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Program Summary

Welcome to the Tufts Research Experience - Virtual! We welcome high school juniors and seniors with prior research experience to join us for a virtual (web-based) academic year research experience at Tufts under active mentorship by Tufts' world-class researchers and their teams. Students will learn about laboratory techniques, research methods, and data collection and analysis skills. Students will work with Tufts research laboratories, actively participating in the rigorous research activities conducted in them. Students will gain proficiency in authentic scientific practice as they work with faculty, postdoctoral scholars, and students on real life, cutting edge research projects. While the particular techniques and research areas will depend on the individual host team, all students will be directly involved in the day-to-day research work. They will learn about research ethics and how to evaluate information objectively. By program end, students will also have the opportunity to present their research findings in a virtual poster session.

Each student selected to participate in this competitive program will be paired with a Principal Investigator who directs one of Tufts' many outstanding research laboratories. The majority of time in the program will be virtual mentored research through a Tufts laboratory. Students will be fully integrated into the research team, which may include post-doctoral scholars and graduate / undergraduate students, along with including team meetings and research presentations, an incredible opportunity to interact with world-class researchers. Students will Zoom in to all mentoring sessions and online meetings. 

  • During the Fall 2021 and Spring 2022 semesters, students and their mentors will arrange times to be in the virtual lab based on the student's school schedule and the lab's staffing schedule. Typically, this will be around 15 hours a week of virtual lab time on afternoons and evenings.

Our summer program offers a more intensive full-day research experience with the option to live on campus (when the program is offering in-person options) 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!

Program Highlights
  • Study at a top-ranked R1 university
  • Work with and learn from world-class faculty and researchers
  • Gain experience in evaluating real data sets as a part of conducting lab research
  • Investigate a question related to the lab’s research and develop a poster to present at a virtual poster session
Program Outcomes
  • Improved ability to interpret, use and analyze real experimental data
  • Increased understanding of and comfort working with a rigorous laboratory and research team
  • Research poster and lab notes for future applications
  • Refined verbal and written communication skills from participating in a poster session and in-depth conversations with other researchers
  • Enhanced understanding of college-level research
Student Work
Video file
Presented by Siri Jangam, Spring 2021 with Dean Dariush Mozaffarian of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy
Video file
Presented by Esther Song, Spring 2021 with Dean Dariush Mozaffarian of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy

Note: this page represents our best expectations for the program we will deliver this summer, but due to the ever-evolving situation, is subject to change. We will update this page as new information becomes available.

Not for you? Check out one of our other programs.

Program Details

Program Format

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 a virtual 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 2021-22 academic year, orientations will take place on the following dates and times:

  • Fall Semester: September 8, 2021 at 4pm
  • Spring Semester: January 19, 2022 at 4pm

Regular Schedule

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 2021-22 academic year are as follows:

  • Fall 2021: September 8, 2021 to December 14, 2021
  • Spring 2022: January 19, 2022 to May 2, 2022

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 to view all posters and participate in the digital discussion! All posters will be available for virtual viewing along with a recorded (or written) presentation from the student. A digital discussion board will be available so viewers can comment on student's posters and ask questions and, for students who can attend live, a Zoom discussion forum will be available for guests to ask questions live! For the 2021-22 academic year, the poster sessions will take place on the following dates and times:

  • Fall Semester: December 14, 2021 at 3:00PM
  • Spring Semester: May 2, 2022 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!

Materials & Other Requirements


There may be certain platforms, software, and other materials required by labs for the Tufts Research Experience. This should be discussed with your Principal Investigator while discussing your schedule and expectations for the academic semester.

Besides the technology requirements listed under "Tufts Virtual Campus," no materials will be necessary for participation in this program. 

Other Requirements

Accessing Tufts Email

  • Critical university emails will go to your Tufts email address. You can access your Tufts email through a web‐based email reader used to manage your Tufts email. It includes calendar and contact management tools as well. You must read Tufts University email, since this is the primary way that the university will send you information about registration and payment. Access Tufts Exchange via this link.

Tufts Virtual Campus

We endeavor to make each moment of the student experience at Tufts memorable for our students. Tufts Virtual Campus brings new meaning to this as we strive to recreate the critical learning and social environment students expect from Tufts University through digital tools. Tufts Virtual campus exists on a series of software platforms to which students will have full access during their program. In particular, the following two platforms will be used for the majority of our activities:

  • Zoom: allows students to connect for lectures, webinars, breakout sessions, one-on-one mentoring, phone calls, chat sessions ... and more!
  • Canvasprovides a collaborative space for course content, assignments, and grading. Many programs will host course material (syllabus, readings, review questions, etc.) on a Canvas course site.

Academic Experience

Tufts Virtual Campus programs are being designed to provide high-quality, flexible, and interactive experiences to our students. We are carefully designing them to have the same academic rigor and expectations for teaching, studying, and achievement as their on-campus counterparts. The benefits of learning in a virtual environment include giving students greater freedom to interact with course content (lectures, presentations, discussions, forums, etc.) on a schedule that works for them, using a wider network of resources to achieve educational goals.

Safety & Campus Access

University Facilities

Students will have full access to the university’s facilities including the libraries, computer lab and student center. Students will also have full access to Tufts’ Steve Tisch Sports and Fitness center, featuring racquet courts, a swimming pool and cardio and weight-training equipment.

In addition, SMFA Studio Art Intensive students will have access to supervised studios and resources including, the W.Van Alan Clark Library, the media stockroom (where you can borrow any equipment necessary for your art), the School Store, the computer lab. See more details about our studios.

Health & Wellness

Tufts works hard to ensure the health and well-being of all of its students. Once accepted to the program, Tufts will ask all students to submit information related to their health and will collect details regarding allergies and accessibility concerns. Tufts and Residential Life staff will work together to ensure students’ routine medical needs are met.

Tufts also has procedures in-place for students with urgent or emergency needs, illnesses, or injuries. Our procedures combine on-campus and hospital-based care depending on the nature and severity of the issue. A student’s emergency contact will be notified, if one is provided, in the event of an issue. Please see our Health & Wellness Services page for additional information.

In any type of health & wellness emergency, students should immediately contact Tufts University Police at (617) 627-6911.

Please note: medical fees of any kind will be billed to the student and are not included in program fees.

Campus Security

Tufts University 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. Each location is equipped with an emergency blue light phone system and residence halls require a current and valid Tufts ID card for entry and a mechanical key for access to bedrooms. Emergency processes and protocol will be reviewed during orientation.

For more information, please visit our Campus Safety page



Tufts University is not only a leading institution of higher education and academic research, but it is leading the nation in terms of higher education's response to our public health crisis.

To ensure the safety of our Pre-College students, we are closely monitoring the ongoing COVID-19 public health crisis, and following local, state, and federal guidance as it pertains to our Pre-College programming.

For more information about Tufts' response and action planning regarding COVID-19: Please visit Tufts University's COVID-19 homepage.


Tufts takes the safety of its students seriously. All programs are staffed with resources appropriate to care for the size and nature of the program. 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.

Students are required to attend all elements of the program schedule and any expected absences must be communicated to program staff 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.

Some elements of our supervision plan vary depending on how the student is interacting with our campus. Below is a brief overview of where to find information about this. Please note that not all programs offer Residential/Commuter/Virtual options, but the below applies when they do:

  • Residential Students: safety in the dorms is also paramount. Please see the Residential Students section below for more information about how our Residential Life program is staffed.
  • Commuter Students: the commute to campus and time outside of the program will not be monitored by program staff, although the Tufts University Police Department and other safety protocols (in which students will be trained) are available to Tufts community members at all times. Detailed information about traveling to each of our campuses, including details on parking, can be found here. Please check the course list if you do not know the campus on which your course meets. Please note: commuter students are not permitted to enter any residence halls on campus. 
  • Virtual Students: students are required to attend all elements of the program schedule and any expected absences must be communicated to program staff in advance. Tufts takes the safety of its students very seriously, even in the virtual environment. Students who enroll will receive more information about our virtual safety protocols.
Virtual Technical Needs and Support

PLEASE NOTE: Due to the unique nature of each of our Pre-College Programs, virtual opportunities for our programs will vary and this program has not yet defined its specific Virtual opportunities. We have outlined below what a sample version of the Virtual experience would be like. Please check back for updates regarding the details of your Pre-College Program's Virtual options.

Technical Needs

Students will need access to the following in order to participate in this program:

  • Computer: either a Mac or PC with the following
    • Mac - running at least OS 10.6 (Snow Leopard) 
    • PC - running Windows 7/8/10. Users on Windows 10 will have to download the Windows 10 Anniversary Update.
  • Smart Phone: any phone capable of accessing social media platforms like Instagram
  • Internet Access: A reliable, high-speed (cable or broadband) internet connection is required. Students are expected to log into Zoom and Canvas and to check email daily, and will need regular and reliable access to the internet.
    • If you do not have reliable access to internet, programs may have internet hotspots available for students with demonstrated financial need. While this cannot be guaranteed, and supplies may be limited, please check with your program for availability. 
  • Web Camera: either integrated into your computer or external, set-up and working
  • Web Browser: one of the following browsers updated for the latest updates: 
    • Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Edge, and Safari.
  • Software*: programs capable of

              *software may vary by program

We will provide you will access to other software that is required for your program for the duration of your program. As long as you have technology that meets the above requirements, you should have no trouble accessing the software. Depending on the program, this software may include Zoom and Canvas.

Trial Run: Getting Connected

Most programs will send software in advance with instructions to complete a trial-run before the program begins. We will also use orientation time to ensure everyone is connected and comfortable! 

Getting Help/Support

First, please try contacting the Pre-College staff at 617-627-2926.

If they cannot answer your question, they will pass you along to our technical support team who is available 24x7 to students who are actively enrolled in a program.

Attending outside the Eastern Time Zone

If you live on the West Coast or internationally, you may be wondering how you will be able to participate in a program that has both in-person and virtual options. Please know that Tufts sees a diversity of geographical perspectives as not just beneficial but essential to a twenty-first century education. We have been working hard with our staff to ensure all students who are offered a spot in our programs will be able to attend - whether in live, streamed, or recorded sessions. We will be updating this section with program-specific accommodations as we seek improved ways to suit our students' needs and have a better sense of the geographic distribution of our students. 

Application & Policies

Application Materials & Deadlines

Tufts Research Experience is a highly competitive program that fills up quickly. We highly recommend applying as early as possible. 

Apply Now!

Application & Key Enrollment Dates

Priority deadlines may apply. Admission granted on a rolling basis.

Note: all dates are as of 11:59PM ET

Program Application Opens Deadline: All Materials* Deadline: Deposit^ Deadline: Payment Deadline: Enrollment Forms


August 1

September 1

10 days after acceptance

September 1

September 4


December 1

January 4

10 days after acceptance

January 15

January 15




10 days after acceptance



*Applications submitted after the payment deadline will require payment in full on admission to hold their seat.

* 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.

Program Eligibility

General Requirements

  • Current high school grades 11-12 *or* a Spring 2022 high school graduate
  • Must be age 16 by the first day of the program

International Students

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.

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.

Application Requirements

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: Upload Your High School Transcript

During your application process, you will be asked to provide us with contact information for an official from your high school. They will receive an email with further instructions to upload your transcript.

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 or 617-627-2926.

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.

Post-Enrollment Materials

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.

Tuition & Fees

Program Fees - Fall 2021 and Spring 2022

Interested in our summer program? Please click here to see program fees for the Tufts Summer Research Program.

Fall/Spring Commuter Program Fee: $5,000 per semester

  • 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 2021 and Spring 2022

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

Vaccinations: n/a

  • 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

Refund Policies

Billing & Payment Policies

All Policies

Financial Aid

Availability of Awards

Tufts Pre-College Programs are committed to aiding students from all backgrounds. 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.

Financial Aid awards are made on a rolling basis to students with demonstrated need. We aim to provide enough aid to eligible students that they are able to successfully enroll and participate in the program. Seasonal aid awards are as follows:

  • Fall: we currently do not offer aid for the Fall term
  • Spring: we currently do not offer aid for the Spring term
  • Summer: we will typically distribute awards monthly beginning in February and will continue until the enrollment deadline or until aid is fully distributed

Please note:

  • 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. 
  • We currently do not offer aid for students participating in our Leadership for Social Change Intensive


  1. Complete the Admissions Application for the pre-college program you would like to attend.
  2. During the application process, you will be asked to indicate whether you are interested in being considered for financial aid.
  3. After submission, you will have the option of completing a financial aid application in your student portal
  4. We will review your financial aid application. Your financial aid application will be considered for the next monthly aid award(s).
  5. If you receive an award,
    1. You will be notified by email of the amount of the award
    2. You will have 10 days (including weekends and holidays) to accept the award by completing your Financial Aid Award Form and submitting your deposit
    3. Tufts Pre-College Programs will then credit your student account with the amount of financial aid you received
    4. 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
  6. If you do not receive an award you will be notified via email

Please see the policies section of this website for a complete list of applicable policies.