Program Description

The summer program at the NIAMS is a stimulating and rewarding experience that provides an opportunity for you to work side-by-side with some of the leading scientists in the world, in an environment devoted exclusively to biomedical research. Intramural investigators pursue diverse biomedical research projects that include fundamental analyses of protein structure and function, cell biology, signal transduction, gene regulation, tissue development and differentiation, and genetics and immunology. They also conduct research on the genetics, etiology, pathogenesis and treatment of a variety of rheumatic, autoimmune, inflammatory, joint, skin, and muscle diseases.

Outstanding opportunities exist for high school, undergraduate, graduate and medical students contemplating a career in biomedical research or academic medicine. Some key features of the program are:

  • Train in conduct cutting-edge basic and clinical research.
  • Receive career mentoring from leading investigators.
  • Learn new technologies, scientific investigative skills, research ethics, and the use of information technologies.
  • Attend formal lectures and symposia dealing with the latest advances in health research.
  • Network and exchange information with peers and other members of the NIH scientific community.
  • Gain experience presenting scientific results at journal clubs, lab seminars, and the Annual NIH Summer Research Poster Day.


The Summer Internship Program in Biomedical Research is for students 17 years of age or older who meet the following requirements:

  • U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
  • A student or prospective student:
    • Enrolled at least half-time in high school or an accredited U.S. college/university/medical school/dental school. OR
    • Accepted for fall admission to an accredited U.S. college/university/medical school/dental school.
  • Able to arrive at the NIH in May or June and commit a minimum of eight weeks to the program. Students enrolled in the program are expected to work full time in the lab for eight weeks. Vacation time is not permitted due to the short duration for the program

Training Period

Summer internships begin in May or June, depending on your schedule and that of the lab you will be working with. You must commit to a minimum of eight weeks for the internship.

Financial Support

Stipend amounts for the different training fellowships are listed in separate tables. For the NIAMS Summer Program, see Appendix 5, “Student IRTA Stipend Levels.”

How to Apply

You can apply online. Applications are accepted from November 15 to March 1. The electronic application requires:

  • Curriculum vitae or resume.
  • List of your publications.
  • Cover letter describing your research interests, career goals, and the scientific methodologies or disease/organ systems that interest you.
  • Names and contact information for two references.

Tips on Applying for a Summer Internship

  • Visit the websites of the NIAMS Intramural Labs and Branches to identify a laboratory or research area that interests you. Contact the Career Development and Outreach Branch to notify the Lab or Branch of your interest.
  • Inquire early about application deadlines, and be sure to Apply Early for Ample Consideration. The summer student application deadline is March 1.
  • Apply online at
  • When applying on-line, be sure to select NIAMS-The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases in the application.
  • Be sure to proofread your application.
  • Include information on past research experience, science awards, honors, student programs and participation in scientific meetings, if applicable.
  • Include any abstracts and scientific papers, if available.
  • Graduating seniors, include information that you have been accepted to an academic institution at the next educational level, e.g., acceptance letter to college, professional school, etc.
  • Request recommendation letters from science faculty, preceptors, etc., that have direct knowledge of your scientific interests and abilities.

Tips on Completing Your Application

  • Write a good cover letter describing your interest in health-related research, future academic plans and reasons for seeking an internship at the NIH.
  • Your application should be complete including all pertinent information.
  • Be sure to check the NIAMS Intramural Research Program website for labs and branches that fit best with your experience, research interests and educational goals.
  • Contact the Intramural Career Development Office or the laboratory or branch directly to indicate your interest.
  • When making contact with NIAMS personnel, be brief and be sure to indicate that your application information is online.
  • Also visit the web sites of other NIH Institutes and Centers that may be of interest to you.

Applicant Selection

Summer interns are selected by the NIAMS Career Development and Outreach Branch (CDOB) on a rolling basis through May. Selections are made based on the information supplied on the candidate’s application. Candidates interested in working in specific laboratories or research areas within NIAMS should indicate their preferences on the application or through follow-up contact (email preferred) with the CDOB office.

The CDOB office will inform candidates of their selection. Successful candidates will be required to submit the following documentation prior to beginning their training:

  • Official high school, college, or graduate school transcripts.
  • Proof of U.S. citizenship or permanent resident status. U.S. citizens may submit a copy of their birth certificate or passport. Permanent residents will need to provide a copy of their alien registration card.

More Information

Contact Us

Robert Walker, Ph.D.

9000 Rockville Pike
Bldg. 10, Room 10D43B
Bethesda MD 20892

Learn More

Learn more about the NIH Summer Internship Program and get answers to FAQs.

Last Updated: December 2020