MIT Summer Research Program in Biology and Brain and Cognitive Neuroscience (MSRP Bio)

MIT Summer Research Program in Biology and Brain and Cognitive Neuroscience (MSRP Bio)

The Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences offers jointly with the Center for Brains, Minds, and Machines and the Department of Biology, a 10-week summer research-intensive training program (MSRP-Bio) in all fields of neuroscience to advanced sophomore and junior science majors from other colleges and universities. This summer internship program is funded in part by the MIT's School of Science and the National Science Foundation.

The summer program is primarily designed to encourage students from underrepresented minorities, first-generation college students, and students from economically-disadvantaged backgrounds to attend graduate school and pursue a career in basic research by providing them the opportunity to conduct supervised research in a top-notch research institution, in a supportive learning environment with plenty of interaction with graduate students and faculty. This summer program provides a unique opportunity for students who do not have access to top-notch research facilities at their own institution to conduct supervised research in state-of-the-art research facilities. Preference will be given to applicants from non-research intensive colleges and universities. 

Program eligibility

Applicants must:

  • Be full-time undergraduate students at a college or university in the U.S.
  • Be current sophomores, juniors, or non-graduating seniors who have successfully completed introductory courses in the sciences
  • Maintain a minimum 3.5 GPA in the science courses
  • Have prior research experience
  • Have demonstrated an interest in basic research and in a career in the sciences
  • Be available to begin on the first date of the program, no exceptions

International students may apply if enrolled full time in a minority-serving institution (MSI) in the United States (to check the status of your college or university, click here for a list of MSIs)

The following are not eligible for this program:

  • MIT undergraduates (if you are an MIT undergrad, see the UROP Program website)
  • Students studying abroad
  • Graduate students
  • Foreign students unless enrolled full-time at a minority-serving institution in the US. 

Students interested in disciplines that are not related to biology, neuroscience or artificial intelligence should apply to the general MIT Summer Research Program (MSRP) offered through the Office of Graduate Education. 


Applications are accepted online; tis page will be updated when applications are open.  

A complete application consists of:

  • The completed on-line application form
  • Three letters of reference from science faculty. At least one letter must be from a research mentor or lab supervisor. Please note that applicants must submit a letter of reference from their most recent research experience.
  • Most recent unofficial college transcripts which should contain spring semester course list. Official transcripts will be required once applicants are admitted into the program.
  • A one-page personal statement of interest and career goals

Program description

Note that aspects of this experience may change due to COVID-19 guidelines and precautions.

Students accepted into the program receive their 10-week training in one of over 60 research laboratories affiliated with the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences (BCS), the Center for Brains, Minds and Machines (CBMM), or the Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience graduate program (MCN). Students conduct supervised research and receive practical training in areas such as molecular and cellular neurosciences, neurodegenerative diseases, cognitive sciences, computational neuroscience, psychophysics, linguistics, artificial intelligence, and vision neuroscience. In addition, students receive training in reading and discussing primary scientific research papers, are exposed to scientific writing, practice giving oral presentations about their summer research, have many opportunities to meet with various faculty to learn about their research, and learn about various career paths.

Students accepted into the program receive:

  • Campus housing
  • A weekly stipend
  • Travel allowance to and from MIT (domestic travel only)
  • An MIT email account
  • Subsidized pass to the athletic facilities
  • Wireless internet access
  • Faculty and peer mentorship

Students are expected to work full-time in the laboratory, to participate in weekly meetings with faculty, and to attend weekly academic seminars. The weekly seminars cover such topics as applying to graduate school, giving an oral presentation, writing a research abstract, learning about various career options available to PhD graduates. These seminars are designed to help students improve their presentation skills and to be more competitive applicants. During the summer, students have several opportunities to give oral presentations on their research. At the end of the program students are required to give a poster presentation on their research, submit a 5-page research summary, and a one-page personal statement about their summer experience at MIT. In addition students are invited to participate in weekend social activities, visit a local Biotech, and visit Boston and its vicinity. Students can also participate in a guided tour of Boston and the Freedom Trail and a one-day trip to Martha's Vineyard.  All of the students in the MIT summer reserach program live together on campus in shared suites with kitchens. This housing arrangement promotes social interactions and provides a wonderful opportunity to forge long-lasting friendships with peers in the program.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can I enroll if I’m an international student attending a college or university not located in the United States?
A: No. Only international students who are enrolled in a college or university full time in the United States may apply. There are no exceptions.

Q: Should I apply if my GPA is under 3.5?
A: Your application will be less competitive, however if you have strong research experience, you should still apply.

Q: Is the 3.5 GPA requirement for all science courses or for cumulative GPA?
A: The 3.5 GPA requirement is for all your STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) courses.

Q: Do you need my transcripts for the fall semester?
A: Yes, we will need all transcripts including the ones for the current semester (they can be unofficial) before you complete your application. We’ll also need a list of classes you are enrolled in for the spring.

Q: My school is on a quarter system and classes won’t be completed until the MSRP Bio program has already started. Is there any flexibility in the start date?
A: Unfortunately due to the nature of the 10-week program, all students must be available to begin on the first day of the program.

Q: Are there any citizenship requirements?
A: The program is designed for students enrolled full-time in a university or college in the United States. If you are an international student and meet the conditions detailed in the program description (including attending a minority-serving institution) you may apply. If you are not sure if your school is a minority-serving institution, click here.

If you still have questions after carefully reading this FAQ, please email