The University of Colorado Boulder offers 10-week summer research internships for rising juniors and seniors through the Summer Multicultural Access to Research Training (SMART) program. For 2024, SMART begins Monday, June 3rd and ends Friday, August 9th. The program aims to improve access to STEM research for students from groups that are underrepresented in science, math and engineering, including racial/ethnic minorities, first-generation college students, Pell grant recipients, individuals with disabilities, and students who have overcome significant challenges in pursuit of higher education. 

Interns may conduct research in 18 academic areas. These areas include:

You may use the links to learn more about the departments, faculty, and research areas.

*Students with an interest in the neuroscience program at CU Boulder are advised to choose "Life Sciences" as their primary research field when submitting an application through the Leadership Alliance SR-EIP website. CU Boulder is not an option when applying to any of the psychology disciplines on the SR-EIP website. We do read applications carefully, however, and we will be sure to match yours specifically to your desired field when it is under review.

Applicants must apply through the Leadership Alliance Summer Research Early Identification Program (SR-EIP).  SMART students will be selected by CU faculty from the pool of accepted applicants to the Leadership Alliance SR-EIP. The application deadline is usually February 1.

For more information, please contact the SMART office at the University of Colorado Boulder:

303-735-2944 (fax)

The SMART program focuses on the development of research skills and the faculty mentor/student relationship. During the first week, interns write a research project proposal. In the next eight weeks they carry out the proposed project. In the final week they present their research results in oral and written form. Depending on the academic area, the conduct of research may include laboratory experimentation, outdoor field work and data analysis. Students work either as part of a research team or independently.

Other activities in the SMART program prepare SMART interns for graduate studies. These include:

  • Workshops devoted to technical writing and oral presentation skills
  • Workshops on selecting graduate programs and the application process for graduate school

Program Calendar

Week 1

  • Program orientation
  • Introduction to faculty mentors and research environment
  • Beginning of research project

Weeks 2 to 8

  • Continuing work on research projects with faculty mentors
  • Workshops on technical writing, oral presentation skills, and the selection/application process for graduate school
  • Cultural and outdoor activities

Weeks 9 and 10

  • Final preparation for oral and written presentations of projects
  • SMART Research Symposium
  • SMART Poster Session

The CU Boulder faculty members serve as mentors for the SMART interns' research projects. Mentors, who volunteer their time, are chosen for their excellence in research and scholarly work and their commitment to undergraduate research. The mentors themselves review applications and select SMART interns.

Most interns take part in the ongoing research programs of their mentors. SMART students receive information about their mentor and his or her research when they are accepted into the program.

Applicants must:

  • Be current undergraduate students with a GPA of 3.0 or higher.
  • Have completed at least two semesters and have at least one semester remaining of their undergraduate education by the start of the summer program.
  • Demonstrate interest and potential to pursue graduate study toward a PhD or MD-PhD.

(Note: The SR-EIP is not designed for students pursuing professional training for careers in clinical medicine, clinical psychology or the allied health professions.)

  • Be at least 18 years old by the start date of the program.
  • Be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.

SMART program staff and faculty mentors review applications and make final selection. Selection criteria include:

Academic qualifications of the applicant:

  • Evidence of academic ability/improvement at undergraduate institution
  • Evidence of sufficient courses in the involved subject areas
  • Indication of ability to succeed in a graduate school prep program

Statement of interest:

  • Level of interest indicated in statement. Students should submit a statement describing the area in which they are interested in conducting research. Faculty from several disciplines may review the applications for consideration. The proposal may be as broad or as specific as the applicant wishes.
  • Written communication skills

Letters of reference:

  • Applicant's ability to succeed in the program, academically and socially
  • Applicant's potential for graduate level studies and research
  • Applicant's maturity, motivation and ability to work independently

The SMART Program pays program costs. Interns receive:

  • Tuition for upper-division undergraduate credit in independent study at the University of Colorado at Boulder
  • Room and board for the 10-week program
  • Transportation to and from Boulder, Colorado
  • A stipend of $5,500 to be paid in 3 monthly increments of $1,833.33

Living arrangements: Interns live together in University of Colorado housing arranged by program staff. Meals are provided each day.