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NEI Summer Intern Program

The NEI Summer Intern Program is part of the NIH Summer Internship Program (SIP), which gives high school, college, graduate, and professional school (medical, optometry, veterinary) students a chance to spend the summer working with some of the world’s leading scientists in an environment devoted to biomedical research.

About summer internships at NEI

Summer interns participate in cutting-edge research projects that investigate new ways to prevent, treat, or even reverse vision loss — including topics such as:

  • Age-related macular degeneration and other eye diseases
  • Ophthalmic genetics
  • Retinal cell biology
  • Visual neurobiology
  • Immunology of the eye

Summer interns have the chance to go to seminars and workshops hosted by NEI and the NIH Office of Intramural Training and Education (OITE). Interns may also present at the NIH Summer Intern Poster Day on August 2024 with their mentor’s permission.

NEI summer internships take place in Maryland and last anywhere from 8 to 12 weeks.

To apply

College, graduate, and professional school students

The application opens mid-November 15, 2023

If you have questions or want to learn more about labs that would be a good fit with your interests, contact Dr. Cesar Perez-Gonzalez at

Principal investigators (also known as the section heads or chiefs) select interns who are in college, graduate, medical, optometry, or other professional school to work in their labs. Learn more about labs at NEI.


High school students

The application opens mid-November 15, 2023

The NEI Office of the Scientific Director selects high school students for summer internships. Please don’t contact principal investigators about your application. All requests are subject to approval by the Summer Intern Program Coordinator.

Frequently asked questions

Learn more about internships for high school, college, graduate, and professional students by exploring the questions and answers below.

Who should apply?

To be eligible for the NEI Summer Intern Program, you must:

  • Be at least age 17 by June 15, 2024 (Note: you can’t start in the lab until you’re age 17 or older)
  • Be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
  • Be enrolled at least half-time in high school, or be accepted or enrolled in an accredited U.S. college, university, or professional school (like medical, optometry, or veterinary school)

If you’re in high school and you’ll be age 17 on June 15, 2023, you must live within approximately 40 miles of the NIH Bethesda campus at the time of your application.

Students with relatives who work at NEI aren’t eligible for an internship at NEI, but we encourage you to pursue internships at another NIH institute.

Are the internships paid?

Yes. We offer students a monthly stipend based on their most-recently completed education level. However, if you are participating in our summer program to obtain school credit and your school forbids you from being paid, please contact the summer coordinator for accommodation.

When are the internships?

Internships typically start between mid-May and the end of June, and end in early to mid-August. All internships must start by July 1st and end prior to September 30th

How long are the internships?

Internships should be at least 8 weeks long and most last 8 to 12 weeks. Internships less than 8 weeks or greater than 12 must be approved by the summer coordinator. No internship will be approved for 4 weeks.

Where are the internships?

Interns typically work in 1 of these locations:

  • The NIH campus in Bethesda, Maryland
  • The Twinbrook facility at Fishers Lane in Rockville, Maryland

Does NIH provide housing for interns?

NIH is unable to provide housing for summer interns. Get tips on finding housing from the NIH OITE.

Where can I get more information?

Learn more about summer internships from the NIH OITE.

Watch this video to learn more about what it’s like to be a summer intern at NEI.


Dr. Cesar Perez-Gonzalez
Summer Intern Program Coordinator

Last updated: December 19, 2023