The Pioneer 2024 application is closed. The application window for the 2025 cycle is officially open!

Prepare early for this competitive process by registering for an online information session.

“Don’t miss this one-of-a-kind online summit to engage with prestigious programs and college admission officers. Register early to secure your place.”

The First and Only Accredited Online Research Program

The Pioneer Research Program: Created to Guide You to Your Full Potential

Pioneer Academics’ virtual research program guides passionate learners to discover and achieve their true potential through the creation of original research that matters.

Widely respected for our academic standards, we are the first and only fully-accredited online research program for high school students.

Pioneer Believes in the Power of Transformational Learning

We believe that transformational and inspired learning is sparked through tapping into a learner’s passions with rigor in academic approach, problem-solving, and knowledge creation.

Through our programs, Pioneer actively collaborates with both the learner and the ecosystem of educators and academic institutions to create truly life-changing experiences.

student pioneer
DSC 0971

Academic Standards and Oversight That Matter

Pioneer is the only program that teaches and adheres to the highest possible global standards for creating original research.

We provide faculty oversight to ensure these standards are met consistently.

Pioneer is the only research program with third-party oversight, provided in collaboration with Oberlin College. This shared responsibility includes independent full-spectrum reviews, which consistently demonstrate that Pioneer is meeting and exceeding undergraduate academic standards.

Pioneer is the only fully-accredited online college research program for high school students — earning college credits with your research.

Ethical Standards That Matter

Academics only: No test prep, college consulting, or other “premium” packages – this is about academic rigor and research.

Commitment to Social Mission: We are committed to meeting 100% of demonstrated financial need for all admitted scholars where need can be assessed.

Independent Grading: Grading is done by faculty based on uniform guidelines set by Pioneer, calibrated to undergraduate-level standards.

Ethical standards that matter

Our Scholars Were So Fired Up, They Made This Video

Welcome Pioneer Scholars

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

Pioneer alumni Catherine Kwon, from the U.S., and Reymajan Jumaniyazova, from Turkmenistan, initiated the project. They wanted to capture the vibrant, global, passionate atmosphere of the Pioneer community and welcome the newest scholars to the program.

How Pioneer & Oberlin's Collaborative Oversight Works

pioneer oberlin collab e1696500284909

Pioneer collaborates with Oberlin’s Educational Plans and Policies Committee to conduct academic quality control. Pioneer upholds rigorous policies and procedures that include:

  • Screening of faculty mentors
  • Uniform faculty guidelines
  • Accurate description of professorship roles and responsibilities
  • Development and evaluation of pedagogical rubrics
  • Review of research product quality and evaluation criteria

Initiated in 2016: Groundbreaking Collaboration

Initiated in 2016 Groundbreaking Collaboration
Goals of Collaboration

Goals of Collaboration

  • Ensure Cutting-edge Academic Standards
  • Administer Independent Assessment of Academic Quality
Key Areas of Collaboration

Key Areas of Collaboration

  • Research Curriculum Criteria
  • Guidelines and Requirements of Syllabi
  • Qualifying Criteria for Research Mentors
Oversight and Evaluation

Oversight and Evaluation

  • Strict Oversight Process by Pioneer Academics
  • Independent Oversight by Oberlin College

The Journey to Your Possible Starts Here

Spring-through-Summer Term

Spring-through-Summer Term

  • Calendar



    • Group seminar sessions
    • 5 sessions; 1.5 hours per session
    • 3-5 reading hours per week*
  • Calendar


    • Program intermission
    • Formulate research topic
  • Calendar



    • Individual research mentoring
    • 5 sessions; ¾ – 1 hours per session
    • Write and edit research paper
    • 8-14 research hours per week*
Summer Term

Summer Term

  • Calendar



    • Weekly group seminar sessions
    • 5 sessions; 1.5 hours per session
    • 6-10 reading hours per week*
  • Calendar


    • Individual research mentoring
    • 5 sessions; ¾-1 hours per session
    • Formulate research topic
    • Write and edit research paper
    • The Pioneer papers are due by the end of August
    • 8-14 research hours per week*
  • Calendar


    • Some students may be permitted to extend their due dates into September

* The above range of hours spent on research is the average as reported by surveyed Pioneer Scholars. The actual hours may vary.

Globally Respected: Pioneer Statistics Tell The Story

Since its founding, 7,139 students from 86 countries and regions have been admitted to the Pioneer Research Institute. These students represent the caliber of Pioneer Scholars at the most selective universities and colleges since 2012.

Australia, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, China, Congo-Kinshasa, Costa Rica, Denmark, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, France, Greece, China-Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, New Zealand, Nigeria, North Macedonia, Norway, Pakistan, Philippines, Poland, Rwanda, Singapore, Somalia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, China-Taiwan, Tanzania, Thailand, the Netherlands, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, the United States, Uzbekistan, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Pioneer 2021 Statistics Tell The Story scaled

Pioneer Scholars at a Glance

admitted Pioneer applicants' average unweighted GPA
countries represented by Pioneer alumni this year
top US high schools attended by Pioneer scholars
average SAT score for 2023 Pioneer scholars (Pioneer is test-optional - 59.7% of scholars reported)

Pioneer Scholars Excel:

While our challenging program is never an easy “A”, our scholars typically thrive and excel.
Faculty grade according to uniform standards and are subject to our oversight system to guarantee fairness and parity.

High School Year:

2023 Program Grades Distribution:

Pioneer Research Program grade distribution for 2023 (program grade and number ofstudents who received it):

Explore and Reach the Highest: Achieve Accredited Research with Pioneer Academics

The Pioneer Research Program is the world’s only college-accredited online research program for high school students. It offers research opportunities in STEM, social sciences, and humanities disciplines with 30 research areas.

Pioneer Academics collaborates with Oberlin College to develop research standards and to administer oversight. Each student’s work and the mentoring faculty’s mentorship are subject to rigorous review. 

This means your paper will meet the highest standard for high school students conducting research. As a result, you receive college credits with no extra steps required and Pioneer certifies the quality of your work.

The Oberlin Review

Pioneer’s Powerful Network of Resources

The Pioneer alumni network is a powerful resource for intellectually curious high school students. Since 2012 Pioneer scholars have moved on to the best colleges and universities and then became engineers, computer scientists, business leaders, entrepreneurs and PHds.

Pioneer scholars benefit from the support of this network throughout their research journey with Pioneer, during college and after graduation while pursuing careers.

  • Since 2012, Pioneer scholars have moved on to pursue their studies at the best colleges and universities in the world. Many are now engineers, computer scientists, business leaders, entrepreneurs, and PhDs.
  • Pioneer scholars benefit from the support of this network throughout their research journey with Pioneer, during college, and beyond as they pursue careers.
  • Pioneer alumni support each other while they are in colleges and universities, Check Pioneer-on-campus program.

Pioneer Research Resources

Undergraduate library resources

Undergraduate Library Resources

Pioneer grants scholars extensive access to undergraduate digital libraries, including academic journals, academic databases, digital music and art libraries, and over 100,000 e-books.

Institutional Review Board

Institutional Review Board (IRB)

Pioneer enables our scholars who conduct human subject research to request an IRB waiver, allowing for its approval through Oberlin’s IRB.

Research methodology seminars

Research Methodology Seminars

Pioneer offers scholars interactive seminars on research methodologies to prepare them to conduct original research.

Cohort Advisors

Cohort Advisors

Pioneer scholars work with cohort advisors in addition to their professor mentors. Advisors provide a secondary level of mentorship, answer questions and support students to achieve their best.

The Writing Center

The Writing Center

The writing center helps students improve their writing and argumentation. Based on our alumni’s feedback, this is one of their favorite learning experiences at Pioneer. They learned a lot by revising their papers following the writing center’s comments for improvement.

Supreme Level of Mentorship:

research mentors are professors
US Institutions have been represented
professors have mentored at Pioneer for two years and more
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

Academic Experts on Why Pioneer?

  • Professor of Political ScienceRice University

    “When Pioneer actually provides a written evaluation inside of an application, they provide a lot of information so you understand the program, you understand what is behind it, you understand the accreditation that comes from behind it, the rigor, that there is an evaluation rubric.”

    Mary Hetlage
    Former Senior Associate Director of Admissions
    University of Chicago
  • Azamat Tulepbergenov

    “Thank you for erasing the socioeconomic barrier and making us part of your educational community and the community of young, bold scientists. We thank you for giving our students tools, mentorship and rigor to explore various research interests, question existing scientific findings, and generate and work on their ideas.”

    Azamat Tulepbergenov
    “Bilim-Innovation” International Community Fund
  • Luisa Duarte

    “As a counselor to students of varied backgrounds and heritages, I have no doubt that the quality of the individual mentorship that Pioneer Academics provides to all its students is one of the most unique, valuable and high-quality activities any high school student can enjoy.”

    Luisa Duarte
    Ashinaga Africa Initiative
  • Tezen

    “Former Pioneer scholar Kennedy would never have considered her dream to earn a PhD in computer science had she not participated in Pioneer, which she learned about through A Better Chance. Kennedy is now working towards her undergraduate degree at Columbia.”

    Francisco J. Tezen

    President & CEO, A Better Chance

Explore Pioneer Academics

Ongoing Research Guidance Support scaled

Ongoing Research Guidance & Support

Pioneer Journal

The Pioneer Research Journal: Landmark discoveries made by high school students

Scholarship Program scaled

Past Programs and Events

The Pioneer Academics Story scaled

The Pioneer Academics Story

Pioneer Research Highlights & Tuition

Learn About Pioneer’s Unique Program And Tuition Details

Schools Are Proud of Their Students Taking on the Pioneer Challenge

  • Cis University

    CIS University HongKong features Pioneer

  • High School Four Pioneer Scholars

    Carondelet High School in California honored students who conducted challenging research as Pioneer Research Scholars

  • Pine Crest student announcement

    Pine Crest School in Florida congratulates Amanda’s paper selected for the Pioneer Research Journal

  • York School in California features Pioneer for its uniqueness

    York School in California features Pioneer for its uniqueness

  • Screencap of Pine Crest School article

    Pine Crest School in Florida celebrates their students’ Pioneer research work meeting demanding standards

Highlights and Tuition

  • Pioneer Privilege
    Pioneer Prestige
    • Research papers validated by Pioneer Academics & accredited by Oberlin College
    • Competitiveness evidenced by Pioneer’s selectivity
  • Accredited College Credits
    Accredited & College Credits
    • Pioneer is a fully accredited research institute.
      • Students with passing grades earn four college credits,
      • ensuring the rigor of their work is recognized.
    • NO extra classes. NO extra fees. NO question.
  • Institutional Resources
    Institutional Resources
    • Undergraduate digital libraries: journals, databases and 100k+ ebooks.
    • Institutional review board (IRB) for human subject research.
    • Institutional oversight and review of academic quality by Oberlin’s multidisciplinary committee
    • Official college transcripts
Tuition Need Based Scholarships
Tuition & need-based scholarships
  • Pioneer’s tuition is 6,985 US dollars.
    • In certain cases a laboratory equipment/materials fee not exceeding 2% of tuition may be required
  • As part of its social mission, Pioneer Academics dedicates funds every year to provide need-based scholarships to enable student participation in the Pioneer Research Program.
    These funds are limited and restricted to cases in which the financial need of students’ families can be reliably verified. Students are eligible for these scholarships in countries where need can be assessed or if they are affiliated with a non-profit organization or educational institution that assesses need.