Summer Research Opportunities Database
You could spend six to 10 weeks during your summer doing research with world-class faculty at leading institutions, while earning between $2,000 and $5,000 or more. Many colleges and universities, medical schools, federal agencies and corporations offer hundreds of paid summer research opportunities for students in all fields of study.
Besides learning new skills and concepts you will have an opportunity to apply previous knowledge learned in your classes and labs to a real research project. In addition, you get great exposure to the current technology, trends and literature in the scientific community, not to mention meeting researchers and learning the issues in your field of study. You will also create a network of professionals in your field including faculty who can write reference letters for your applications for graduate or professional school, graduates students and post-docs who can help you learn your way around cutting-edge technology and fellow undergraduate students, who can become part of a network of peers who can give you support after you graduate.
Most of these programs are in the sciences. However, many institutions also offer summer research projects in disciplines such as humanities, business and social sciences. Many of the summer research projects are designed to attract students from groups considered under-represented in their relevant disciplines and are designed to help the institutions increase diversity in their programs. There are also some programs for pre-meds students, but most are for students interested in research graduate programs.
Generally most research projects require an application with a statement of purpose (a description of your development as a scholar in your field thus far and why summer research would help your professional development), a resume and letters of recommendation. Deadlines vary but they generally start in January and continue through the spring. The most competitive programs tend to be earlier.
The search engine below is an excellent source of information about available summer research opportunities and where to apply. The database has information about summer programs that can be searched by various criteria. It is better to start with a broad search and narrow from there. Information has been updated for programs for whom new information is available, but some of these programs may have ended, have new deadlines, etc, so students should check on the program websites or with the contact people to insure that the program is continuing. This list is not exhaustive, so check multiple websites. You can also Google "undergraduate summer research" and refine it by school or by discipline.
Go for it!