The North Carolina School of Science and Math Summer Accelerator Program extends to a global audience our 30 years of experience offering innovative courses and opportunities to talented high school students.


The Accelerator program offers unique, high-level courses in an innovative format that incorporates both residential, hands-on learning and online education. This summer, explore aerospace engineering by designing and launching your own rocket. Analyze the connection between music and math and compose your own work in Music of the World and the Math Behind It. Uncover the secrets of the dead and real-world excavation methodology in Death and Burial Around the World.


Highly skilled faculty focus their talents on building upon the strengths of high-achieving students in advanced science and math topics in the classroom. Student Life Instructors offer a valuable resource and help provide a safe and enjoyable residential experience for students out of the classroom. NCSSM crafts unique college-level academic experiences, as a constituent and flagship high school of the University of North Carolina system, in a setting designed specifically for high school students.


Explore complex topics, collaborate with peers from around the globe, and get hands-on experience that will kick start college readiness and career interests this summer.





NCSSM is known for being academically rigorous and unique in both topics of study and approach. Accelerator courses address some of the hottest topics in biotechnology, environmental science, aerospace engineering, automation and more. With inspiration and guidance from NCSSM’s expert faculty, you’ll develop new skills and get a head-start on a major or career in an exciting field.

This summer, we will offer both residential courses paired with an online component and day courses as part of the Accelerator program. Residential courses are a total of three weeks, and include a one-week stay on NCSSM’s campus and two weeks of online coursework. All Accelerator courses are designed to provide students from around the country and the world the opportunity to come together in diverse groups to live and learn together and gain hands-on experience with intriguing topics in science, technology, engineering and math.





Student Services and Counselors

The NCSSM staff provides academic counseling to students on an individual and/or a group basis, provides social and recreational opportunities outside of class times, sets guidelines for acceptable behavior, interprets and enforces NCSSM policies, responds to problems and conflicts, and administers discipline when necessary. The Student Services staff and our Student Life Instructors are in charge of the day-to-day supervision of the residential buildings and help ensure the safety and well-being of students.



Students in residential courses will be provided breakfast, lunch and dinner and a snack in the evening in the NCSSM cafeteria. Students in day courses will be provided with lunch. This is included in the cost of tuition.




Residential courses consist of one week of on-site work on NCSSM’s campus, supplemented with two weeks of online work (see individual course descriptions for specifics of each class). The online portion enriches and expands upon the face-to-face learning that happens on campus. This combination of learning experiences has proven successful for STEM education, and distinguishes the Accelerator program from most other programs currently offered for exceptional students.


Sample schedule for in-person week of course:


  • 1:00-4:00 p.m. Students arrive / Registration
  • 4:00-5:30 p.m. Optional class orientation / Student Life programming
  • 5:30-6:30 p.m. Cafeteria open
  • 7:00 p.m. Welcome session


Monday - Thursday

  • 7:30-8:30 a.m. Cafeteria open
  • 8:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m. Class time
  • 12:00-1:00 p.m. Cafeteria open
  • 1:30-5:00 p.m. Class time
  • 5:00-6:00 p.m. Cafeteria open
  • 6:30-10:30 p.m. Activities / open time
  • 10:30 p.m. Students must be in their residence halls
  • 12:00 p.m. Lights out



  • 7:30-8:30 a.m. Cafeteria open
  • 8:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m. Class time
  • 12:00-1:00 p.m. Cafeteria open
  • 1:00-3:00 p.m. Check-out/parent meetings/poster sessions/research presentations



Online content is typically 15 hours of work before and/or after the residential portion of the course. This time includes: time for students to introduce themselves and share common interests (which can help build the cohort before they arrive on campus), time for readings, discussions, video content, reflection questions, inquiry and/or data collection.

Teachers may elect to have students complete a capstone project after the residential session, continue working on a project developed during the session or record audio or video presenting their projects or reflections upon conclusion of the residential session.


Students must have access to high-speed Internet and the time available to commit to online assignments. Each course has different online dates, so please check the course description for the specifics of each class.



  • 8:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m. Class time
  • 12:00-1:00 p.m. Cafeteria open
  • 1:30-5:00 p.m. Class time 



Accelerator courses are for exceptional rising 10th, 11th and 12th graders. Any student who meets the requirements for the course for which they are applying may apply to that Summer Accelerator course. 


Financial Assistance


We are in the process of developing a financial assistance program. Please email Jen Jenkins at if you are in need of financial assistance.


Students already admitted to the NCSSM Online program may apply for a limited number of awards, which cover all costs for tuition and fees.



Cancellations made at least 30 days prior to the start day of your course(s) (your first course, if registered for multiple) will receive a full-tuition refund, less the $250 non-refundable deposit. Cancellations between 30 and 15 days prior to the start of your course(s) will receive a 50% tuition refund, less the deposit. Cancellations within 15 days prior to the start of your course(s) will NOT receive a refund. In the case that the minimum requirements for running the program are not met, we reserve the right to cancel a course at least 14 days prior to the course start date, and will provide registered participants a full refund, including the deposit amount.




Who Can Apply?

Any rising sophomore, junior, or senior with an excellent academic record and a keen interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics is encouraged to apply. Students must meet the requirements for the individual course for which they are applying.


May I apply if I live outside North Carolina or the US?

Yes! Students from all over the globe are welcome to apply.


Do you accept students entering 10th grade at the end of the summer?

Yes, rising sophomores are encouraged to apply. Please note that some courses, like Secrets of the Dead: Archaeology of Death and Burial, deal with potentially sensitive subjects and require that students are exceptionally mature.


What are the requirements?

We accept students who excel in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Each course has different specific prerequisites, such as Algebra or Biology. Please check the course listings for each course’s requirements.


How do I apply? What does the application process look like?

Click here to see our course offerings and to apply. Applications for summer 2014 are being accepted now. Students will be notified about their acceptance two to three weeks after they submit their application. We encourage you to apply as soon as possible to ensure you get your first choice.


Once you have been accepted into the program, a non-refundable deposit of $250, due within seven days of your acceptance, will reserve your spot. Tuition is due in full ($1,875 per course) by May 15, 2014. For those who pay full tuition before April 15, 2014, an early bird discount of $150 will be applied.


If I apply for the Accelerator program, am I also accepted into the NCSSM Online or NCSSM Residential program?

No. You are accepted only into the Accelerator summer course for which you apply. Application for the NCSSM Online and NCSSM Residential programs is a separate process. Click here for more information on these programs. Though participation in Accelerator signals a strong interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, Accelerator participants do not receive preferential treatment when being considered for the NCSSM Online and NCSSM Residential programs.


What is required of me during the online component weeks?

That depends on the course. Some of the courses require you to be online at a certain day and time each week to do work as a group, while other courses require that you do a certain amount of work on your own during that week. In the second case, you could even be on vacation or at camp, and still be able to participate as long as you have Internet access. Please email if you have questions.

How is this different than years past?

This is the first year that we are opening our summer programs to students no matter where they live. By doing so, we have increased the availability of these opportunities to our own students registered in the NCSSM Online Program. This year, we are expanding our offerings and creating fuller experiences, including evening activities and field trips.


What if I have to cancel?

Cancellations before 30 days before the start day of the program will receive a full-tuition refund less the $250 deposit. Cancellations between 30 and 15 days before the start of the program will receive 50% of the tuition refunded less the deposit. Cancellations within 15 days before the start of the program will not receive a refund. In the case that the minimum requirements for running the program are not met, we reserve the right to cancel a course at any time, and will provide registered participants a full refund, including the deposit amount.


Who are the instructors?

The lead instructor for each course is a current NCSSM faculty member. Additional classroom instruction may be provided by other experts in the field. See individual course descriptions for more details.


Are there tests?

Accelerator courses have different methods of assessment depending on the content. This could include the creation of a rocket and the success of its launch, a poster board presentation, or a research report.


Should I bring my laptop?

Yes, if you have one, although a laptop is not required to complete course content during the residential portion of the course. NCSSM offers wireless Internet access at most points on campus, and computer access in the library. During the online portion of the course, students must have regular access to a computer with an Internet connection.


How do I get there?

NCSSM is located at 1219 Broad Street in Durham, NC. Directions to campus can be found here. Students arriving by train or air travel will be picked up by NCSSM staff members.


Where will I live?

NCSSM's campus has dormitory space for up to 680 students. For more information about dorm room layout and dimensions, including photographs of rooms and common areas in all six of our dormitories, visit


What if someone wants to visit me?

A visitor is defined as any person who is not a current student or a current employee of NCSSM; this includes former students and alumni. All visitors must be registered and accompanied by their hosts at all times while on campus. Visitors can register at the Bryan SLI Office. On special occasions, NCSSM may suspend the requirement for visitor sign in due to expected large attendance. Students are allowed to have guests on campus during the following hours, with the exception of their parents or guardians, who may visit at any time (except overnight).

  • Monday – Thursday 9:00 a.m. – 10:25 p.m.

  • Friday 9:00 a.m. – 11:55 p.m.

  • Saturday 9:00 a.m. – 11:55 p.m.

  • Sunday 9:00 a.m. – 10:25 p.m.

Visitors are required to abide by visiting hours and all rules governing student life. Students are responsible for the actions of their guests including any misbehavior or damage. Students are expected to accompany their guests at all times while they are on campus. No guests, including parents/guardians, are allowed access to a student room if the occupants are not present. Students may not have guests of the opposite sex, including siblings, cousins, off-campus friends, etc., in their rooms, on their halls or in their lounges unless permission has been secured from a staff member. Overnight guests are not permitted.


Visitors and guests of students or staff are not allowed to use the activity areas (fitness center, dance studio, racquetball courts, training room, wrestling area, and main gymnasium) of the Eilber Physical Education Center (PEC). Visitors are not permitted to ride in School vans or buses.


What happens at night and on the weekends?

A comprehensive Student Activities program is designed to complement the academic program at NCSSM and may include organized activities both on and off campus for Accelerator students. NCSSM’s Student Center offers a place where students can watch TV and movies, study, play games or socialize.  


Can I have my car on campus?

Due to concerns for student safety, students are not permitted to have access to a personal automobile (or any motorized vehicle) or have a personal automobile on campus while under the jurisdiction of NCSSM. (This includes the immediate area of campus and the surrounding neighborhoods.) Even under the jurisdiction of parents, students still are not permitted access to an automobile on campus.


What is the campus area like?

Our campus is located in the historic Watts-Hillandale residential neighborhood, and at the end of the 9th Street commercial district, adjacent to Duke University’s east campus.


What about safety?

Campus Resources proactively manages safety and security of our students and campus 24/7 with dedicated officers and Durham Police officers. Staff monitor cameras throughout campus and the campus emergency telephone line, and emergency callboxes are located throughout campus and in classrooms. Emergency speakers reach the entire campus.


Upcoming Dates

We will begin accepting applications for 2015 by December 1st.

Please check back for courses in the fall.