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Neuroscience Research Academy

July 1 - July 23, 2021

Applications for 2021 programs are now closed. Applications for 2022 summer programs open on December 1, 2021.

Courses offered online

Courses offered online

Non-credit program

Non-credit program


Eligibility: Current 9th-11th grade students

International students

International students welcome

Financial Aid

Financial aid for select Philadelphia students

The Neuroscience Research Academy explores the biological foundations of the brain, progressing from the cellular foundations of the neuron to an understanding of the sensory systems, and culminating with higher-order cognitive functions such as memory, emotion, and morality. Taught by members of Penn’s Biological Basis of Behavior program, the Neuroscience Academy introduces students to this cutting-edge field in both research and medicine, which has provided important insights into understanding the mind in both health and disease.

To keep our students safe as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, Penn Arts and Sciences staff is dedicated to making our high-quality programs available this summer—completely online.

If you attend a School District of Philadelphia public or charter high school, you may be eligible to attend a Penn Summer Academy free of charge with a Penn Summer Scholarship.

Get application information »


Lectures and discussions: Attend classes and conversations with Penn’s distinguished neuroscience faculty and participate in a journal club to discuss and develop presentations on peer-reviewed neuroscience literature. 

Lab activities: Participate in hands-on laboratory activities to gain an introduction to experimental techniques.

Applications outside the classroom: Further your understanding of the brain in a fun and educational setting with related films, discussion, and readings. Past trips have included visits to the Mütter Museum and the Franklin Institute. 

Online program schedule: Students can expect approximately eight hours of work per weekday for the program. This work would be divided between:

  • Whole program synchronous meetings (3 hours/day)
  • Small group synchronous meetings (2 hours/day)
  • Asynchronous labs and activities (2 hours/day)
  • Asynchronous homework readings (1 hour/day)

Whole program synchronous meetings would take place from 11 a.m. – 12 p.m. EST and 3 – 5 p.m. EST, for a total of three hours of required attendance.

There would be two hours total of required daily attendance for small group synchronous meetings, consisting of one hour of journal club and one hour of neuroethics discussion club. Students would select the timing of their small group synchronous meetings from a list of available options, with some options being run in the morning (before 11 a.m.) and some in the evening (after 5 p.m.) to accommodate various time zones.

For remote lab activities, there may be a small list of household items to purchase to complete the labs (ex. cotton balls, fruit). Additionally, there may be some lab supplies mailed to you by the program.

See this program's 2021 syllabus.

Prerequisites: One year of high school biology and one year of high school chemistry are required for application.


Program Director: Kristen Hipolit, PhD

Program Director: Kristen Hipolit, PhD
Dr. Hipolit is an Advanced Lecturer in the Critical Writing Program at the University of Pennsylvania, where she teaches freshmen writing seminars that are focused on neuroscience topics. For several years, she was also an instructor for Penn’s post-baccalaureate pre-health program, where she taught introduction to biology and cell biology and biochemistry courses. Dr. Hipolit received her PhD in Neuroscience from the University of Pennsylvania and has been teaching at Penn since 2012.