USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center

An NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center

Diversity in Cancer Research Summer Undergraduate Internship Program

Open to rising Sophomores, Juniors, Seniors with an interest in STEM, Cancer and/or Biomedical Research.

This program is intended to support applicants from backgrounds underrepresented in biomedical research, per the NIH definition.

About our Diversity in Cancer Research Summer Undergraduate Internship Program:

The Diversity in Cancer Research (DICR) Internship Program, funded by the American Cancer Society, aims to increase diversity in the cancer research workforce by exposing under-represented minority undergraduate students to cancer research and provide career development activities that will help them prepare for a career in cancer research. Students will seek and identify an established faculty mentor based on mutual research interest and will create a research project proposal to be completed over the course of the program.

The USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center has available funds from the ACS DICR grant to provide $5,000 stipends for eight (8) undergraduate interns for the 10-week summer internship program. Please note additional funding to cover cost of living such housing, food, transportation, etc. is not available.

Interns accepted into the program will get a chance to experience working with a cancer research team that is focused on growth, learning, and exploration.

Components of our program include:

DICR interns spend 10 weeks during the summer engaging in hands-on research. They have the opportunity to explore a career in cancer research, and work on a research project that directly impacts communities and/or patients. In addition, they receive one-on-one mentorship by an accomplished investigator in a cancer research lab or in a clinical or community setting.

Interns receive a total of $5,000 for the summer internship. Additional funding to cover cost of living such as housing, food, transportation, etc. is not available. No academic credit is awarded. 

Throughout the year, interns engage in planned, career-development and networking activities.

    1. Eligibility of interns is based on the NIH definition of “Populations Underrepresented in theExtramural Scientific Workforce” by race and ethnicity ( “The following racial and ethnic groups have been shown to be underrepresented in biomedical research: Blacks or African Americans, Hispanics or Latinos, American Indians or Alaska Native, Native Hawaiians, and other Pacific Islanders (Samoan, Guamanian or Chamorro, Fijian, Tongan, or Marshallese peoples).”
    2. Review Committee will accept applications from under-represented minority undergraduate students who are rising sophomores, rising juniors, and risingseniors with an interest in any Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) 
    3. Must have at least a minimum three (3.0) overall Grade Point Average (GPA).
    4. Must be a full-time enrollment (12 units per semester).
    5. Undergraduate students cannot be enrolled in summer courses concurrent with internship.
    6. Must not be awarded a bachelor’s degree before the program ends.

Applications for the 2024 Internship Program are open. Email above for submission of forms. Please submit your eligibility form and research proposal to the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center at


Eligibility Form Deadline: Monday, January 8, 2024, by 5 PM (PST)

Research Proposal Deadline: Friday, April 5, 2024, by 5 PM (PST)


The first step – Review the “Members of the Cancer Center” webpage, located HERE. All faculty listed here are actively engaged in cancer research. Conduct a Google search and read about the faculty mentor’s research work you are interested in working with. If you know of a USC faculty member who is not a USC Cancer Center Member, but whose research is cancer focused, they are eligible for serve as your mentor. Email two (2) potential mentors and confirm if there is availability on their research team for the ACS DICR summer internship program. Include the following information in your email to the prospective mentor: 

    • Explain the ACS DICR Undergraduate College Student Internship Program. 
    • Do you have availability on your research team this summer for me to join? • What skills will I learn? 
    • What kind of training will I need? 
    • What are your current research projects? 
    • What would my role be in your laboratory? 
    • I read about your research work in [ ] and I am really interested in learning more. Could you provide a few research papers where I could read more about this topic? 

The second step – Once there is a mutual understanding between you and your mentor about your participation in their laboratory and/or on their research team, establish a research project and draft a proposal with your approved mentor. 

The third step – Submit your ACS DICR Research Proposal and Eligibility form by the proposal deadline. 

WHEN IS THE APPLICATION DEADLINE AND WHO DO I SUBMIT MY PROPOSAL TO? The eligibility form and unofficial transcript must be sent to by Monday, January 8, 2024, at 5 PM (PST). The research proposal deadline is Friday, April 5, 2024, at 5 PM (PST). 

WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE ACS DICR SUMMER RESEARCH PROGRAM? Refer to the six (6) eligibility criteria listed on the application guidelines. 

HOW LONG IS THE PROGRAM? This is a 10-week summer internship program that will start in May 2024 and end in August 2024. Undergraduate students cannot be enrolled in summer courses concurrent with the internship. 

HOW MUCH IS THE UNDERGRADUATE INTERN STIPEND? Undergraduate interns who participate in the ACS DICR Summer Research Program will be provided a $5,000 stipend. Additional funding to cover cost of living such as housing, food, transportation, etc. is not available. 

WHAT IF I AM NOT AN UNDER-REPRESENTED MINORITY (URM) UNDERGRADUATE STUDENT? The aim of the ACS DICR Program is to increase diversity in the cancer research workforce by increasing the number of under-represented minorities in the biomedical field. Unfortunately, if you are not an underrepresented minority undergraduate student, you are not eligible to apply for this internship. 

For more information regarding the ACS-DICR Summer Research Program, please contact