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Undergraduate Scholars Program Applications

The Janelia Undergraduate Scholars Program competition is now closed and will reopen Fall 2021.

Applicant Eligibility

  • Eligible applicants have at least one independent research experience that is not part of a course.
  • Actively enrolled undergraduate students or masters students who have not yet committed to a PhD program are eligible to apply.
  • Students should have programming experience in at least one of the following languages: Python, MATLAB, and/or C++. Other languages may also be suitable. 

Application Materials

All applicants submit the following materials:

  • statement of rationale for applying to the Janelia Undergraduate Scholars program
  • statement of career goals
  • description of prior independent research (not research as part of a course or a lab)
  • identification of Janelia scientists with whom you would like to work and why
  • list of completed science and math courses or an unofficial college transcript
  • the names of two references who will submit a letter of recommendation. The strongest letters come from research supervisors who can speak to your ability to conduct independent research, not course instructors. Both letters of reference must be received before the full application can be submitted. Start your application and contact your references well in advance of the deadline. Do not wait until the last minute.

Evaluation and Selection Process

The most competitive students are those who have had significant independent research experience and have contributed intellectually to their research projects. Applicants are evaluated on the basis of their recommendation letters and descriptions of previous research, as well as their statement of how they will contribute to a Janelia lab. The top 10 percent of applicants are invited to interview by video. During that interview, students will present their previous research and discuss which labs at Janelia are of interest and why. Interviews are conducted in late February.


If you have any questions about the program, the application or the application process, please email Erik Snapp at 

Please note that Janelia may cancel the 2021 summer Janelia Undergraduate Scholars program if, in Janelia’s sole discretion, the state of the COVID-19 pandemic has not improved sufficiently for Janelia to safely and efficiently hold the program.