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Summer Research Program Information for Students

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The application period for the Summer 2024 program is closed.

Our 2024 summer program dates: Monday, May 20 - Friday, August 2

About the Program

two Summer Research Program students and their mentor measure plants in the forestThe Harvard Forest Summer Research Program in Ecology is an 11-week immersive research experience connecting undergraduate students to mentors and researchers in the pursuit of scientific inquiry.

This paid internship opportunity includes a $7,700 stipend, full room and board, and travel to/from Harvard Forest.

Harvard Forest is located in the small town of Petersham, Massachusetts (1.5 hours west of Boston).

How the Program Works

Every fall, research mentors from Harvard Forest and collaborating institutions develop summer research project descriptions for students to choose from when they apply to the program.

A research project is made up of a collaborative research team with multiple students and mentors, all working together to address an overarching research question.

During the summer, our main goal is for participants to work within that larger context on their own project, building their skills and independence in the research process.

The program culminates in a symposium of student presentations (explore 2023 Symposium abstracts).

a group of 20 summer students sits at tables eating lunch

Our holistic view of the program is a 3-legged stool:

  • Research: Work collaboratively to solve environmental problems using scientific methods. A day in the woods measuring trees, or a day at the computer analyzing sensor data

  • Education: Bridge from student to scientist: build marketable skills, learn how to use and understand data. Morning workshop on R programming language, afternoon seminar by visiting researcher

  • Community: Join scientists at a world-class research hub to expand your network. Contribute to meal set-up, have dinner with a seminar speaker, attend a festival with fellow students


Applying to the Program

We encourage applications from students who are enthusiastic about participating in a collaborative, hands-on learning environment. Significant past experience in ecological research is not required, although some projects may have specific requirements (see project descriptions for listed requirements).


  • The Harvard Forest Summer Program is open to undergraduates from 2-year and 4-year colleges and universities.
  • Applicants must be U.S. Citizens or Resident Aliens. See FAQ for details.

Applications are due by February 2, 2024. Late/incomplete applications will not be accepted. NO EXCEPTIONS!


Selection process

Applications will be reviewed in February. Soon thereafter, mentors will contact top candidates for an interview.

All applicants will be notified of acceptance or rejection by mid-March.

A group of summer students and mentors works in computers at a table

Contact & Questions