Students FAQ

Students FAQ

  • Full summer availability and a commitment to work with your lab 35+ hours a week
  • Willingness to participate and engage in a professional setting with a positive attitude
  • To follow and comply with program rules and expectations
  • Completion of pre-KEYS assignments that are due before the start of the program
  • Timely completion of course assignments during program dates

The first week of the program is Training Week. You spend the week with program staff being trained in the necessary skills you need to be successful working in your lab. The second week through the final week of the program, you work full-time with your research lab. Once a week you will meet with program staff and peers for Science Seminar. During Seminar, you receive presentations from UArizona colleges and researchers, practice your presentation skills, and prepare to create your research poster.

  • 3 credits of UArizona MCB 103 coursework
  • Up to 4.0 entering UArizona GPA (dependent on success in internship)
  • Assured admission to the UArizona's W.A. Franke Honors College
  • Recommendation letters for college, program, or internship applications
  • Increased potential to work in a University research lab following your internship
  • Lasting friendships
  • Preference for KEYS Crew mentor positions in future KEYS cohorts

Program staff work diligently to ensure that you are placed into a laboratory based on your research interests. Part of the KEYS Internship is developing professional skills, such as working in new and diverse environments.

No. However, we will be looking for your passion for science when evaluating your application. 

Your application is evaluated on your passion for science, ability to follow instructions, and quality of writing. 

  1. Submit a program application.
  2. If your application score qualifies you, an invitation to interview will be sent to your email.
  3. Interview with program staff.
  4. If your interview score qualifies you, an invitation to be part of the KEYS program will be sent to your email.

Students who have taken Biology or Chemistry will be better prepared to succeed in KEYS, but not having these classes will not place you at a disadvantage when being selected for the program. KEYS program staff and UArizona lab staff will work with students to help them learn the skills necessary to be successful in their research projects. 

Applicants will receive an email about their interview status by the middle of February, and acceptance in the program by the end of March. Check your email frequently - including your junk mail. Applicants on the waitlist may not hear of the final decision until the beginning of May.

KEYS is a free program; generous program donors ensure students can participate without cost being a deterrent. We do offer financial aid and/or resources for associated costs such a University of Arizona CatCard, parking permit, meals, transportation, and financial support to supplement leave of absence from current employment to participate in KEYS during the seven week internship.

The 2024 internship will begin on June 3rd and will end on July 19th.

Applications for the 2024 KEYS program will open November 1, 2023 and close on January 10, 2024. 

UArizona regulations require that all students working in a university laboratory be 16 or older. For that reason, you must be 16 years old on the first day of the program to be eligible for KEYS. There are no exceptions made to this rule, and we will not accept applicants who will not be 16 years old by the first day of the program (June 3, 2024).  

If you live in Arizona for more than 9 months of the year. If one or more parent/legal guardian are residents of the state and custody is shared. The question of residency for state income tax purposes cannot be answered by a general rule but depends largely on the circumstances of each case. Generally, no one single factor is controlling, but all relevant facts must be considered in determining residency. The determination of residency is dependent on physical presence and an intent to abandon the former residence and remain in the new residence for an indefinite period of time. For more detailed information, visit the Arizona Department of Revenue website.

You can find your weighted and unweighted GPA on your transcript, or you can ask someone from your counseling office.

Select teachers or counselors that you know well. They will be able to give more specific information, which will help during the application review. Please make sure you let your recommenders know that you are selecting them to provide a recommendation. KEYS staff will contact your recommenders and ask them to fill out a recommendation form. No letters of recommendation will be accepted; only the KEYS recommendation form will be considered. 

Yes, so they are aware of our program policies and expectations.

Email and inform program staff what edits you need to make to your materials. Do NOT submit another application form.

If you have not heard from a KEYS staff member, contact the KEYS email at or call 520-626-8124.

There is no fee to apply.

You can reach us at or call us at 520-626-8124.

Must be 16 years of age or older by June 3, 2024, and be a U.S. citizen or a legal resident with a minimum of one year Arizona residency.

Kelle Hyland
KEYS Program Manager