medical school. Many cohorts who engage in summer internships will keep in touch after the summer. Some will even end up at the same medical schools!

In conclusion

If you are on track with your pre-med class requirements, consider joining a pre-med summer program! These internships are specifically curated to further your development as a pre-med student. Some programs can focus on clinical experience, research skills, or addressing essential issues in public health. Be mindful that participating in these programs will be a full-time commitment and that you will need to live on-campus (or close to) for 8-10 weeks. If you’re feeling adventurous, a pre-med summer program is a perfect time to leave your comfort zone and maybe even travel across the country for research! Deadlines for pre-med summer internships range from February to late March, but this depends on a program-by-program basis. Good luck!

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