Undergraduate students have many opportunities to do research in labs around the country. Most of the internships are for summer research, although some opportunities are available during the school year. For summer research, applications are generally posted in the late summer and early fall, with most deadlines falling between November and February.
Preparing Application Materials
Advice for successful research internships
- Undergrad in the Lab — this blog, started by Dr. David Oppenheimer at the University of Florida, provides excellent, common-sense advice to undergrads and anyone else starting out in research, especially in biomedical research.
Internship Opportunities (general databases)
- National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates — The National Science Foundation is one of the largest supporters of undergraduate research, providing funds to universities to develop and operate undergraduate research opportunities. This link will allow you to search their database for all NSF-funded opportunities around the country. Most of these programs have winter deadlines, but check each program's website for specifics.
- Co-ops/Internships on the Web — Tom Frederick at Rochester Institute of Technology maintains an amazing list of research opportunities available to undergrads in many scientific disciplines. Some programs have application deadlines as early as November, while other programs have winter deadlines. Be sure to read each program's website for eligibility and application requirements.
- Biomedical Research Internships — this database is maintained by Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, and is an excellent resource for identifying research opportunities at all levels of education.
Note: Due to COVID-19, some of the research opportunities listed below may be on hold. Some internships require that applicants be fully vaccinated for in-person internships. Please read the program's requirements carefully before applying.
Specific Internship Opportunities (WA / OR / ID)
- Allen Institute Internship Program — The Allen Institute, located in South Lake Union, near the SPU campus, was founded by the late Paul Allen to enhance our understanding of neurobiology. Internships are available in brain science and cell science. They offer two programs: the Summer Internship Program is open to undergraduates who are not planning to graduate this spring. The Postbaccalaureate Program is a one-year internship program for recent college graduates who aspire to attend graduate school. The application deadline is January 17, 2024.
- Benaroya Research Institute— Located in downtown Seattle, BRI is affiliated with Virginia Mason hospital, and is offering a Research Internship Program for undergraduates. The application deadline is typically mid-March.
- Infectious Diseases in the Immunocompromised Host Summer Internship Program, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center — This program provides opportunities for undergraduates to conduct research in a mentored setting, with a particular focus on infectious disease, including viral infections, host-microbial interactions, infection prevention, etc. The application deadline is typically in February.
- Pathways Undergraduate Research Program, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center — This program provides opportunities for undergraduates to conduct research in a mentored setting, with a particular focus on cancer biology. This internship is restricted to students in their first, second or third years of college. The application deadline is February 28, 2024.
- Summer Undergraduate Research Program, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center — SURP provides opportunities for undergraduates to conduct independent research in biomedical research, with a particular focus on basic and cancer research. Please note that the internship is restricted to rising seniors (students who will be starting their final year of college in the autumn). The application deadline is in early January.
- Institutes for Systems Biology Summer Undergraduate Research Experience — The ISB focuses on systems biology - looking at big-picture concepts to understand how life works. Projects cover a wide range of biology, computational science and other disciplines, and provide opportunities for both wet-lab and computational biology projects. The application deadline is February 26, 2024.
- Genome Sciences Summer Research Program for Undergraduates, University of Washington — This program provides research opportunities in the area of genetics and genomic sciences for students from an ethnic group that is underrepresented nationally in the biomedical sciences (African-American, Hispanic, Native American, Pacific Islander). Students should be intending to pursue a PhD or MD/PhD. The application deadline is February 1, 2024.
- Cooperative Institute for Climate, Ocean, & Ecosystem Studies Summer Research Internship — This program provides research opportunities in the area of climate change, ocean acidification, tsunami forecasting, and fisheries assessment. Interns will be mentored by scientists at the UW, JISAO or NOAA. The application deadline is typically in February.
- REU-Blinks Program for Undergraduate Students - Friday Harbor Labs, University of Washington — This program provides research opportunities for students interested in integrative biology and ecology of marine organisms. All research takes place at the Friday Harbor Labs on San Juan Island (room and board is provided as part of the internship). The application deadline is typically mid-February.
- Summer Scholars Program, Seattle Children’s Research Institute — This program provides research opportunities for undergraduates from qualifying groups to conduct mentored research in basic, clinical or translational research. The application deadline is January 12, 2024.
- Research Internships, Seattle Childrens' Research Institute — Seattle Children’s Research Institute labs accept applications year-round from undergraduates interested in gaining research experience. Academic-year opportunities are typically unpaid (unless hired as a work-study lab aide). Follow links on the page to search for specific opportunities.
- Neurological Surgery Summer Student Program, University of Washington Medical Center — This program provides opportunities for students to gain experience in basic and applied neuroscience research, particularly in relation to clinical practice. (Please note: While the internship is open to undergraduates at all levels, applicants must be US citizens or permanent residents.) Due to the ongoing pandemic, the next internship is scheduled for Summer 2022. The application deadline is January 2, 2024.
- Biomedical Summer Training and Engagement Program (BioSTEP), University of Washington — This program is offered through the Department of Medicinal Chemistry at the University of Washington School of Medicine. Students will have the opportunity to conduct mentored research in the areas of drug metabolism, pharmacokinetics, cellular pharmacology, molecular pharmacology, and biophysical virology. The application deadline is typically in mid-February.
- Summer Health Professions Education Program — this program has opportunities across the US, including at the University of Washington School of Medicine Center for Health Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (CEDI). SHPEP is a six-week program for underrepresented and disadvantaged freshman and sophomore college students interested in the health professions. Students receive a stipend, along with travel expenses and room & board. The application deadline is February 5, 2024.
- Summer Research Opportunities at the University of Washington — Comprehensive listing of all undergraduate research opportunities currently offered at the University of Washington. Some programs are restricted to students from underrepresented backgrounds or who are UW students, so please carefully read the eligibility requirements. Deadlines vary by program, but most are February 1.
- Zoological and Veterinary Interns, NW Trek and Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium - these are unpaid internships available through Metro Parks Tacoma. Most internships accept applications year-round.
- Biomedical & Bioinformatics Research Internship and Training Experience at the Knight Cancer Institute — This internship at the Oregon Health Sciences University is targeted to students who are seriously considering careers in biomedical research. The application deadline is February 1, 2024.
- Summer Equity Research Program, Oregon Health Sciences University — This program provides an eight-week mentored research internship for students interested in biomedical sciences, medicine, or other health-care professions. Students who are from underrepresented backgrounds (i.e., African-American/Black, Native American/Alaskan Native, Pacific Islander and Hispanics/Latinos), or who are from economically disadvantaged backgrounds are eligible to apply (please see their website for more information about eligibility). The application deadline is January 22, 2024.
- Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences' Students Research Awards — This program provides opportunities for students to conduct basic or applied research in areas of biomedical and occupational health. The application deadline is typically in February.
- Undergraduate Summer Fellowship Program, Oregon National Primate Center — This program provides a 10-week mentored research internship for students interested in neuroscience, reproductive sciences, or infectious disease. Students who have completed their sophomore or junior years by the start of the summer research internship are eligible to apply. The application deadline is January 26, 2024.
- Oregon Sea Grant Summer Scholars Program for Undergraduates — This 10-week internship provides students interested in the marine sciences with hands-on experience under the mentorship of a career professional. In addition to supporting agency programs and initiatives, the goals of the program are to offer students professional skills, agency workplace experience, and real life practice in marine science, policy, management, and outreach. The application deadline is typically mid-February.
Specific Internship Opportunities (national)
- The Amgen Scholars Program provides paid research opportunities, along with seminars, mentoring, and advice on preparing to enter graduate schools. You can apply to any of the programs hosted in the US, Europe or Japan. Application deadlines vary by host sites, but most are February 1. Please check each program's site for more information.
- Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine Summer Programs — multiple programs are offered through CWRU. Some programs are for students interested in pursuing medical/dental careers, while other programs are research-focused. Please be aware that some programs are restricted to students from specific backgrounds. Most programs have application deadlines in mid- to late-January.
- Interdisciplinary Translational Education and Research Training (ITERT) Summer Program — this program, at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, is a great opportunity for students interested in the intersection of laboratory research and clinical application. The application deadline is January 5, 2024.
- Mayo Graduate School Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) — this program provides opportunities for a 10-week intensive biomedical research experience at campuses in Rochester, MN, Jacksonville, FL or Scottsdale, AZ. The application deadline is February 1, 2024.
- MCW Graduate School - Summer Program for Undergraduate Research (SPUR) — This program, hosted by the Medical College of Wisconsin, provides students with hands-on research experience, critical thinking skills and personal/professional network growth. The application deadline is February 1, 2024.
- Microbial Friends & Foes Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Summer Program — this program, hosted by the Cornell Institute of Host-Microbe Interactions and Disease (in Ithaca, New York), will provide training in the concepts and experimental approaches central to understanding microbial interactions with eukaryotic hosts. Students will learn about broad diversity of microbe-eukaryote interactions through conducting independent research projects, participation in weekly research group meetings, seminars presented by CIHMID faculty, Microbial Friends & Foes Synthesis Panels, CIHMID Summer Symposium, and Microbial Friends & Foes Poster Session. Students will receive a stipend, travel subsidy, meal allowance and on-campus housing. (Please note: applicants must be US citizens or permanent residents.) The application deadline is February 1, 2024.
- NASA Interns, Fellows & Scholars One Stop Shopping Initiative — NASA has a number of internships available to undergrads from many disciplines, including biology (they have a large astrobiology program). This website allows students to complete one application for multiple internships. The deadline for summer internships is typically April 1.
- NIDA Summer Research Internship Program — The focus of the National Institute on Drug Abuse internship is to provide students, particularly those from underrepresented backgrounds, with experience in biomedical, behavioral and clinical science research. Students who are at least 18 years old, including graduating seniors, are eligible to apply. The application deadline is February 2, 2024.
- NIEHS Summer Internship Program — The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, located in Research Triangle Park, NC (near Raleigh), offers summer research opportunities for students interested in environmental health sciences (the role that environmental factors play in human health). The application deadline is March 1, 2024.
- NIH Summer Internship Program — The National Institutes of Health, one of the largest funders of biomedical research in the world, provides support for undergraduates interested in conducting research at one of NIH's campuses throughout the country (but primarily in Maryland and Washington, D.C.) Their website provides information on how to identify a research mentor/lab, and how to compile a competitive application. Application deadline is February 16, 2024. [Note: Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis — it may be to your advantage to apply earlier rather than later in the cycle.]
- NIH Undergraduate Scholarship Program - The National Institutes of Health offers scholarships for undergraduates with exceptional financial need. The program includes a summer research internship. In return, scholarship recipients commit to working in an NIH laboratory for at least one year for every year of scholarship support received. The application deadline is March 29, 2024 (but applications will be reviewed beginning March 15).
- The NOAA Ernest F. Hollings Scholarship Program is not just an internship program - it provides tuition support for the final two years of school, and paid summer research internships at any NOAA facility in the country. Students must be sophomores (in their 2nd year of college) at the time of application. The application deadline is January 31, 2024.
- Nebraska Summer Research Program — Hosted by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. This program provides training across a broad range of STEM disciplines, including plant and agricultural science, physics, biomedical engineering, chemistry, systems biology and nanotechnology. The application deadline is typically February 1.
- Operation Wallacea Undergraduate Research Assistants — Opwall is an international biodiversity and climate research organization focused on biodiversity research-based fieldwork. Expeditions are especially relevant to those studying biology, geography and environmental science. Please note: Students are expected to pay their own expenses to participate in these research opportunities — this is NOT a paid internship.
- Philippines International Research Experience for Students — This opportunity, hosted by Old Dominion University and Texas A&M University, will take place over eight weeks at Silliman University in Dumaguete, Philippines. Students will be mentored by Filipino faculty on projects related to the human impact on marine fish and their evolution. Please note that the start date for this internship overlaps with the final two weeks of SPU's spring quarter. An SPU student participated in this program in summer 2023. The application deadline is December 31, 2023.
- The Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internships (SULI) program is sponsored by the Office of Science / US Department of Energy. The program places students from two- and four-year undergraduate institutions as paid interns in science and engineering research activities at DOE national laboratories and facilities, working with laboratory staff scientists and engineers on projects related to ongoing research programs. Appointments are for 10 weeks during the Summer term, are open to US Citizens and US Lawful Permanent Residents, include a weekly stipend, reimbursement for one round trip domestic travel to the participant’s host DOE laboratory, and possibilities for a housing allowance. More than 850 internships are sponsored annually. The application deadline is January 9, 2024.
- The Simons Foundation Undergraduate Research Fellowship in Neuroscience (SURFiN) provides funds for undergraduate research assistants (fellows) to work in-person in Simons Foundation-supported neuroscience laboratories. Labs are located around the US, including a tthe University of Washington. In 2023-2024, fellows will receive a commitment of $25 per hour wage for 10 hours per week over 30 weeks. The application deadline is typically late April or early May.
- Society for Developmental Biology (SDB) Choose Development! Program — This program provides funding for two consecutive summers of research in a developmental biology lab. There are multiple participating labs around the country. Students should be interested in graduate research in developmental biology, be a member of a group underrepresented in science, a first-generation college student, and/or a person with a disability, and be a rising sophomore or junior at the time the internship begins. The application deadline is February 1, 2024.
- STEP-UP Undergraduate Summer Research Internship — The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) sponsors this summer research opportunity for underrepresented minority and/or disadvantaged students with an interest in biomedical research. Research focuses include diabetes, nutrition, obesity, digestive and kidney diseases, hematological, urologic, endocrine and/or metabolic diseases. The application deadline is February 1, 2024.
- Summer REU: Coastal Ocean Processes, University of Southern California — Students conduct mentored summer research projects at the Wrigley Marine Science Center on Catalina Island related to marine science. The program selects undergrads in many disciplines, including engineering, biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, ecology, marine and environmental science or other related fields. The application deadline is February 16, 2024.
- The Gerstner Sloan Kettering Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences — MSK offers several summer programs for undergraduate students, both U.S. citizens and international students, who are interested in careers in biomedical research. (Please note that the program begins the first Monday in June, which is before the end of SPU's quarter.) The application deadline is February 1, 2024.
- Vanderbilt University Summer Science Academy — Vanderbilt provides two tracks for undergraduates: the Basic Science Program for students interested in research careers, and the Undergraduate Clinical Research Internship Program for students interested in careers in medicine. Depending on the program, the application deadlines range from January 16, 2024 to February 15, 2024.
- Zoo Miami: Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) in Conservation Science — Zoo Miami has opportunities for students to conduct independent research under the mentorship of wildlife conservation scientists, wildlife veterinarians, and conservation educators. Students will receive training in how to design and conduct research projects, how to manage and analyze scientific data, and how to communicate science to other scientists and to the public. Note: this internship begins in late May, before the end of SPU's spring quarter. The application deadline is typically February 1.
Post-baccalaureate Research Opportunities
- Allen Institute Internship Program — The Allen Institute, located in South Lake Union, near the SPU campus, was founded by the late Paul Allen to enhance our understanding of neurobiology. Internships are available in brain science and cell science. Their Postbaccalaureate Program is a one-year internship program for recent college graduates who aspire to attend graduate school. The application deadline is January 17, 2024.
- Postbaccalaureate Intramural Research Training Award (Postbac IRTA/CRTA) — The NIH Postbac IRTA/CRTA is a year-long program open to all recent college graduates who intend to apply to graduate or professional school but want additional research experience. There is no application deadline, but most students start in the summer or fall. All research opportunities are located at the NIH's campus near Washington, D.C.
- Post-Baccalaureate Research Education Program (PREP) — the PREP program provides opportunities for recent college graduates from underrepresented minorities who intend to apply to PhD programs in the biological/biomedical sciences to gain additional research experience to be competitive for graduate school. There are multiple PREP programs throughout the United States. Each program has their own application process, so be sure to check eligibility requirements carefully.
BS Physiology major Johnny Abraham studied lupus during a summer research internship at Benaroya Research Institute in Seattle, WA. That experience has opened up additional research opportunities for Johnny, including his present position at Seattle Children's Research Institute.
Blakely Island Field Station
The Blakely Island Field Station serves as the teaching site for upper-division biology courses in marine, aquatic, and terrestrial ecology; and introductory biology and astronomy for non-science majors.
Study Abroad With Us
The Biology Department offers yearly study abroad trips to the tropics during Winter Break. In odd-numbered years we go to Belize; in even-numbered years the Galápagos Islands.