Engineering Summer Program


For summer 2022, Engineering Summer Program is tentatively scheduled to be in-person, and we reserve the right to transition to virtual or cancel at any time. If you have questions, please email us at (updated 11/23/2021)


Virtual Engineering Summer Program Banner

Engineering Summer Program (ESP) is a free, six-week residential program for students who will be high school juniors or seniors in the upcoming school year. The ESP course curriculum includes math, physics, chemistry, engineering, and technical communications. Other structured programming such as industry site visits, field trips, guest lectures, workshops, and faculty mentoring will help students gain a better understanding of the field of engineering and its applications. Learn more about ESP through the ESP Viewbook or FAQ. ESP 2022 dates are TBD. The 2022 ESP application will open early in the spring semester. 

The following information is for 2021 ESP. We will update the dates and details soon for 2022 ESP.


ESP is highly selective and program acceptance is not made on any single metric – applicants are reviewed holistically. All application materials for 2021 must be submitted by June 1st, 2021. Incomplete applications will not be accepted. Applicants will be notified by June 11th, 2021.

Applying to and participating in ESP is separate from the UW-Madison Office of Admissions and Recruitment application process.

Application Checklist

  • Completed application form
  • Official high school transcript
  • Math OR science recommendation form
  • Non-refundable $20 application fee. PLEASE NOTE: The application fee may be waived if your family is eligible for free or reduced price lunch and other special circumstances.

A paper application is available upon request. Please contact with questions.


Virtual ESP is a rigorous academic enrichment summer program designed to introduce engineering concepts to and encourage high achieving students historically underrepresented in engineering (e.g. first generation, low-income, students from diverse communities, and women) to explore engineering. 


To take part in ESP you must:

  • have a strong interest in math and engineering
  • be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
  • be a current sophomore or junior in high school
  • have completed at least one year of algebra, geometry, and chemistry
  • have a minimum unweighted grade-point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale



ESP participants can expect a full schedule of rigorous classes, taught by UW-Madison faculty. Students take coursework in the following content areas:

  • Mathematics (Pre-Calculus or Calculus, as appropriate)
  • Chemistry
  • Introductory Engineering Design
  • Physics (TBD)

ESP challenges students to think creatively, work in teams and draw on previous knowledge and experiences to solve problems both inside and outside the classroom. ESP provides participants with at-home, hands-on experience in design, in addition to group study and problem solving skills that are transferable to future high school and collegiate coursework.

Students will also participate in faculty-led discussions, team building activities, and professional development workshops to help students navigate complicated topics like college admissions, campus life, and financial aid. Additionally, virtual industrial site visits are integrated into the program to enable interaction with practicing engineers at companies like Alliant Energy, Design Concepts, GE Healthcare, and  Rockwell Automation.


Sample Student Schedule

Virtual ESP schedule


Participants will be supervised by program staff. Current undergraduate students are hired and trained to provide supervision and daily programming.


Disclaimer: The following information is from before the pandemic, and is regarding previous in-person Engineering Summer Programs. For summer 2021, all of Virtual Engineering Summer Program will be VIRTUAL and there will not be any in-person programming. 

I can’t have even begun to imagine a better way to use my summer, and I have a pretty solid imagination. I want to express my utmost appreciation toward everyone who helped make this program what it is. – Malachi Alvarez

This program is honestly one of the greatest things that has ever happened to me. Not only do I feel much more confident academically, but I have made a multitude of friends that will for sure last a lifetime! – Faith Lundt

I really loved the ESP experience, it solidified my choice into going into engineering, as well as providing me with opportunities I don’t think I would have had anywhere else. I was able to make everlasting friendships with the people here. I loved all the experiences. I had an unforgettable time at ESP and will never forget it, I hope to come back and help out with the program in any way I can. – Julia Lopez de la Cruz

I think applying for ESP was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my life. This summer was the best I’ve ever had. Because of ESP, I’ve decided that UW-Madison is my number one choice for college. ESP wouldn’t have been the same experience without the counselors, the people, and the experiences. – Jonathan Perez

This was a great summer, I feel ready to take on whatever academic challenge that comes my way! – Simone Wright

Disclaimer: The following information is from before the pandemic, and is regarding previous in-person Engineering Summer Programs. For summer 2021, all of Virtual Engineering Summer Program will be VIRTUAL and there will not be any in-person programming.

ESP Through The Years