Program Overview

The CIRCUIT program at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) offers undergraduate students an opportunity to participate in cutting-edge research while building skills to make significant contributions to science. Diverging from traditional summer internships, CIRCUIT students participate in a yearlong cohort-based research experience as integral members of APL project teams and participate in unique, hands-on learning in a fun, collaborative environment.

What it entails: Participation includes a full-time (40 hours per week), on-site summer program at APL and a part-time (20 hours per week) school-year commitment. Students are also asked to participate in spring training before the summer session (8 hours per week). The summer session includes workshops and seminars designed to enhance students’ research skills. During the 2021–2022 school year, students will meet with their teams and mentors at least once per week. Students may also apply to our Section 2 (Beta) program that begins with a part-time (20 hours per week) school-year commitment and ends with a full-time (40 hours per week) summer session the following year. Note: This option is not available for rising seniors. On-site opportunities for both sections may become available as the COVID-19 pandemic subsides.

Compensation: CIRCUIT provides a $9,000 stipend during the summer session, along with research credit for students’ work during the school year.

Applicant requirements: All undergraduates are encouraged to apply; there are no specific subject-matter background requirements, and CIRCUIT provides training and mentoring to support students in the broader research community. Applicants must simply demonstrate an interest in scientific inquiry, and preference will be given to students who plan to participate in both program sessions (summer and school year).

Trailblazers wanted: CIRCUIT encourages applications from “trailblazers,” which the program defines as high-achieving scholars from underserved backgrounds, women and other minorities in STEM fields, and those without a previous chance to earn research experience or who otherwise face barriers in achieving their dreams.

Participating Organizations

Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL), Laurel, MD

Section 1 (Main)
Spring Training
March 2021 – May 2021
Summer Session
June 2021 – August 2021
School-Year Session
September 2021 – May 2021
Section 2 (Beta)
School-Year Session
September 2021 – May 20222
Summer Session
June 2022 – August 2022

2021 Research Areas

Artificial Intelligence
Precision Medicine
Planetary Exploration

Program Timeline

Application Period Opens:
November 20, 2020
Priority Deadline:
January 15, 2021
Application Period Closes:
January 31, 2021
Interviews (tentative):
January 20 – February 12, 2021
Decision Notification:
March 7, 2021
We are Here
Spring Training:
March 15 – May 15, 2021
CIRCUIT Summer Session:
Begins May 31, 2021

“CIRCUIT is a unique opportunity to not just learn from but also work alongside leaders in the field at the Applied Physics Lab. It is challenging in the most exciting way. It is life-changing not just in the skills you learn through it but also in the relationships built. CIRCUIT has been my favorite experience at Hopkins so far, and I would recommend it fully.” — 2019 Student