harvard international relations summer program

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Harvard International Relations Summer Program

Harvard University Scholarships Opportunities 2021 |UPDATED

When the class of 2021 had the opportunity to rewrite the school’s story, they had a vision for innovation, for diversity, for technology—for the future. It became their mission to protect that story and share it with students who would be inspired to accomplish great things. They are proud of everything they have accomplished, and are excited to begin year two of the National Society of Black Engineers Gender Equity Scholarship program. If you are interested in supporting the legacy of this program or learning about how you can apply for their Scholarships in June 2022.

2021 Program Mission:

The Harvard Undergraduate Foreign Policy Initiative will be hosting for the very first time—the top international relations scholars summer program for high school students in the world. The three-day program will comprise discussions with Harvard professors, experienced policymakers, government officials, and regional experts. Students will have the opportunity to learn real-world policy writing skills, cross-cultural leadership, and how to address global challenges from all sectors of international relations. 

Why are they are doing this?

Their entire program is completely organized by a dedicated team of 15 Harvard undergraduates. Access to the world of foreign policy and international relations can be overly concentrated in elite schools like Harvard and it is their goal to democratize this access. Their team agreed and wish they had a program like this when they were in high school. Please note that getting accepted and/or participating in this program does not necessarily confer advantages in gaining admission to Harvard College or any other Harvard schools; they maintain autonomy as a separate and distinct Independent Student Organization (ISO) officially recognized by Harvard College.

harvard international relations scholars program

Seoul, Korea - Harvard Summer School

All high school students, grades 9-12 are eligible to apply. Rising high school freshmen and graduating seniors who have already been admitted to college may also apply. Due to the virtual nature of the program, there are no geography-based restrictions.

HUFPI is committed to providing a diverse, inclusive, and welcoming community for students of all backgrounds. Applicants will not be discriminated against on the basis of race, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, creed, national origin, ancestry, disability status, socio-economic status or any other demographic. Candidates with need-based financial circumstances will be considered for generous financial aid (see below). A demonstrated interest in the fields of international relations, foreign policy, and/or national security is the baseline criteria for admission to the program. 

Program Structure

Applicants will choose from among 7 regions to focus on during the three days —  Latin America and the Caribbean, Eurasia, Middle East, and North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, Europe, South Asia, or East Asia & the Pacific — and receive 8 total hours of targeted lectures, workshops, and activities by the top experts.

The other 16 hours of programming will involve:

– Keynote lectures from leading American and foreign statesmen to begin and close each day

– 1:1 office hours with leading diplomats, ambassadors, and government officials

– A final policy simulation competition where students will form teams and respond to crises as senior advisors and policymakers—presenting recommendations in the form of an options memo and a presentation.

harvard summer school fees

For admitted students, the cost of the program will be $450USD, and a reduced $350USD for early applicants. The organization is committed to being an equal opportunity provider and believes that cost should not be an obstacle to educational opportunities. Generous need-based financial aid is available on a case-by-case basis and will be determined by the submission of relevant documents on the application. Students from federally recognized low-income districts and those who indicate financial need on the application will be prioritized. 

The cost of the conference is used to cover several important aspects of our nonprofit’s operations. With this conference, these costs include, but are not limited to: website, application creation, application data storage, specific programming for technological capabilities and safety measures, design, advertising, liability fees, and financial aid of other students. 

harvard summer programs for undergraduates

PBL Rising Sophomore Ayne-Alem Arrington Attends Harvard's Undergraduate International  Relations Scholars Program

Harvard’s Pre-College Program

High school students seeking an immersive summer enrichment program can participate in Harvard’s Pre-College Program. This program is well-suited for academically driven, mature high school students. Over the course of 2 weeks, pre-college participants take one non-credit course and engage in a wide variety of co-curricular activities with their peers.

Students choose from 30 courses, which span the following categories:

  • Business and Leadership
  • Race, Gender, and Ethics
  • Speech, Writing, and Literature
  • Psychology, Medicine, and Public Health
  • Law, Politics, Philosophy, and History
  • Program Cost: $3,200 + $75 application fee (limited scholarships available)
  • Program Length: 2 weeks, 3 sessions to choose from
    • Session 1: June 27-July 9
    • Session 2: July 11-July 23
    • Session 3: July 25-August 6
  • Application Deadline: May 14, 2021
  • Online/in-person: Will be online for summer 2021

The Secondary School Program

For high school students seeking a longer summer enrichment program, consider Harvard’s flexible, 7-week Secondary School Program. Program participants choose from over 200 courses and earn college credit for the classes they take, which are led by Harvard faculty.

Many of the Secondary School Program’s courses emphasize career pathways, giving students a chance to pinpoint what they want to study in college. Participants get access to advising services to ensure they’re signing up for the best courses given their individual interests.

Career pathway courses span the following categories:

  • Computer Science and Applied Math
  • Global Justice and Sustainability
  • Economics and Entrepreneurship
  • Medicine and Healthcare
  • Psychology and Neuroscience
  • Race, Identity, and Public Policy
  • Program Cost: $3,400–$6,800 + $75 non-refundable application fee (financial aid awards available)
  • Program Length: 7 weeks, June 19 – August 6, 2021
  • Application Deadlines: January 26 (early) // March 4 (regular) // May 20 (late rolling)
  • Online/in-person: Will be online for summer 2021

Harvard Academies at Home

The Harvard Academies at Home gives high school students a chance to learn from Harvard undergraduate instructors. Through rigorous curriculum and hands-on experience, Academy at Home participants can take a deep dive into academic subjects that interest them, all from home.

For 2021, there are 6 Academies at Home available

  1. Business Academy
  2. Business Consulting Academy
  3. Coding Academy
  4. Politics Academy
  5. Pre-Law Academy
  6. Pre-Med Academy

Business Academy

With Harvard’s Business Academy, participants learn everything they need to know about launching their very own business. From brainstorming ideas to creating a business plan, program attendants explore all steps in the entrepreneurial timeline. Participants pitch their business at the end of the program.

  • Program Cost: $200
  • Program Length: 5 days over 2 weekends, multiple session dates
  • Application Deadline: Registration Ongoing
  • Online/in-person: Online

Business Consulting Academy

Understand what it takes to be a successful business consultant at Harvard’s Business Consulting Academy. Learn the ins and outs of market sizing, mergers and acquisitions, profit and loss, and much more over the course of two weekends. Participants will also analyze Harvard Business School case studies.

  • Program Cost: $200
  • Program Length: 5 days over 2 weekends, multiple session dates
  • Application Deadline: Registration Ongoing
  • Online/in-person: Online

Coding Academy

Through Harvard’s Coding Academies, participants learn either the fundamentals of coding (Coding Level 1) or foundations in web development (Coding Level 2). Come away proficient in Python (Level 1) and React (Level 2).

  • Program Cost: $200 for Level 1 // $250 for Level 2
  • Program Length: 5 days over 2 weekends, multiple session dates
  • Application Deadline: Registration Ongoing
  • Online/in-person: Online

Politics Academy

The Politics Academy @ Home offers high school students interested in politics a deep dive into this subject’s core principles, including theory, campaign management, and international relations. Students collaborate with peers on a policy project, and the program culminates in presentations of this research.

  • Program Cost: $200
  • Program Length: 5 days over 2 weekends, multiple session dates
  • Application Deadline: Registration Ongoing
  • Online/in-person: Online

Pre-Law Academy

High school students who are passionate about the law will find much to love about Harvard’s Pre-Law Academy. Examine landmark U.S. court cases, due process of law, and what it takes to prepare for the LSAT and beyond. Acquire the skills you need to become a pre-law student.

  • Program Cost: $200
  • Program Length: 5 days over 2 weekends, multiple session dates
  • Application Deadline: Registration Ongoing
  • Online/in-person: Online

Pre-Med Academy

Considering a pre-med track in college? Harvard’s Pre-Med Academy gives high school students passionate about medicine a thorough introduction to pre-med curriculum (Level 1) and emergency room patient care (Level 2). The Level 1 Academy also introduces students to the MCAT process.

  • Program Cost: $200 for Level 1 // $250 for Level 2
  • Program Length: 5 days over 2 weekends, multiple session dates
  • Application Deadline: Registration Ongoing
  • Online/in-person: Online

harvard summer school acceptance rate and current admission process


The admissions committee is looking for mature, academically motivated students who meet both the following criteria:

  • Will graduate from high school and enter college in 2022, 2023, or 2024
  • Are at least 15 years old by December 1, 2021, and will not turn 19 years old before July 31, 2022

How to apply

Do not complete the application on your smartphone. Please use a laptop or PC. Keep in mind that you may only apply for one program each summer, either the Pre-College Program or the Secondary School Program.

Complete an online application and provide supplemental materials, including:

  • The $75 nonrefundable application fee
  • Counselor report: You can request a link be sent to your counselor in the application
  • Transcripts from 9th grade to fall 2021 grades: This can include progress reports, report cards, and educational summaries from your high school
  • Rules and Media Release online form: We require a link be sent to your parent or legal guardian in the application
  • If English is not your native language, submit scores from the TOEFL iBT or IELTS language proficiency exam along with your application
2022 Application DeadlinesDates
Early application/priority financial aid deadline
Regular application/financial aid deadline
Wednesday, January 26 at noon ET
Wednesday, March 2 at noon ET
Late application deadline/rolling admissionsWednesday, May 11 at noon ET, or earlier if full*

Selection Process

There will be two admissions deadlines for 2022:

  • January 26 for early applicants
  • March 2 for regular applications

*After March 2, there will be rolling admissions, if spots are still available in the program.

There is no minimum GPA requirement. We evaluate all information submitted—including transcripts, counselor reports, and your GPA—when considering your application. You are welcome to submit PSAT, SAT, or ACT test scores, but they are not required.

Application Tips

  • Apply early, as space in the program is limited.
  • If English is not your native language, take one of the required proficiency tests early to ensure you get your scores in time to apply early in the application cycle.
  • Track our receipt of your supplementary materials by logging into your application. You want to be sure that we have all of your application materials on hand.
  • When you apply, choose your program thoughtfully. You may apply to only one of Harvard Summer School’s college programs for high school students per year.