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University of California Santa Cruz Science Internship Program

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The Science Internship Program (SIP) is a 10-week research internship program in STEM fields for motivated, advanced students in which UCSC faculty, graduate students, and post-doctoral researchers provide one-on-one mentoring. SIP’s mission is to facilitate a life-altering experience for high school students by placing them as summer interns in research groups/labs where they work as members of a real scientific research team. Students will give a presentation at the end of the program. 

Through SIP summer internships, students will grasp the relationships among research tasks, research projects, and broader research programs—not abstractly, but through practical experience working with research mentors and other team members engaged in research project design, the application of accepted methods and best practices, data collection and analysis, and effective communication of research findings.

Through the program’s strong commitment to mentorship, SIP provides students with a front row seat for witnessing scientific research passion “in action” as it unfolds, in and through the activity of a research team. Interns will spend the summer fully immersed in real research. They will learn to read professional journal articles, write code for scientific computing, gain practical experience and skills in a lab, and present scientific concepts orally and in writing. They will develop a relationship with a real scientist (their mentor), and they will learn to collaborate with other scientists towards a common goal. 

The program culminates in a symposium at UCSC where interns present their research to their peers, their mentor and other mentors, and their family. After the summer, some projects may be eligible for the Siemens and Regeneron Science Talent Search science competitions.

The research projects offered in the SIP program vary from year to year based on which mentors decide to participate in the program and what research they are working on at that time.

Students will be selected based on their level of interest in the subject to which they are being matched for research project placement, motivation to learn new concepts, and capacity for analytical thinking. Many of the research projects are computational in nature; in these cases, it is desirable that the student have some prior computer programming experience. Preference may be given to returning SIP students and to students who are willing to commit to working full-time for all 10 weeks of the program.

Students who live outside the Bay Area are eligible for SIP but it is necessary for them to have/avail of one or more of the following options:

  • Have a local guardian who they can stay with if they wish to participate in the program in-person at UCSC. General campus housing is offered as an option to all (Bay Area and out-of-area) students and is available for all eight weeks of the program from Sunday through Thursday nights.
  • Opt for the special seven-day (weekday & weekend) campus housing option that is offered as an option to only out-of-area students.
  • Opt to be placed in one of a select number of research projects that allow for students to conduct their research remotely and connect with their mentor using an online platform. These remotely mentored projects focus on data analysis using computer programming. 


  • University of California-Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, California


  • Early June to mid June—virtual research preparation weeks
  • Late June to late August—main session on campus


  • Commuter students tuition: $60 non-refundable application fee plus $4,000 tuition
  • Students who need weeknight room and board only: $60 non-refundable application fee plus $8,800 tuition/room and board 
  • Students who need full-week room and board: $60 non-refundable application fee plus $11,000 tuition/room and board

Eligibility Requirements

  • Must be at least 14 years old at the start of the program (some program placements require students to be 16) and currently enrolled in high school
  • Must be able to attend the program in its entirety, including the virtual component 


  • Late March

Application or Entry Requirements

  • A completed online application
  • An unofficial transcript
  • A letter of recommendation
  • Research area preferences and associated brief essays 
  • Personal statement
  • Name/email of one reference

Notifications of Decisions

  • Late April

Financial Aid Details

A limited number of partial and full need-based scholarships are available. Scholarship requests will be considered after admission offers have been made. 

Other Dates to Keep in Mind

  • Application period opens March 1 and ends March 31

Have other questions?

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The University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC) is a public research university located in Santa Cruz, California. It is part of the University of California system and is well known for its interdisciplinary approach to education and research. UCSC was founded in 1965 and is home to more than 19,000 students and over 1,500 faculty members, making it one of the smaller universities in the University of California system. UCSC is known for its strong programs in the sciences, including astronomy, astrophysics, and marine biology, as well as its innovative programs in the arts, humanities, and social sciences. UCSC is also home to a number of unique research centers and institutes, including the Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems, the Institute of the Arts and Sciences, and the UCSC Genome Browser.

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