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The Summer Internship Program at the NIH

The NIH Summer Internship Program (SIP) provides you with a full-time biomedical research experience.  It is our hope that many of you will decide to include research as an important component of your future career and we hope you will all leave with a deeper understanding of how scientific investigation works and what it entails.  Although research should be your first priority during your stay at the NIH, we encourage you to find the time to participate in career development activities and reach out to the community around you.

Summer interns at the NIH include

  • high school students who are at least 16 years of age,
  • college students and individuals who will be starting college in the fall,
  • graduate students (that is, individuals working towards a PhD or master's degree), and
  • professional school (medical, dental, pharmacy, etc) students.

Altogether, the NIH is home to about 1200 interns each summer, all of whom are U.S. citizens or permanent residents.  Interns come from most states in the Union and the District of Columbia as well as from Puerto Rico.

The NIH Office of Intramural Training & Education (OITE) works with the Training Offices in the NIH Institutes and Centers (ICs) to ensure that your summer experience is as rewarding as possible.  We aim to help all NIH trainees become creative leaders in the biomedical research community.  In addition to participating in the training activities offered by your IC, please be certain to take advantage of OITE career and professional development activities and the OITE Career Services Center.  A big part of our job is helping you prepare for the next stage in your career.  We can assist you with applying to college or to graduate or professional school, evaluating career options, and improving your communication skills.  You may also be interested in joining one of our summer journal clubs.  In 2012 more than 25 of these small groups will meet weekly during the month of July to discuss selected papers in particular research areas.

The Office of Postbaccalaureate and Summer Research Programs (PSRP) in OITE is specifically responsible for summer interns.  When you first arrive at the NIH

  • be sure to attend an OITE summer orientation (orientations are held every Friday morning in June; check Upcoming Events for time and place);
  • make certain you are included on the official summer listserv, OITE-SIP and check out other listservs that may interest you;
  • create an "NIH Trainee/Fellow" account for yourself on the OITE Web site so that you can register for events with a single click of your mouse, make appointments with career counselors, and access the Alumni Database;
  • come to Building 2 to meet OITE staff, and drop by your IC Training Office to meet your Program Coordinator and/or Training Director,
  • check out our new online resources on topics like "Keeping a Lab Notebook" and "Choosing a Mentor"; and
  • if you are new to research, register for the Science Skills Boot Camp to learn about NIH culture and get up to speed on your research skills.  NOTE: do not plan to attend both Boot Camp and an OITE orientation; choose one or the other.

Summer activities offered by the PSRP include scientific skills workshops; workshops devoted to getting to graduate school and getting to medical school; and brown bag career exploration lunches.  Keep your eyes open for two major summer events: Summer Poster Day, held at the beginning of August, which will allow you to share the results of your research with the NIH community and the Graduate & Professional School Fair, which is attended by representatives of more than 100 institutions from across the U.S.

Check out the Summer Intern News page.