Undergraduate Summer Research Program (MSRP Bio)


Biology/BCS Summer Research Internships

June 4 - Aug 11, 2018

The Department of Biology and Department of Brain & Cognitive Sciences at MIT offer a joint 10-week research-intensive summer training program in the biological sciences, neurosciences or biomedical-related fields to advanced sophomore and junior science majors from other colleges and universities who have an interest in a research career. This summer internship program is funded in part by the National Science Foundation, the MIT Department of Biology, and generous gifts from private donors.

Program Eligibility

Only current undergraduate students studying full time in the U.S. are eligible for this summer program (no exceptions). MIT undergraduates are not eligible for this program. If you are an MIT undergraduate, see the UROP Program website. Students studying abroad for more than one semester are not eligible.

In addition applicants must:

  • Be current sophomores or juniors who have successfully completed introductory courses in the biological sciences (Non-graduating seniors in a 5-year program are also eligible)
  • Maintain a minimum 3.5 GPA in the science courses.
  • Have demonstrated an interest in basic research and in a career in the sciences.

Preference will be given to applicants from non-research intensive colleges and universities. Foreign students are not eligible unless they are currently enrolled as full-time undergraduates at a non-research intensive college/university or minority-serving institution in the U.S. on a student visa (no exceptions).

Program Goals

The summer program is primarily designed to encourage students from under-represented minority groups, first-generation college students, and students from economically-disadvantaged backgrounds to attend graduate school and pursue a career in basic research by providing them the opportunity to conduct supervised research in a top-notch research institution in a supportive learning environment with plenty of interaction with graduate students and faculty. Over 85% of past participants have enrolled in top graduate programs within two years of completing this summer program. A number of our summer interns were also awarded Goldwater Scholarships, pre-doctoral NSF fellowships (GRFP), or Gilliam Fellowships for Advanced Study.

This summer program provides a unique opportunity for students who do not have access to top-notch research facilities at their own institution to conduct supervised research in a fast-paced environment with state-of-the-art research facilities, and to experience first hand the academic social and cultural environment at MIT.

Program Description

Students accepted into the program receive their 10-week practical training in one of over 90 research laboratories affiliated with the Department of Biology, the Department of Brain & Cognitive Sciences, or the Center for Brains, Minds, and Machines.

Areas of research are very diverse and include Biochemistry & Biophysics, Bioengineering, Cancer Biology, Cell Biology, Chemical Biology, Computational & Systems Biology, Developmental Biology, Genetics, Genomics, Human Genetics, Infectious Diseases, Immunology, Microbiology, Molecular Biology, Molecular Medicine & Human Disease, Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience, Cognitive Sciences, Computational Neuroscience, Systems Neuroscience, Neurobiology, Plant Biology, Structural Biology, Systems Biology, or Virology.

In addition, students receive training in reading and discussing scientific research papers, are exposed to scientific writing, practice giving oral presentations on their summer research and meet with various faculty to discuss scientific careers.

Program Expectations

Students are expected to work full-time in the laboratory, to participate in weekly lab meetings, and attend weekly academic and research seminars. The weekly seminars cover such topics as applying to graduate school, giving an oral presentation, writing a research abstract, learning about various career options available to Ph.D. graduates. These seminars are designed to help students improve their presentation skills and to be more competitive graduate applicants. Students will also have the opportunity to attend departmental retreats, research symposia, research seminars, and meet with various MIT faculty members.

At the end of the program students are required to give a poster presentation on their research, submit a 5-page research summary, and a one-page personal statement about their summer experience at MIT.

Program Features

Students accepted into the program receive:

  • Campus housing.
  • A weekly stipend.
  • Travel allowance to and from MIT (domestic travel only).
  • An MIT email account.
  • Subsidized pass to the athletic facilities.
  • Wireless internet access.
  • Access to the MIT Medical Department.
  • Organized social activities and weekend outings.

Students are also invited to participate in weekend social activities, visit a local Biotech, and visit Boston and its vicinity. Students take a guided tour of Boston and the Freedom Trail, a one-day trip to Martha's Vineyard, a 4th of July barbecue, and a Boston Harbor cruise.

Students in the MIT summer program live together on campus in shared suites with kitchens. This housing arrangement promotes social interactions and provides a wonderful opportunity to forge long-lasting friendships with peers in the program.

Online Application

The online application for the 2018 program will become available on November 15th.

The application deadline is January 30, 2018 at 11:59 p.m. EST. Late submissions will not be accepted.

Applicants will be notified of the status of their application by March 15, 2018.

A complete application consists of:

  • The submitted online application form and CV.
  • Three letters of reference from science faculty, to be submitted electronically. At least one letter must be from a research mentor or lab supervisor. Please note that applicants must include a letter of reference from their most recent research experience (including if applicable from a summer research experiences at another institution).
  • Unofficial college transcript (scanned or otherwise, to be submitted electronically).

Please address any questions to msrpbio@mit.edu.

Online Application

The online application for the 2018 summer program will open on November 15, 2017.
The application deadline is January 30, 2018 at 11:59 p.m. EST.

Interview with MSRP Bio alumna Bertina Telusma

Additional Information:

"Being in the MIT summer program in biology and neuroscience not only allowed me to conduct interesting research that I would've never been able to do otherwise but also to be mentored by amazing scientists and meet a wonderful group of colleagues. If it weren't for my experience at MT, I would not be in the position I am in right now."   Alexandra Clemente

"It was a very intense learning and research experience, and has made a very significant impact in shaping my career choice as a scientist. It was an eye and mind opening summer."

"MIT has given me a taste of what a graduate program grounded in excellence and hard work looks like." Summer 2014

"This summer has not only bolstered my confidence in my own ability to conduct research in a fast paced laboratory but also my decision to pursue graduate school. I know that this is the life I want to lead."