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Summer Internship Program (SIP)

About SIP 

The National Cancer Institute offers a summer research internship for students interested in exploring careers in all areas of cancer research, including basic, clinical, and translational research, epidemiology, biostatistics, genetics/genomics, and behavioral research. The program is open to high school, college, postbaccalaureate masters-level students, and graduate students, including medical and dental students. Successful applicants join the NCI for at least eight weeks between May and September and work under the supervision of an NCI researcher. This program is part of the NIH Summer Internship Program (SIP) in Biomedical Research

The 2024 NIH Summer Internship Program will be IN-PERSON (i.e., on-campus). If you are a college student and interested in completing a virtual internship, you must apply to the Virtual Summer Opportunities to Advance Research (V-SOAR) program. No other virtual internships will be considered

Internship Benefits

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Summer internships at the NCI and NIH are paid internships; summer interns are paid based on their academic level.

Interns are encouraged to attend lectures offered under the NIH Summer Seminar Series, participate in group meetings and seminars, attend formal NIH lectures and symposia, and participate in the NIH Summer Research Program Poster Day. 

NCI also offers a curriculum available for all summer interns that represents the diverse research areas within the Institute.

How to Apply


To apply to the NIH Summer Internship, you must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and at least 17 years of age by the start of the summer.  Students with disabilities; students from racial and ethnic groups that have been shown by the NSF to be underrepresented in health-related sciences on a national basis (Blacks or African Americans, Hispanics or Latinos, American Indians or Native Americans, and Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders); students who identify as LGBTQ; students who are Pell-grant eligible; and others disadvantaged by circumstances that have negatively impacted their educational opportunities, including recent natural disasters, are encouraged to apply.

Applicants with a family member working at the NCI should be aware of the strict nepotism policy which may limit your ability to work within specific research groups.

There are additional eligibility requirements that vary by program. Please be sure to check the requirements for the program you are interested in.

To learn more about the NCI SIP subprograms, please visit program websites: 

Application Procedure

HS-SIP Applicants

To be considered for a high-school summer internship, you must submit an application on the NIH OITE website and apply to either the Cancer Research Interns program or the Werner H. Kirsten Student Intern program. Placements outside of those programs will not be considered.  

Please review the eligibility and application requirements for both programs, as there are distinct differences between them.

SIP Applicants

To be considered for a summer internship, you must submit an application on the NIH OITE website. The application is available from mid-November to February 16th.  Submission includes:

  • A curriculum vitae or resume 
  • A list of coursework and grades 
  • A cover letter describing the applicant’s research interests and career goals 
  • The names and contact information for two references 

Upon submission, review the research and list of investigators for the division you are interested in working. Please contact the investigator directly to indicate interest, determine availability and potentially schedule an interview.

Find an NCI Investigator

Center for Cancer Research
Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics
Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences


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Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis and are completed by April 1st. Please note that there is no centralized selection process. Individual scientists select their own summer interns and provide their own funding. Successful candidates will be informed by their PI and on-boarding paperwork will be done by the individual research group. Additional paperwork for selected interns includes:

  • Official high-school, college, or graduate/professional school transcripts 
  • Proof of U.S. citizenship or permanent resident status 
  • Proof of health insurance
  • Proof of COVID-19 vaccination

Note: There will be a lot of paperwork, so please be sure to check your email regularly.

All research training offers are contingent on your ability to successfully pass a federal background check. You must pass to be granted access to NIH facilities and systems.

NCI SIP Coordinators

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If you have any questions during the application process or throughout your internship, please contact your summer coordinator.

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