If you are an advanced high school student in grades 10-11, this highly selective and intensive summer research program may be for you. SSTP offers you rare access to opportunities that help realize your academic and professional goals. You will conduct research under the mentorship of world-class faculty from a research-intensive university. Participate in classes and events that will stretch you as a researcher and scholar. Explore your interests, enhance your academic skills, and make meaningful friendships with intellectual peers.

About the Program

Preview of SSTP timeline

We also recommend viewing our full timeline and daily schedule for SSTP.

Application Timeline:

  • December 15, 2023 (5:00 pm CST): Applications open
  • February 16, 2024 (11:59 pm CST): Application deadline
  • April 3, 2024 (5:00 pm CST): Students receive notification of acceptance status

Program Dates: June 19 - July 26, 2024

Accepted students commit to full participation for the duration of the program.

Preview of SSTP expectations

To make the most informed decision about participating in SSTP, we want students to not only understand what they should expect of the program, but also what we expect from students who participate in the program. We recommend reading the full expectations for SSTP to help decide if it will be a good fit for you.

How to Apply

Application Process

All application materials must be submitted online. You can see a walkthrough of the application on Instagram, or follow the steps below:

  1. Enter your demographic information.
  2. Pay non-refundable application fee of $95.
  3. Provide e-mail addresses for two adults, not related to you, who are willing to complete an online letter of reference prior to the application deadline. One reference is an academic reference (e.g., teacher) and one is a character reference (e.g., teacher, mentor, group leader).
  4. Respond to essay 1: Briefly describe each of your research areas of interest. This is used to help determine which faculty mentors will be sent your application materials. If you have particular interests, technical skills, or experience with a research method this is the appropriate place to highlight those talents. (750 words max)
  5. Respond to essay 2: Why are you applying to the Secondary Student Training Program? Describe your career aspirations and explain what you hope to gain from the SSTP experience. (750 words max)
  6. Upload your transcript/scores.
  7. If you are an international student, upload proof of English proficiency. Please note that residency in certain countries fulfills this requirement. More details are available on the University of Iowa's Admissions website.

All applications materials, including returned recommendations from references, are due at the application deadline.

Please note the following: You may only attend SSTP once. Due to the large number of SSTP applicants, questions about your application may not be answered immediately. We answer all calls and emails in the order we receive them. We process inquiries as quickly as possible but recommend completing your SSTP application in advance of the deadline to avoid encountering issues at the last minute that may impact the timely completion of your application. Inquiries submitted 1–2 days prior to the SSTP application deadline may not receive a response until after the deadline has passed.


Faculty and staff from the University of Iowa will evaluate completed applications based on the following criteria, ranked in priority order:

  1. Quality and content of essays and transcripts
  2. Letters of recommendation
  3. Alignment of your research interests with a participating faculty mentor's research

Research Areas

Students will complete a project with their research group, ultimately creating and presenting a poster at the conclusion of the program. Research areas for 2024 include:

  • Anatomy & Cell Biology
  • Biology
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Chemistry
  • Civil & Environmental Engineering
  • Epidemiology
  • Geographical & Sustainability Sciences
  • Health & Human Physiology 
  • Industrial & Systems Engineering 
  • Internal Medicine
  • Neurology
  • Neuroscience & Pharmacology
  • Orthopedics & Rehabilitation
  • Pathology
  • Pediatrics 
  • Pharmacy
  • Psychiatry 
  • Psychological & Brain Sciences
  • Psychological & Quantitative Foundations
  • Religious Studies

Ready to Apply?

Applications are now closed.

After You're Accepted

Cost, Financial Aid & Scholarships

The program fee is $7,500. This covers your room, board, materials, admission to all regularly scheduled activities, and three semester hours of undergraduate credit from the University of Iowa. The program fee does not include transportation to and from the University of Iowa or incidental expenses, such as souvenirs and snacks. You and your family are responsible for these expenses.

Payment Deadlines

You must meet these payment deadlines to participate in SSTP.

  • February: Nonrefundable application fee of $95
  • April: Nonrefundable deposit of 25% of program fees
  • June: Remaining fees

Financial Aid

Once you are accepted into the program, you may apply for financial aid. Financial aid may cover up to 95% of the cost of the program. Awards will be applied directly to your program fees.

International students are not eligible for financial aid.


We have a variety of merit and need-based scholarships available. Many are open to any student accepted into the program. We also have funds generously donated by the Perry Family of New York, specifically to allow students from New York to attend SSTP. 

Daily Schedule

You will be working with your research group 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Central time, Monday through Friday with required evening activities. The course seminar will be on Wednesday nights 6 p.m. – 7 p.m. Additionally, students will have planned weekend activities. SSTP students will be supervised by the program staff for all activities.


You will be supervised at all regularly scheduled events and activities. Supervision at the residence halls will be provided by a Belin-Blank Program Coordinator and a residence hall staff specially selected and trained to work with and supervise students. There is approximately one resident advisor for every ten students. You are expected to live within the policies of the residence halls, the university, and the program.

Living on Campus

You will be housed in a residence hall located near the Blank Honors Center on the University of Iowa campus. Most program activities will take place within brief walking distance of the residence hall. Male and female students will be assigned to separate floors and all students will share a room with at least one other student.

In addition to academic programming, you will be able to participate in a variety of scheduled recreational activities selected by the staff. You will also have access to the University of Iowa libraries, computer facilities, and study areas.

Family Visits

We ask that your family inform staff of their plans so that arrangements can be made to facilitate any family visits. Because the program is dedicated to the development of a cohesive community, you may not have non-family visitors during the program.

Check-in / Check-out

Check-in for the program will be held 1 p.m.–3 p.m. on the first day of the program if you are from the United States, and the day before the program officially begins if you live outside of the United States. The check-in process will begin at the residence hall front desk. If you are unable to check in during these times, please contact the Belin-Blank Center.

Check-out for the program will be held after the closing session on the last day of the program.

Cancellation Policy

Application fees and down-payments are non-refundable. Remaining program fees are refundable. 

If you must cancel, email summer@belinblank.org as soon as possible to decline your acceptance so a student on the waiting list may attend. Cancellations after June 1st may not be refunded. 

International Students

While most of the information on the SSTP website is the same for everyone, there are some differences. The following applies to you if you do not live in the United States, and do not have United States citizenship.

  • You will be required to obtain a student visa to participate in the program. The Belin-Blank Center provide additional necessary information regarding visa procedures if accepted into the program.
  • You will arrive one day earlier and depart on the last day of the program.
  • The Belin-Blank Center will provide transportation to campus and back to the airport when you fly into the Eastern Iowa Airport (CID). This is the only airport to which we provide service.
  • The Belin-Blank Center purchases health insurance to cover you while you are at SSTP.

Contact Us