Research in the Biological Sciences

high school students working in the lab in the Research in Biological Sciences program

Immerse Yourself in Biological Research

Furthering the diagnosis and treatment of cancer, discovering how to preserve blood, laying the mathematical foundations for the theory of genetic evolution—the University of Chicago Biological Sciences Division is a leader in these and many other areas of research. This summer, learn the techniques used in leading-edge biological research in lab facilities at a premier research university.

“It’s a rare opportunity for high school students to be able to choose the topic they want to research and design the experiment as well.”

Jahyung L.
Mercersburg Academy
Mercersburg, Pennsylvania

“I liked being able to apply knowledge -- just the act of doing lab work and carrying out experiments based on things we just learned made everything make much more sense, and vice versa, when we carried out experiments and then learned how it worked and what its purpose was. That was cool.”

Jennifer W.
University of Chicago Laboratory Schools
Chicago, IL

This four-week intensive summer research program for high school students is designed to expose students to a broad range of molecular, microbiological, and cellular biological techniques currently used in research laboratories. Within the session, students will be immersed in the research experience, giving them a taste of life at the bench. Using a project-based approach, the course progresses from a survey of basic lab techniques to the application of current molecular techniques in developmental biology and microbiology. Most of a typical RIBS day is spent in lab. Lectures will provide background and introduce new concepts. Since communication skills are important in science, students will keep lab notebooks and they will make several group presentations. The course ends with a research forum in which the students present the results of their projects.

Successful completion of the course gives participants the experience and confidence to work in a research laboratory. On a space-available basis, students who excel in the program are invited back the following year to work in the lab of a University of Chicago research scientist.

Our RIBS program provides unique research opportunities for high school students. Interested in learning more? Our application deadline for summer 2016 has passed, but it’s never too early to start planning for summer 2017.


Course Details

Course Code: BIOS 10000 and 10001
Session: I
Dates: Orientation June 17-18; classes meet June 19 to July 14, 2017; MTWRF daily schedule varies
Instructor: Rosemary Zaragoza and Christopher Schonbaum
Prerequisite: Students must have successfully completed one year of high school biology by the beginning of the program.

View Sample Daily Schedule

View Sample Syllabus

Tuition & Fees

$7,940 (2 course program)

Student Life Fee

Housing & Dining (required)

Optional: Student Health Insurance **
$272 for this 4-week program

* Estimate; final cost for 2017 to be determined.
** Students who cannot prove that they have adequate health care coverage in the U.S. must enroll in the University Student Health Insurance plan (USHIP), and will be billed accordingly.

Scholarships are available for this program; see the Tuition, Scholarship, & Billing page for details.


  • This program is open to high school students, 14 and older, who (1) will be juniors or seniors in the 2017-2018 academic year, and (2) have excelled in a high school biology course. Students currently enrolled in biology are welcome to apply. Exceptions will not be considered.
  • Students must live on campus for this program.
  • Applications accepted online beginning mid-November.
  • Final deadline for applications is March 1, 2017 at 5:00 PM CST. Online application and all supplementary materials must be in our possession.  Late applications completed after this will not be considered.
  • All admissions decisions will be made by April 1, 2017.
  • Your recommendations should be solicited from teachers who are in a position to evaluate the academic work you have undertaken in biology and other sciences and should indicate your readiness to undertake college-level work.
  • Review Application Overview pages for detailed information.

Meet an Alumni

  • Program: RIBS
  • Area of Study: Biology Major
  • Home Town: Cupertino, California

You can also review the Apply and FAQ pages for detailed information.

Contact Us


1427 E 60th Street
Second Floor
Chicago, IL


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