Research Programs

Alpha Scholars Research Program

Alpha Scholars is a rigorous social science research program that teaches college-level research, writing, and presentation skills to high school students in support of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Students work one-on-one with Harvard undergraduate mentors in advanced study and research of a topic related to their chosen SDG, culminating in a 12-page research paper and a 15-minute presentation. Final papers are evaluated by the Harvard International Relations Council and the Harvard International Review, which features the best papers on its website.

who should apply?students interested in research in a variety of social issues
eligible grade levelssophomore – senior
costearly bird: $2600
regular: $2800
limited financial aid available
opensnow open
deadlineSpring 2022
December 31 (Early Bird)
January 31 (Regular)

Summer 2022:

April 30 (Early Bird)
May 31 (Regular)
decisions releasedrolling decisions after submission
date of programSpring: February 5 – May 2, 2022
Summer: June 11 – August 13, 2022
selectivity~30 slots per session

application requirements

  • read, speak and write in English at an academically fluent level (TOEFL Score 90+ or IELTS Band 6.5/7+ for non-native speakers)
  • be in grades 10, 11 or 12 at time of enrollment (outstanding grade 9 students and gap year students also considered)
  • be able to commit 3-4 hours (spring) or 8-12 hours (summer) per week to program
  • have demonstrated interest in chosen research field

application process

  • basic information, academic information
  • seven short essay questions (75-100 words)
  • attend invitation-based interview


Based on personal experience:

  • main selling point is that this program is revolved around UN Sustainable Development Goals, but as long as your paper vaguely ties into one of the goals (they are kind of broad) you will be fine.
  • other main selling point is the connection with the Harvard International Review. They are barely affiliated, it’s just that the mentors are current Harvard students and that your research paper is automatically submitted to the HIR for review (also by current Harvard students)
  • program is strangely structured; more time is revolved around teaching how to write a research paper + thinking of a topic than actually writing the paper
  • your paper can be well-designed in theory but if it doesn’t follow the program structure, you may be docked points
  • part of your grade in the program is also determined by your final presentation and how your slides look

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