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Program Overview

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.

Students may choose to commute or live on campus during the program. Residential students will live in dormitories and share meals in campus dining halls throughout the six-week program.

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. While most program activities and labs will be on the Medford / Somerville campus, some of our lab placements are on our Boston Health Sciences campus (Medical, Dental, and Nutrition) and our Grafton Campus (Veterinary).

Program Highlights:

  • 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
  • Participate in journal clubs, field trips, guest lectures, and networking events
  • Make lifelong friends with students from all over the world

Program Outcomes:

  • 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.

    I literally have made really good friends from the town right next to mine and other friends from across the world. I feel like that is such a valuable thing because it helps me develop a more wide look at the world.

    Two female students posing and smiling in front of the Fletcher School at Tufts university.

    Courses and professors are great! They are kind, approachable, understanding, and helpful. I also love the lifestyle here. I love the library as there are many nice areas that motivate me to study. I have got many new experiences and perspectives about living and my interests.

    A medical professor lectures to two students in a medical lab with a mannequin in Tufts University's Boston Health Sciences campus.

    It was the best summer I’ve ever had because of Tufts

    It was nothing like I ever experienced. I grew so much

    I experienced something new and met great people along the way.

    I like the freedom and the fact that this felt a lot like college… Additionally, I was really fond of my classes and my professor. The classes were amazing and it was a new and better learning experience for me.

    This is a program really treats you as an admitted college student, and if you want to know what's like to be a college student, how it feels to work with college professors, and what your interested area is specifically about, this is the perfect program you've been looking for. 

    A scintillating academic experience that I'm extremely lucky to have had.

    The classes were great and teacher receptive, friendly, and provided excellent classes.

    I loved everything. I loved the classes and my peers.

    I really appreciated the smaller class sizes, the quality of the teaching staff, and the availability of parking!

    I very truly enjoyed the class that I took.  The instructor was amazing.  My classmates were gifted.  Taking the course persuaded me to begin working on my application materials to apply to a graduate certificate in UEP

    As my first time taking an online college class, I really had a great time taking the course! [My professor] was understanding and super helpful when I had any questions. Also when I would email her she would always get back to me right away which I really loved… my experience was great!

    Program Details


    Our program begins with an orientation and opening dinner on Sunday, June 28 at 5:00pm in Dewick-MacPhie Dining Hall. During this required orientation, we will review the overall program schedule, discuss policies and safety, and answer questions. Staff will be on-hand to address any issues. 

    Orientation will continue on Monday with a campus tour and a series of lab safety training sessions in advance of students' first visit to the lab. Additional training will be provided throughout the program.

    Monday - Friday: Program Days

    The majority of time in the program (9:00am-3:00pm each day, with a lunch break) will be mentored research in the student’s laboratory. During the program, students will be introduced to and participate in research happening in the lab and will be fully integrated into the research team with activities including team meetings and presentations - an incredible opportunity to interact with world-class researchers. 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.

    In the afternoons, students will participate in a variety of activities to supplement and prepare them for their mentored research:

    Journal Clubs: begin to distill critical information from previously published scientific research through weekly meetings led by a program TA. Journal clubs are designed to prepare students to interpret data and published scientific research, including being able to answer the following types of questions:

    • Problem - what is the problem? why is this needed?
    • Significance - why do we/public care?
    • Approach - what technique(s) did they use?
    • Results - what were their major conclusions?
    • Analysis - what did you think about the results, techniques etc.? do you find them reliable?
    • Figure Interpretation - what was the best figure that helped you come to this conclusion?

    Library / Computer Lab and Seminars: learn the practical skills necessary for conducting database research, illustrating data, poster design tips and tricks … and more! Students may also use this time to conduct database research on their own and begin working on their research posters.

    Guest Presentations: hear from Tufts faculty and post-doctoral scholars about their research, career path, experience in the field of research and their current research. Plenty of time will be allowed for Q&A.

    Networking Sessions: students will have the opportunity to informally discuss their ongoing research with their peers and program TAs.

    Please note: the below represents a sample schedule of one week in the program. The schedule is subject to change as we continue to evolve the program and speaker list to be as meaningful as possible for our students!

    Outline of a sample schedule for Tufts Summer Research Experience

    * Residential students only. Commuter students: please note that only lunch is included in your program fee and there are specific policies around your arrival to and departure from campus. Please see the "Commuter Students" section below for more information.

    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. The poster sessions will take place on August 7, 2020 at 3:00PM. Friends and family are welcome!


    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. Commuter students’ commute to campus and time outside of the program 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.

    Application Materials & Deadlines

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

    Remind me when applications open!

    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
    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

    June 8

    * 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

    • 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.

    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. 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

    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: 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 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 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.

    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 - Summer 2020

    Commuter Program Fee: $8,000 tuition + $200 materials fee

    • Includes: all program activities, PI mentorship, all lab materials, 1 meal per weekday (lunch), opening/closing events, poster session, use of select campus facilities, included program excursions and daily activities
    • Excludes: residential accommodations, breakfast/dinner/weekend 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, any non-program-related transportation needs, and anything not explicitly stated above.

    Residential Program Fee: $11,250 tuition + $200 materials fee

    • Includes: all program activities, PI mentorship, all lab materials, poster session, room, 3 meals per day (brunch / dinner on Sundays), use of select campus facilities, included program and residential excursions and daily activities, bed linens, pillow and towels, 24-hour residential care and support, staff accompanied airport transfer during specified windows
    • Excludes: airfare/transportation to and from home city, courses and activities shown to have an extra fee, laundry, spending money, souvenirs, meals eaten away from program, airport transfers outside of specified windows, trip cancellation insurance, medical insurance, required vaccinations, medical and dental expenses, any non-program-related transportation needs, and anything not explicitly stated above.

    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 business days 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 May 15
    • This deposit is non-refundable in the event of withdrawal from the program

    Health Fees - Summer 2020

    Health Insurance: TBD, only if evidence of valid U.S.-based health insurance is not presented (Summer 2019: $358)

    • Coverage Dates: TBD
    • 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 be asked to purchase a plan during the enrollment process

    Vaccinations: TBD, only if evidence of required vaccinations is not presented (Summer 2019: $100-$300 per vaccine)

    • 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 or will be required to receive the vaccination, with parental consent, while on campus. If a student receives the vaccination while on campus the student will be responsible for the associated fee and grades / transcripts will be with-held for non-payment. If a student does not provide appropriate documentation or agree to receive the vaccination while on campus, Tufts reserves the right to remove the student from 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 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

    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.
    • This program is not available for Tuition Remission or Reimbursement


    1. Complete the Admissions Application for the pre-college program you would like to attend.
    2. After submission, you will have the option of completing a financial aid application in your student portal
    3. We will review your financial aid application only after you have been admitted to the programOnce admitted, your financial aid application will be considered for the next monthly aid award(s).
    4. If you receive an award,
      1. You will be notified by email of the amount of the award
      2. You will have 10 business days to accept the award by emailing
      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
    5. 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.
    6. 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

    Whether you commute to our program or live with us on-campus, we endeavor to make each moment of the student experience at Tufts memorable for our students. Every piece of the student-life experience, from our dorms to our dining halls, our athletic facilities to our check-in and orientation is designed to inform and enable students to have a healthy, fulfilling, and safe summer.

    Take a Tufts Virtual Tour

    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 Summerfuel 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

    The campuses of Tufts University are 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

    Residential Students


    Check-in will begin at Houston Hall at 9am on the first Sunday of the program. Students are welcome to arrive on campus and check in anytime on Sunday between 9am and 5pm. During check in, room assignments will be distributed and students will have the opportunity to meet their RAs and roommates and unpack.

    For students arriving from out of town on Sunday between 9am and 5pm, there is a shuttle service from the airport and train/bus station for students arriving from out of state. All details about arrival and departure travel will be communicated after you have been admitted to the program.

    Students arriving outside of the specified window should be in-touch with us to discuss what accommodations can be arranged. While we make reasonable efforts to accommodate students who need to arrive early or depart late, we cannot guarantee the same services will be available to students arriving or departing outside of the specified windows.

    Residential Life

    Residential Students will get the full Tufts University experience by living on-campus in one of Tufts Undergraduate dorms: Houston Hall! Tufts partners with Summerfuel, a well-known provider of high school summer programming, to offer top quality residential and social experiences for its students. Rooms are air-conditioned, 24/7 security and hospitality is available, and accessible rooms are available upon request.

    Bedrooms will be doubles on a common hall. Halls are divided by gender and age and students are grouped into smaller communities known as Resident Advisor groups. Roommates and RA groups are determined based on the pre-program housing questionnaire and taking into account age and geographic diversity. Full bedding and towels will be provided and will be replaced weekly. Wi-Fi is available throughout campus.

    Resident Advisors (RA) will live on each hall and will work to create a strong, supportive residential community. A Resident Advisor’s role is to support students in every aspect of their summer experience while serving as a mentor and active leader. Summerfuel Senior Staff also live in residence and are available to help address student concerns and emergencies, day or night.

    The residence is accessible with a current and valid Tufts ID card, which is required for entry into the building and a mechanical key for the bedroom door. Tufts University security is on 24-hour patrol and available to any student that may need assistance. The Summerfuel office is located in the building’s entrance corridor and serves as the information and security hub for students.

    A dedicated residential staff oversees student safety during the entirety of the program. Students are honor bound to follow clear safety protocols whether on campus or in the city, and are required to use the buddy system during free time.

    See our policy section for additional information and please do not hesitate to contact us with questions and concerns.

    Residential Staff

    Residential staff will support students as they adjust to living in a dormitory and being responsible members of a summer program community. The residence staff will include a director, senior staff and one resident advisor for every ten students. Prior to the program, residence staff will be trained to lead student groups, manage student conflict and resolution and oversee all safety aspects on program. They will begin the program well prepared to meet the needs of all Tufts Pre-College Program students.

    This summer's team will be led by George Kinzel, a 20+ year Summerfuel veteran and a long-time summer resident at Tufts. Meet George


    Residential program fees include three meals per day and brunch / dinner on Sundays. All meals on the Medford/Somerville campus will be at Dewick-MacPhie Dining Center, conveniently located a few minutes from student housing. Dewick-MacPhie provides a wide variety of menu choices, including vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and an organic salad bar. All meals on the Boston Fine Arts (SMFA), Boston Health Sciences, or Grafton campuses will be provided through boxed lunches or by Tufts staff. Tufts staff will also provide meals for program related activities taking place off-campus. Tufts dining is able to accommodate most dietary restrictions and preferences. Please advise us of dietary needs during the application process.

    Activities & Trips

    We want your summer to be fun too! It is summer after all! Summerfuel will be planning trips and activities throughout the summer that will allow students to make friends, build relationships, and relax from the world-class academic work they will be doing in the classroom.

    Examples of past weekend trips include excursions to Six Flags New England, Crane Beach in Ipswich, downtown Boston, the Museum of Fine Arts, Duck Boat tours, Charles River Cruises, and more! Please note that weekend trips vary from year to year and these are only examples of the kinds of trips this program might include.The cost of any such excursions (including transportation, entrance fees, regularly scheduled meals, and supervision) is included in the cost of the program, although souvenirs, extra food, and other incidentals is not.

    Daily activities might include ice cream socials, midnight pancakes, trips to local coffee houses for poetry readings, lectures around campus, visits to Davis Square, etc. The cost of most of these activities will be included, however incidentals like coffee at the coffee house or public transportation fares for an optional activity will not be covered by the program.

    Commuter Students

    Commuting to the Program

    We know that for some students, living on campus is not the best option. We welcome you to our program! For commuter students, the program will begin at 5:00pm on the first Sunday of the program with an orientation and end at 8:00pm on the last Friday of the program with a closing event. Saturdays and Sundays are not program days and commuter students are not expected on campus on these days. During each day of the program, commuter students must arrive on campus at 8:45am, meeting at Dewick-MacPhie or at the Security Desk at 230 the Fenway (SMFA Studio Art program). Students must depart from campus by 6:00pm at the latest, though students may leave at the end of their afternoon sessions at 5:00pm on most days. Students remaining on campus past 6:00pm, arriving before 8:45am, or on non-program days will not be under the care of program staff (parents accept responsibility) except on the first Sunday and last Friday of the program, on which days the end of the opening / closing events (8:00pm) will be the official departure time for students.

    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 the Medford / Somerville campus and the Boston Fine Arts campus, including details on parking, can be found here.

    Please note: commuter students are not permitted to enter any residence halls on campus. Breakfast / dinner are not provided for these students.


    Commuter program fees include lunch each day of the program. All meals on the Medford/Somerville campus will be at Dewick-MacPhie Dining Center, conveniently located a few minutes from student housing. Dewick-MacPhie provides a wide variety of menu choices, including vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and an organic salad bar. All meals on the Boston Fine Arts (SMFA), Boston Health Sciences, or Grafton campuses will be provided through boxed lunches or by Tufts staff. Tufts staff will also provide meals for program related activities taking place off-campus. Tufts dining is able to accommodate most dietary restrictions and preferences. Please advise us of dietary needs during the application process.