Tufts Research Experience
We welcome high school juniors and seniors with prior research experience to join us for a semester at Tufts under active mentorship by one of Tufts' world-class researchers to learn hands-on laboratory techniques and/or data and processing skills. Students will work in Tufts research laboratories, actively participating in the rigorous research being explored at Tufts. Students will gain proficiency in authentic research practices as they work side-by-side with the faculty, postdoctoral scholars, and students at Tufts University. Although the particular techniques and areas of research will depend on the research team that hosts each student, all students will actively contribute to ongoing research projects and learn about research ethics and how to evaluate information objectively. Lab time will be supplemented with a poster session and the opportunity to experience life on the Tufts University campus.
Each student selected to participate in this competitive program will be paired with a Principal Investigator and mentor in one of Tufts' many outstanding research laboratories. The majority of time in the program will be mentored research in a Tufts laboratory. Students will be fully integrated into the research team including team meetings and presentations, an incredible opportunity to interact with world-class researchers.
- During the Fall and Spring semesters, students and their mentors will arrange times to be in the labs based on the student's school schedule and the lab's staffing schedule. Typically, this will be around 15 hours a week of in-lab time on afternoons and evenings. Please note that we can only accommodate commuter students during the Fall and Spring.
- Our summer program offers a more intensive full-day research experience with the option to live on campus and participate in additional journal clubs, field trips, guest lectures, skills-building workshops, and networking events. If this appeals to you, check-out the Tufts Summer Research Experience!
Just five miles northwest of Boston, Tufts University’s Medford / Somerville tranquil campus sits on a hill overlooking the city. Tufts’ location offers a relaxed and safe campus environment with easy access to Boston.
- Top-ranked university just minutes from Boston
- Work side-by-side with world class faculty and researchers
- Use interdisciplinary strategies involving emerging technologies, computational thinking, and previously published work to investigate a question
- Gain first-hand experience in evaluating real experimental data and conducting research
- Employ critical thinking, reasoning, and communication skills to investigate a question related to their lab’s research
- Develop a poster and present it at a poster session
- During the summer program, participate in journal clubs, field trips, and networking events
- Make lifelong friends with students from all over the world
- Skills critical for success in lab and data-based research
- Improved ability to interpret, use and analyze real experimental data
- Increased comfort working in a rigorous laboratory setting and team
- Ability to differentiate the roles that individuals fulfill on an effective research team
- Research poster and lab notes for future applications
- Refined verbal and written communication skills from participating in a real poster session and in-depth conversations with other researchers
- Enhanced understanding of college-level research
Not for you? Check out one of our other programs.
This program is amazing because it allows you to do real college-level research over the summer, and you can choose from a very wide range of subjects. While many similar programs at other schools only focus on a few narrow subjects, TSRE is unique in that you can choose anything from sociology to chemical engineering. You get to meet like-minded high school students and Tufts students, forming friendships that can last after the program ends. Additionally, you can choose between commuter or residential programs, which few similar programs let you do. It takes place at a phenomenal university in a great location, so you really can’t go wrong. If you love research, or want to try it out, I think you should seriously consider TSRE.
This program is an intensive research experience meant for students who have a passion for the social or natural sciences. It provides six weeks of meaningful exposure to college-level research at a prestigious university. The program is run well, and the staff are very nice and helpful. If you know students who are interested, I would definitely recommend TSRE for them.
It was one of the best experiences I have ever had, I felt I had learned a lot.
The quality of the program was fantastic: not just the research, but also the lectures and exposure he had to other faculty and campus resources.
“[My student] loved her work in the lab. She developed a wonderful relationship with her mentor and learned so much both about doing research in general and about the specific research she was assisting with in the lab. Creating and presenting her final poster was also a fantastic experience for her. She left this program feeling as though she had accomplished so much.
Program Details (Fall and Spring)
Interested in our summer program? Please click here to see the program details and schedule for the Tufts Summer Research Program.
All students are required to attend orientation and a series of lab safety training sessions in advance of their first visit to the lab. During this orientation, we will review the overall program schedule including each student's specific lab schedule, discuss policies and safety, and answer any questions. For the 2019-20 academic year, orientations will take place on the following dates and times:
- Fall Semester: September 18 2019 at 5pm
- Spring Semester: January 15 2020 at 5pm
During the program, students will be introduced to and participate in research happening in the lab. Mentors will guide students in understanding the ongoing scientific inquiry and will work with the students on interpreting journal articles related to that research. Throughout the program, students will work with their mentors and PIs to build their research skills, perform controlled experiments, and interpret and extrapolate on real experimental data. Where possible, each student will be able to complete a research project they design with their mentor. All of this learning will culminate in the student producing a poster about their lab’s research to be presented at the program’s poster session at the end of each term.
Because each lab has different research schedules and because we know high school students are balancing a lot already, each student and the lab in which they are selected will design a schedule of up to 10-15 hours a week over an approximately 10-12 week period with visits that work best for the student and the lab. As such, there is no one schedule to which all students will adhere. Program dates for the 2019-20 academic year are as follows:
- Fall Semester: Sept. 16, 2019 - Dec. 13, 2019
- Spring Semester: Jan. 20, 2020 - May 1, 2020
Poster Session & Closing Ceremony
One of the highlights of our program is the opportunity for each student to develop a poster on a research question being investigated in their lab. The student's mentor will help them develop this poster, a critical skill for any researcher. At the end of each term, all of our students will display their posters at a Poster Session with the opportunity to explain their research and answer the questions of their peers, researchers, and scientists from across the University. Friends and family are welcome! For the 2019-20 academic year, the poster sessions will take place on the following dates and times:
- Fall Semester: December 6, 2019 at 3:00PM
- Spring Semester: April 26, 2020 at 3:00PM
Please note that the number of interns during the academic year can vary. If there are too few interns in a given term, instead of holding a formal poster session at the end of the program, we will work with the student's department to ensure there is a specific time during which the student can present their poster and findings to the team and any guests!
Supervision (Fall and Spring)
Students are required to attend all sessions that they schedule with their PI or Mentor and any expected absences must be communicated to the PI or Mentor in advance. Tufts takes the safety of its students very seriously. As such, our current policy for pre-college students states that students cannot be in a lab or leave campus during their program without the supervision of a staff member or explicit parental permission received through official processes. Commuter students’ commute to campus and time outside of the sessions scheduled with a PI or Mentor will not be monitored by program staff, although Tufts community members have Tufts University Police Department and other campus safety protocols available at all times.
Tufts makes reasonable efforts to secure background checks and to provide Title IX training to every staff person responsible for students in its Pre-College Programs.
Tufts Research Experience is a highly competitive program that fills up quickly. We highly recommend applying to as early as possible.
|Program||Application Opens||Deadline: All Materials*||Deadline: Deposit^||Deadline: Payment||Deadline: Enrollment Forms|
|Fall||July 1||August 26||10 days after acceptance||September 1||September 18|
|Spring||October 1||December 15||10 days after acceptance||December 30||January 15|
|Summer||December 1||May 1||10 days after acceptance||May 15||
* Admission is granted on a rolling basis and a wait list for seats may begin before Deadline for All Materials. We encourage you to submit your application as soon as possible if you are interested in this program. ^ Includes weekends and holidays
- Entering high school grades 11-12 *or* a Spring 2020 high school graduate
- Must be age 16 by the first day of the program
Residential Students (summer only)
Students electing to live in the dorms or to attend a residential program must be at least 15 and no older than 17 at the start of the program.
Both domestic and international students are welcome to apply to and attend our pre-college programs, although please note we cannot sponsor visas for this program during the academic year. We do offer visa sponsorship during our summer program.
Non-Native English Speakers
If you indicate that English is not your primary language, you will be asked to submit evidence of English Language proficiency. Please see our "How to Apply" page for details
Step 1: Complete an Online Application
The online application will ask you for the following information:
- Basic personal information, including parents/guardians and emergency contact (if you are under 18, we will contact a parent for permission to enroll)
- Program preferences (e.g., whether you would like to be a residential or commuter student)
- Up to 3 lab preferences, indicating your order of preference
- Please note that students indicating only 1 lab are not typically considered for additional labs if their first choice is unavailable
- For each lab preference, you will need to submit one 250-word statement describing your interest in that specific lab
- One 250-word Personal Statement describing your research experience and your interest in research
- Contact information for 1 individual to submit a Letter of Recommendation - this individual can be a teacher, counselor, or mentor. We will contact this individual on your behalf.
- Test scores - optional, unless you must submit scores as evidence of English proficiency
- Warrants and signatures
If you need to log back into this application after starting, click here: return to my application.
Step 2: Email or Mail your High School Transcript
After submitting your online application, you must contact your high school and ask them to send a transcript to us. They can send us this information in two ways: by email to email@example.com or by mail to Tufts Pre-College Programs, Dowling Hall, 419 Boston Avenue, Medford, MA 02155.
Step 3: Parental Consent and Letter of Recommendation
As a part of your application, you will be asked to provide contact information for both a parent/guardian and a recommender. Once you submit your application, our systems will automatically email the parent/guardian and recommender you listed in the application with instructions for how to fill out the online permission or recommendation form.
Please note your application will not be considered submitted and review of your application will not begin until the materials from Step 2 and Step 3 have been received by Tufts Pre-College Programs.
Pre-College Admissions Decision
Once an applicant has submitted an application and all required admissions documents are received, the applicant will be considered for admission by the Tufts Pre-College Programs review committee for the specific program(s) to which they applied.
Decisions are made on a rolling basis and students will typically receive an official email informing them of their admissions status within 10 days (including weekends and holidays) of Tufts receiving all required materials.
If you do not receive your email within two weeks of all materials being submitted, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 617-627-0609.
Disclaimer: This program is not related to Tufts University Undergraduate Admissions. Participation in this program does not result in admission to a Tufts University degree program. Tufts reserves the right to admit as requested, to deny admission, or to offer provisional admission. The program will not provide feedback to applicants if admission is denied.
Admitted students must do the following prior to the start of the program:
- Submit a deposit to hold your seat; this program requires a deposit within 10 days (including weekends and holidays) of the date on which the admissions decision was posted
- Pay your balance in full prior to the stated deadline
- Complete all enrollment forms and/or follow-up requests prior to the stated deadline
Should the above not be completed prior to the stated deadlines, the student will be automatically withdrawn from the program.
Program Fees - Fall 2019 and Spring 2020
Interested in our summer program? Please click here to see program fees for the Tufts Summer Research Program.
Fall/Spring Commuter Program Fee: $6,000 per semester + $200 materials fee
- Includes: up to 10-15 hours of lab time a week as arranged by student and lab for approximately 10-12 weeks a semester, PI mentorship, all lab materials, closing ceremony, poster session, use of select campus facilities, and daily activities
- Excludes: residential accommodations, meals, airfare/transportation to and from home city or residence, courses and activities shown to have an extra fee, laundry, spending money, souvenirs, meals eaten away from program, trip cancellation insurance, medical insurance, required vaccinations, medical and dental expenses and any non-program-related transportation needs.
Non-Refundable Program Deposit: $550, applied to the Program Fee
- A pre-payment on program fees is required to reserve space in the program within 10 days (including weekends and holidays) of admission to the program
- This deposit will be applied toward program fees and is not an additional fee
- The balance of payment for program fees is due upon notification of charges, and no later than the payment deadline listed above
- This deposit is non-refundable in the event of withdrawal from the program
Health Fees - Fall and Spring 2020
Health Insurance: n/a
- Students carrying sufficient, valid U.S.-based health insurance do not need to pay this fee
- All high school students enrolled in Tufts Pre-College Programs must carry valid U.S.-based health insurance
- Students will be asked to provide evidence of sufficient insurance during the enrollment process. If your student has sufficient insurance, no further action will be necessary
- Those who do not have sufficient insurance will not be eligible to participate in the program
- Students who can demonstrate that all required vaccinations were received prior to the program start date do not need to pay these fees
- All high school students enrolled in Tufts Pre-College Programs must show evidence of required vaccinations during the enrollment process. If your student has all required vaccinations, no further action will be necessary
- Those who do not have all required vaccinations will be asked to provide further documentation; students who cannot provide the required documentation will be unable to participate in the program
Other Key Financial Policies
Availability of Awards
Tufts Pre-College Programs are committed to welcoming students from all backgrounds to Tufts’ campus. Although we have only limited financial aid available, we do our best to distribute the funds to students for whom it can make the greatest difference in their ability to attend.
Each of the programs offering financial aid in this way offers a very limited number of scholarships, typically covering 75—100% of the program fee based on demonstrated need.
- Fall: we will distribute any available aid in August
- Spring: we will distribute any available aid in December
- Summer: we will typically distribute two awards in February and will continue to issue awards once a month in March and April, until all available funds have been distributed
- International students are not eligible for financial aid at this time. Families should expect to contribute to the remaining portion of the program cost as well as other expenses like travel, books, etc.
- This program is not available for Tuition Remission or Reimbursement
- Complete the Admissions Application for the pre-college program you would like to attend.
- After submission, you will have the option of completing a financial aid application in your student portal
- We will review your financial aid application only after you have been admitted to the program. Once admitted, your financial aid application will be considered for the next monthly aid award(s).
- If you receive an award,
- You will be notified by email of the amount of the award
- You will have 10 business days to accept the award by emailing email@example.com
- Tufts Pre-College Programs will then credit your student account with the amount of financial aid you received
- Please note: Your enrollment in the program is still contingent on payment of any remaining balance after the award is applied to your account, and on receiving your enrollment forms
- If you do not receive an award, your application will be automatically considered in the next application cycle for the program term in which you are applying, unless funds are no longer available.
- Once all of our funds have been distributed, we will notify all remaining applicants.
Please see the policies section of this website for a complete list of applicable policies.
Life at Tufts
We endeavor to make each moment of the student experience at Tufts memorable for our students. Every piece of the student life experience is designed to inform and enable students to have a healthy, fulfilling, and safe academic experience.
Students will have access to libraries and the student center in addition to the classroom/building in which their course(s) or lab are located.
Health & Wellness
We are unable to offer health and wellness services for students in this program at this time. Faculty and staff are instructed to contact the student's emergency contact in the case of health and wellness concerns and Tufts University Policy in the case of a medical or psychological crisis or emergency. In a medical or psychological crisis or emergency, please immediately contact Tufts University Police at 617-627-6911.
Tufts campus is considered very safe among U.S. college campuses. Although crime on campus is unusual, we do have an open campus in a major metropolitan area and we expect our students to exercise good judgment and responsibility as they navigate the campus. Tufts University maintains its own police department, on the job 24 hours a day, if an emergency arises. Tufts campus is equipped with an emergency blue light phone system.
For more information, please visit our Campus Safety page.
If you are interested in experiencing life on Tufts' campus while having a world-class mentored research experience, please see our intensive summer program: Tufts Summer Research Experience.
At this time, we are unable to offer housing during the academic year.
Commuting to the Program (Fall and Spring)
Interested in our summer program? Please click here to see information for commuters during the Tufts Summer Research Program.
During the academic year, all students must be able to commute to the Tufts campus on which their lab is located. Commuter students and their parents are responsible for ensuring their student travels to and from campus safely and on time each day. Detailed information about traveling to each of our campuses, including details on parking, can be found here.
Students are only permitted to be on campus during the specific times scheduled with their PI or Mentor and are only permitted to enter spaces as instructed by their PI, Mentor, or Tufts Pre-College Programs. Commuter students are not permitted to enter any residence halls on campus.