Ananya Lukhi I
High School: Welham Girls’ School, India
Pioneer Research Paper: Social Energy Leads to Better Health

“Pioneer has been a life changing experience for me, it has given so much more context and meaning to my life. Pioneer has taught me the true sense of research, understanding the context of every word in which is being spoken or read. ”




Pioneer is well respected for its rigorous academic standards which apply to both the faculty members and the students.

Pioneer is known as selective and is respected by top universities.

From the former Associate Director of Admissions - University of Pennsylvania & Wharton

Here you can listen directly to a former veteran admissions officer of Penn & Wharton about his insight of Pioneer Scholars when he read their applications to Penn.


What is the Pioneer Research Program?

The Pioneer Research Program provides undergraduate-level research opportunities to talented, intellectually motivated high school students from around the world. It is the only online credit-bearing research program for high school students that offers STEM, social sciences and humanities disciplines.

In the Pioneer Research Program, selected students work one-on-one with leading U.S. university professors in advanced study and research of a topic of their interest, culminating in a full-length research paper. The program is conducted entirely online, allowing high school students from all over the world to participate.

4,192 students from 71 countries and regions have participated in the program since 2012.

World map Pioneer alumni

2020 Pioneer alumni create a video to welcome 2021 scholars to the Pioneer community

23 Pioneer alumni, from 14 countries across six continents, came together on their own to create a film that shares the Pioneer spirit with the incoming 2021 Pioneer scholars.

2020 Pioneer alumni Catherine Kwon, from the US, and Reymajan Jumaniyazova, from Turkmenistan, initiated the project. They wanted to capture the vibrant, global, passionate atmosphere of the Pioneer community and welcome the next year of scholars to the program. Watch the video to see their creation.


Pioneer Academic Oversight

Pioneer and Oberlin College collaborate in the following areas to ensure the rigor of the academic operations.

Academic quality control
Pioneer collaborates with an Oberlin committee to conduct academic quality control. Pioneer insists on rigorous policies and procedures that include:

  • Screening faculty
  • Faculty orientation
  • Accurate description of professorship
  • Development and evaluation of pedagogical rubrics
  • Review of research product and evaluation quality
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Pioneer's Rigorous Academic Operations in collaboration with Oberlin College

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20201019 Pioneer terms for website correct

Pioneer 2018 Statistics

2018 student enrollment: 527 (spring and summer terms)
Countries and regions represented: 23

Australia, Bangladesh, Botswana, Canada, China, China Hong Kong, Greece, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Macedonia, New Zealand, Rwanda, The United Kingdom, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, The United States, Vietnam




High school year:


Pioneer research scholars attend hundreds of high schools around the world. Below is a list that highlights a few of them:

Table of HS

2018 Program Grades:
Pioneer Research Program grade distribution for 2018 (program grade and number of students who received it):

Pioneer standards & college credits

The Pioneer Research Program is the only full college-credit-bearing online research program for high school students. It offers STEM, social sciences, and humanities disciplines with 30 research areas.

Students selected into Pioneer will receive two college credits if they pass the program. The ground breaking collaboration between Pioneer Academics and Oberlin College ensures that the quality of the research mentorship is held to the highest standards.

Oberlin Review

Pioneer’s credibility allows Pioneer scholars to demonstrate their genuine passion and true academic ability through Pioneer’s rigorous system.


Completion of the Pioneer Research Program is listed in college applications as a college course, not an activity or camp, because of the rigorous requirements of its academic system. Pioneer Scholars need to contact their counselors or Pioneer’s team to learn more if necessary.

Pioneer’s college credits granted by Oberlin College are readily transferable to other colleges. Pioneer alumni need to ask Oberlin College to send the Pioneer transcript to the destination institution. The registrar’s office of the receiving institution will decide if the credits will be accepted.

Mary Heltage

Because of its unique academic system, exemplary standards, and proven integrity, Pioneer’s credibility is respected by selective universities and colleges. 

Learn more

Academic resources

The Writing Center
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Pioneer’s research skills training courses support students’ research progress

Pioneer’s academic department is responsible for developing and improving our academic research foundation curriculum and functions that include research methodology courses, the writing center, and training on research tools.

Oberlin digital library

Pioneer scholars are granted access to enviable digital research library resources, including academic journals, academic databases, digital music and art libraries, and over 100,000 e-books.


Pioneer qualifies its mentoring faculty based on academics and passion for teaching.

Institutions at which Pioneer Faculty Are Employed:

Amherst College
Brown University
Bowdoin College
California Institute of Technology
Carleton College
Carnegie Mellon University
Claremont McKenna College
Columbia University
Davidson College
Emory University
Georgetown University
Hamilton College

Harvard University
Johns Hopkins University
New York University
Northwestern University
University of Pennsylvania
Pomona College
Princeton University
Rice University
Vassar College
Washington and Lee University
Wellesley College
Wesleyan University
The United States Military Academyat West Point

Professor 2
mark jones

The material I deliver to these high school students is exactly the same as in my college classes. For example, we use Arend Lijphart’s Patterns of Democracy, the same text I use in my comparable upper-division Rice seminar. I take a subset of the modules from my Rice course for juniors and seniors and use it with my high schoolers.

Professor of Political ScienceRice University
Shannon Heh video

Pioneer Research Journal

The Pioneer Research Journal, an annual publication, selects the best papers nominated by faculty research mentors each year.

Papers are selected by a blind review conducted by our Pioneer Research Journal reading committee. This committee is composed of over 40 senior college faculty representing over 30 disciplines.

Blind review means that the faculty who review nominated papers do not know who the student author or mentoring professors are. In 2018, the top 4.7% of the papers were selected for publication in the Pioneer Research Journal.

Journal Selection Rates
Journal Selection Rates

Pioneer never promises academic journal publication to students. This is important to note as predatory open access publishing has become a toxic issue that devalues valid academic scholarship.

Pioneer’s academics staff may give students an orientation on how to search for peer-reviewed reputable journals, such as those listed in the Scientific Journal Rankings (SJR) for publishing possibilities. If a professor-mentor believes a student’s research is of publishable quality, the professor may choose to invite the student to collaborate on co-authorship. In such cases, Pioneer supervises this process and does not allow a student to be listed as a co-author without material contribution.

Schools Are Proud of Their Students Taking on the Pioneer Challenge

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cis university
cis university
Duke Tip
Duke Tip
Davidson Institute
Davidson Institute

Highlights and Tuition

Click to learn about Pioneer’s unique program and tuition details.

Past Programs and Events

You are welcome to glance at Pioneer’s past programs and events. There will be more exciting opportunities offered by Pioneer in the future. If you are looking for current and upcoming events, they can be found on our Updates Page.

Because of the novel coronavirus, we are facing a time of unprecedented challenge. Life in so many ways has come to a near halt. Students nearing college, however, can’t stop working towards their academic goals, and educators must guide them in spite of the hardships and difficulties the virus has imposed.

Pioneer therefore put together a new program — the Pioneer Open Summer Study (POSS) — for every student who is interested and committed. Pioneer’s academic panel launched four exciting study themes that Pioneer faculty hosted through recorded workshops, and which students were able to take on as independent summer projects.

The 2022 Spring-through-Summer Term application deadline is earlier than in past years: The deadline to apply Is 23:59 EST, December 19 2021.
Click here to register for an info session. Click here to apply.
  • Considering students have significantly fewer options for their summer enrichment, Pioneer adjusted the cohort size from maximum 5 to maximum 6 so that we can offer the opportunity to more students. Please be aware that Pioneer will only expand cohorts which we feel sure will not be compromised in any way by a slight increase in participation. Some areas, therefore, may stay at a maximum of 5 because the nature of the course requires heavier coaching.


  • Pioneer admissions still requires the same application materials, but we may adjust the timing in response to current realities. If you can work with your counselor to collect your official transcript and counselor evaluation and submit them soon after you submit your application, it will speed up the process. Pioneer admissions requires an official transcript and counselor evaluation to process applications for the final round. If these items won't be available during the process due to COVID-19, applicants must submit evidence that the school's counseling office is closed. Pioneer admissions will then decide what adjustment shall be granted.