The Pioneer Research Program is the only online U.S. college credit-bearing research program for high school students. In Pioneer's rigorous academic system, students work one-on-one with university professors in advanced study and research of a topic of their interest, culminating in a full-length research paper.
The Pioneer Research Program offers talented, intellectually motivated high school students from around the world the opportunity to conduct undergraduate-level research. Program participants work directly with leading professors from the top colleges in the country, first in a series of small-group seminars (capped at four students each) and then in one-on-one research. The program culminates with each student completing an undergraduate-level research paper.
Past research topics include Gravitational Waves and LIGO, The Political Economy of International Development, and Film Noir and its Contexts. During the program, you will not only be able to collaborate with your program professor, but will also have access to the Pioneer writing center for help with writing your research paper and to a comprehensive collection of 100,000+ e-books and a vast number of academic journals. Upon completing the program, you will earn college credit, receive an evaluation of your work and academic ability from your professor (which can be submitted along with your college applications), and an official program transcript.
The program is conducted completely online. Not only does this allow you to participate in the program from anywhere you are based, but it also enables you to meet students like yourself from around the world. It also allows for flexibility with your other commitments – you will not need to travel during the school year if you are considering our spring semester, and you will not need to give up your summer plans if you are considering our summer semester.
We offer the program twice a year: the 25-week spring term runs from February to July, and the 12-week summer term runs from June to August. We offer research opportunities in 23 distinct academic areas:
- Art History
- Computer Science
- Environmental Studies
- Film Studies
- International Relations
- Media Studies
- Science, Technology, and Society
Cost and Session Information
We offer the Pioneer Research Program twice a year. Too busy during the school year to dive into your Pioneer research? We understand - our 12-week summer semester runs from June to August, letting you focus on your research without having to juggle your schoolwork as well. Prefer to spread your research out over a longer period of time? Our 25-week spring semester runs from February to July, allowing you more time to stretch your study, and we leave the month of May free for you to focus on your APs and finals.
Both terms have the same number of meetings and content. However, the meeting times of the spring term are more flexible and the work intensity is lower due to the term’s longer duration. In either term, students meet with their professors for 10 sessions or more as the professor sees necessary. Time between meetings is at least one week. Regardless of which semester you choose, you will still receive the same amount of course time, one-on-one time with your professor, college credit, and resources from Pioneer.
Tuition for the program is US$6,355, including:
- 5 group sessions (1.5 hours each) and 5 one-on-one sessions with your program professor (45 minutes to 1 hour each);
- 5 training sessions on how to conduct undergraduate-level research, resolve technical issues, make the most of your time with your professor, prevent plagiarism and choose a research question;
- College credit;
- Use of the program’s online platform;
- Access to the Pioneer writing center for submitting your research paper drafts;
- Access to an online library which contains more than 100,000 e-books and a vast number of academic journals.