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Summer Undergraduate Internship Program (SUIP)

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The SUIP program is closed for 2014. Program dates are generally the first week of each June through the end of the second week of August.  Each intern receives a competitive stipend, on-campus housing, and transportation costs for one round trip to the University of Pennsylvania.


About the Program

The SUIP provides an intense research experience to students interested in graduate study in the biomedical and biological sciences.  The program has been in existence since 1993.  Approximately 30 college students from across the US participate each year; most are rising juniors and seniors, but occasionally we admit a rising sophomore.  Interns complete ten weeks of full-time laboratory research, attend state-of-the-art research seminars, receive career counseling from program faculty and administrators, and attend The Leadership Alliance National Symposium. The program seeks to encourage and prepare talented students to pursue careers in scholarly research.

Laboratory Research

Based on the application, each intern is matched to an appropriate faculty advisor who is a member of the Biomedical Graduate Studies faculty at the University of Pennsylvania. The intern participates in the ongoing research of the investigator's laboratory or performs a specific, supervised research project related to the goals of the laboratory.  Areas of research include:

Final Research Presentations

At the conclusion of the program, interns present a summary of their research. Past topics have included:

Supplemental Activities

Each week, interns attend research seminars presented by various members of the Biomedical Graduate Studies faculty. These seminars provide interns with an opportunity to discover the breadth of research being conducted in biomedical sciences at the University of Pennsylvania. Interns are encouraged to ask questions and participate in group discussions.

Throughout the summer, interns undergo training in laboratory safety, the responsible conduct of research, and how to give research presentations.  They also meet with the directors of the BGS PhD program and the MD-PhD program to learn about PhD and MD-PhD admissions.  Interns have several opportunities to meet with current PhD students and summer interns from other programs at Penn, and the program features a variety of social activities; past activities have included Phillies games, concerts, plays, and trips to the shore.  A highpoint of the summer is the Leadership Alliance National Symposium, where interns not only present their summer research (as described above), but also attend workshops and career fairs, network with interns and administrators from programs across the country, and enjoy fun social events.

Dates and Funding

The program is ten weeks and begins the first week of June. Interns must attend for the full duration of the program. Each intern receives a competitive stipend, which is paid in installments at the end of each month. On-campus housing in the dormitories is provided at no cost to the intern. The program will pay reasonable round-trip transportation costs for travel to and from the University of Pennsylvania. Daily commuting expenses cannot be reimbursed.

An internship is not a typical summer job; interns work long hours and the salary is just enough to cover the cost of living. However the intellectual challenges and rewards of the research experience are substantial.

Past Participants     

The Summer Undergraduate Internship Program has hosted students from various institutions throughout the United States, including:

  • Amherst College
  • Bennett College
  • Brown University
  • Bryn Mawr College
  • Bucknell University
  • Cornell University
  • Delaware State University
  • Dillard University
  • Emory University
  • Evangel University
  • Haverford College
  • Howard University
  • Hunter College
  • LaSalle University
  • Louisiana State University
  • M.I.T.
  • Morehouse University
  • Morgan State University
  • Napa Valley College
  • New York University
  • North Carolina State University
  • Oregon State University
  • Princeton University
  • Rutgers University
  • San Diego State University
  • Saint Louis University
  • South Carolina State University
  • Tulane University
  • University of Maryland
  • University of Miami
  • University of Puerto Rico
  • University of Texas at Austin
  • Ursinus College
  • Vassar College
  • Xavier University of Louisiana


The SUIP receives financial support from a variety of organizations, including the National Institutes of Health, The Leadership Alliance, and Genentech Foundation, as well as Biomedical Graduate Studies of the University of Pennsylvania.


Applicants may apply directly to BGS online application.

Alternatively, eligible applicants are strongly encouraged to apply via The Leadership Alliance application.  Applications and supporting documents are due by February 1.

The following items are required:

Personal statement:  In 1-2 pages, describe your academic interests and career goals.  If you have had any research experiences, please describe them.  State your specific scientific interests and any particular research areas or techniques you’d like to explore.  Please upload your statement with your application.

Transcript:  Please arrange for an official copy of your undergraduate transcript, including your fall semester grades, to be sent to this address:  SUIP Coordinator, Biomedical Graduate Studies, 160 BRB II/III, 421 Curie Blvd., University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6064.

Letters of Recommendation:  Two letters of recommendation are required.  Try to obtain letters from academic faculty who know you personally and can comment on your academic abilities and your aptitude for research.


We encourage applications from students of all backgrounds, particularly those from underrepresented minority groups or disadvantaged backgrounds; with disabilities; or who attend small colleges.

Currently, SUIP only accepts applications from U.S. citizens and permanent residents. We regret that we are unable to accept applications from international students at this time. In addition, graduating seniors are not eligible to participate, and preference is given to applicants who will have completed their sophomore or junior year. 


What are the program dates?
SUIP starts the first Monday of June, and continues for 10 weeks.  Due to the short length of the program and other administrative issues, we can not tailor program dates to fit individual needs of the interns. Orientation will be the morning of the first Monday of June, and all interns must attend.

What is the program stipend? How often do I get paid?
The stipend is $4800.00 for 10 weeks. Interns will be paid 3 times, the last Friday of June, the last workday of July and the last workday of August (check will be mailed). Please note that the program does not offer an option for direct deposit, but checks may be cashed at a local bank.

When is the application due?
Applications are due February 1.  Supporting materials will be accepted after the deadline, but any application that is incomplete after February 15 may not be considered for admission.

How can I check the status of my application?
In order to check the status of your application, please send a request to: .

Will my application be reviewed if it is not complete?
No, all applications must be complete in order to enter the review process.

When will I be notified of my status?
SUIP will not start making its first notifications until the last week in February.

Must I include my Fall transcript?
Yes, a complete transcript, including Fall grades, is required.

What should I include in my personal statement? What are the page limits?
Your personal statement should describe your current research interests, as well as previous research experiences. The statement should also include your projected career goals and what has influenced you decision to pursue them. Finally, you should include some background info about yourself. There is not a minimum page requirement, but 1-2 pages are sufficient.

How are mentors/labs assigned if I am accepted?
Once an intern has accepted an offer to participate in SUIP, the application is reviewed by faculty members to determine which applicants are potential “fits” for their labs. The SUIP administrators then try to best match these selections with the interns’ stated research interests. Once a match is made, the intern and mentor are notified so that they may begin discussing a project and transition into the lab

Where will interns be housed? Are meals covered by the program?
Interns are housed in secure on-campus high-rise apartments similar to these:

Each intern will have his/her own bedroom, with a shared kitchen and bathroom. Interns are expected to cover their food expenses with their stipend. A grocery store can be found within a short walk of the apartment, and there are many reasonably-priced restaurants and “food trucks” nearby.

Does the SUIP program cover travel to and from the program?
SUIP does cover travel. Flight reservations will be made via our travel agent, at no cost to the intern. Only interns who live outside a 150 mile radius of Philadelphia will be eligible to fly. Interns who live within 150 miles of campus must submit a reimbursement for travel, and cannot be compensated until the program has concluded. (Please note that MARC students may have a different set of requirements and should speak with their program director).

May international students participate in SUIP?
Unfortunately, international students are not eligible for the SUIP. All participants must be United States Citizens or Permanent Residents. (Please note that there is a special internship being conducted at Penn for students from Argentina, and the program has asked to use the SUIP online application system. Applications from the Argentinean students will be forwarded to the appropriate reviewers. SUIP is not aware of any additional summer programs for international students).

May I enroll in classes at Penn while participation in SUIP?
No, the SUIP is considered a full-time program.  Students are expected to work full-time in the laboratory, except to attend SUIP-specific events.  Consequently, interns may not take classes.

May interns use the Penn Gyms?
Interns may sign up to use the Penn recreational facilities at their own expense.  The cost for summer members is approximately $100.

What if I have other questions?
Please send an email to

Other Summer Undergraduate Internship Programs at Penn