External Research Opportunities

We also encourage you to review research experiences available to you off campus to complement your undergraduate studies.  Below, we have listed some of the potential external opportunities.  

Community of Science

Community of Science (COS) is the most comprehensive searchable database for funding opportunities. In addition to the sciences, funding is available for a variety of disciplines such as music, law, economics, costuming, history, etc. To conduct a funding search, set up a free user account.  The database is updated daily and includes over 18,000 records from public and private sources.


  • Under “Requirements”, select undergraduate student
  • Under funding type, select one of the following: Research, Training/Scholarship/Fellowship, Travel, Artistic pursuit, or Dissertation/Thesis

Woodrow Wilson Center Research Assistant

The majority of the interns at the Woodrow Wilson Center serve as research assistants or scholar interns for visiting scholars. Research assistants are talented students from universities around the country who combine part-time hours at the Center with their studies and with other activities. A research assistant typically works 12-15 hours a week per scholar. (The number of hours can be adjusted accordingly to fulfill academic requirements).

A position as a research assistant is particularly appropriate for a student planning to move on to graduate studies, or for students wishing to develop a deeper understanding of their field of study. In addition to assisting with research, interns have the opportunity to network with experts in their chosen fields.

In support of the scholars, research assistants spend much of their time searching for information, using online academic databases or other publications. They often perform other duties, as well, such as proofreading, editing, critiquing, checking references, compiling bibliographies, conducting literature reviews, summarizing research materials, locating inter-library loan materials, and helping with software or presentational tasks. There may be some administrative tasks involved like copying or filing, but such tasks will be limited. Consequently, a strong sense of responsibility and the ability to work with a minimum of supervision are strong assets. Foreign language skills are sometimes useful, but are not required.

The Center has at least 50 research interns at any one time, many of whom are replaced at the end of each academic term. Internship appointments are generally consistent with academic semesters (i.e. Fall, Spring, Summer) and last three-to-four months. The start and end dates are flexible in order to accommodate varying school schedules. No internship will exceed one year in duration. Most research assistants do an internship for academic credit and do not receive a stipend.

While at the Center, all interns are encouraged to go beyond their particular internship responsibilities and to attend our many panel discussions, conferences, symposia, and other meetings. Interns are also welcome to join staff and scholars during some social events.

Applicants must have at least a cumulative GPA of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) or equivalent from a non-U.S. institution. Furthermore, applicants must be current students, recent graduates (within one calendar year), and/or have been accepted to enter an advanced degree program (within the next year). Non-degree seeking students are ineligible. Most interns are of at least senior undergraduate level, though strongly qualified juniors will be considered. Graduate students are eligible to apply.

For more information, please see the website.

Amgen Scholars Summer Program

This national program hosted by ten different universities provides undergraduate participants with premiere research experiences with faculty mentors, while receiving a generous stipend, housing, meal plan, GRE Prep, and transportation to and from the UW campus.

As Amgen Scholars, students will have the opportunity to:

  • Take part in important university research projects, gain hands-on lab experience and contribute to the advancement of science;
  • Interact with and receive guidance from faculty mentors, including some of the nation’s top academic scientists; and
  • Attend scientific seminars, workshops and other networking events


  • Amgen Scholar applicants must be U.S. citizens or U.S. permanent residents;
  • Undergraduates enrolled in accredited four-year colleges;
  • Sophomores, juniors, or non-graduating seniors;
  • A cumulative GPA of 3.2 or higher;
  • An interest in pursuing a Ph.D. or M.D.-Ph.D.


Each host university has its own application process. Please see the Amgen Scholars website for more information and to apply.

Mohonk Preserve Summer Internships

Research internships are available for freshmen and sophomores through the Mohonk Preserve in New York. Research interns work with Preserve Research staff, world-class scientists and land managers on at the Preserve’s Daniel Smiley Research Center on bird surveys and habitat analysis; invasive species management; recreational impact assessment; and detailed data collection and management.

Land management internships are available for juniors and seniors at the Mohonk Preserve. The intern will work on a land management project and assist with visitor management; facilities projects; boundary line inspection and reporting; and basic ranger duties.

See Mohonk Preserve website for more information.

National Science Foundation: Research Experiences for Undergraduates

NSF funds a large number of research opportunities for undergraduate students through its REU Sites program. Each student is associated with a specific research project, where he/she works closely with the faculty and other researchers on topics in the sciences, engineering, ethics, education, and human resources. Students are granted stipends and, in many cases, assistance with housing and travel.  Please review the NSF website for more information.

Sigma Xi: Grants-in-Aid of Research Program

The Sigma Xi Grants-in-Aid of Research (GIAR) program has been providing undergraduate and graduate students with valuable educational experiences for more than 80 years.

The program awards grants of up to $1,000 to students from all areas of the sciences and engineering. Students use the funding to pay for travel expenses to and from a research site, or for purchase of non-standard laboratory equipment necessary to complete a specific research project.

The application deadlines are March 15 and October 15 annually.  For more information, please visit the Sigma Xi website.

Federal Agencies

Federal Agencies have many programs that support undergraduate research. Review some of the opportunities below:

Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship at the Mayo Graduate School, College of Medicine

The Mayo Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) Program, sponsored by Mayo Graduate School, allows undergraduate students from universities across the U.S. to conduct a small research project or work on part of an ongoing research investigation for 10 weeks, develop advanced technical skills, and participate in a special weekly seminar series that introduces students to rapidly progressing research areas. The Fellows will gain hands-on experience with “real-world” research projects at a major medical center. The Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship Program award is $5000 for 10 weeks. The Program works hard to bring together a wide variety of talented, motivated students from all ethnic, geographic, educational and economic groups. For more information, please visit the Mayo website.

Center for Legislative Archives

Public outreach interns work on projects that develop research and writing skills, expand students’ understanding of history, politics and government, and provide opportunities to explore a variety of career paths. Interns work with the Center’s outreach staff on a variety of projects. Intern assignments on projects include: historical media research, research on historical figures or events, research on institutional changes and developments in government, image research, policy research, and writing research memos.

Interested students at any educational level may apply for a public outreach internship. Applicants with strong writing skills and an interest in history, political science, legislative politics, public policy, education, public history or communication are welcome. Please visit the Center for Legislative Archives website for more information.

National Park Service Historic preservation Internship Training Program

The program gives undergraduates the opportunity to undertake short-term research projects with the National Park Service throughout the year.  Research opportunities are suited for those with an interest in historic preservation, anthropology, archeology, architectural history, ethnography, and museum studies.  Please visit the NPS Internship website for further information.  

National Museum of the US Navy

The NHHC offers internships to students who desire experience in areas related to their educational programs and career goals. In addition to undertaking historical research, writing and editing, the NHHC operates the Navy Department Library, The Navy Museum and maintains collections of naval archives, photographs, artifacts, and art. Internships are available in all of these areas. For more information, please visit the Navy Museum website.

The Smithsonian

The Smithsonian Institution, the world’s largest museum complex, is always looking for talented students to help them produce our world-class programs, exhibits, and research. Smithsonian interns have opportunities to make an impact, develop personally and professionally, and learn from people who are experts in their fields.  For more information on the types of research-based internships available at the Smithsonian Institution, please browse the Smithsonian internship website.  

The Smithsonian Environmental Research Center also has several internships in environmental studies. Please see the SERC website for information on each opportunity.

American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Internships

AEI internships provide students with an opportunity to work with some of America’s most renowned scholars, economists, political scientists, and foreign policy specialists conducting research on today’s prominent public policy questions.

Approximately forty-five internship opportunities are available in the fall, winter, and summer. Their internships can be categorized in the following overarching areas: economic policy, foreign and defense policy, social and political studies, public relations, The American online magazine, publications editing, marketing, government relations, and communications. Internship opportunities are available for undergraduate students; the hours and days are flexible.  For further details, please visit the AEI internships website.

Institute for Policy Studies

IPS is the nation’s oldest and largest multi-issue think tank promoting progressive thought. As such, IPS has a number of “Public Scholars” with whom you can work to undertake challenging research, writing, and advocacy in a wide range of foreign and domestic policy issues. For more information, please visit the IPS website.  

American Psychological Association Executive Branch Science Fellowship Program

The American Psychological Association’s Executive Branch Science Fellows spend one year working as special assistants in executive branch science mission agencies, most often in research funding and coordinating offices. Specific placement is determined based on the fellows’ expertise and interests in coordination with APA staff. Placement opportunities often include the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the Department of Education and the Department of Justice. Activities may involve soliciting research applications and running peer review panels, staffing intergovernmental scientific task forces and committees, producing scientific media materials, responding to congressional inquiries, working on agency budgets and programming, and preparing briefs and speeches.

APA fellows attend a two-week orientation program on congressional and executive branch operations as well as participate in a yearlong science and public policy seminar series administered by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). AAAS administers these professional development activities for the APA fellows and for fellows sponsored by more than two dozen other professional scientific societies.

APA will sponsor one fellow for a one-year appointment beginning Sept. 1, 2018. APA provides a fellowship stipend of approximately $80,000, as well as allotments for health insurance coverage, professional development, relocation expenses, and travel and lodging for the 2019 APA Annual Convention at which the fellow will present at the annual Convention Fellowship Symposium. Final selection of fellows will be made in early spring of 2018.

For more information, please visit the APA science fellowship website.

National Institute of Standards and Technology: Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF)

Students must be undergraduates at a U.S. university with a scientific major and are considering pursuing a graduate degree (M.S. or Ph.D.). Students with physics, material science, chemistry, applied mathematics, computer science, or engineering majors are always encouraged to apply. There may be research opportunities for students with other majors. Students can participate in any one of the six NIST laboratories:

  • Material Measurement Laboratory
  • Physical Measurement Laboratory
  • Engineering Laboratory
  • Information Technology Laboratory
  • Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology
  • NIST Center for Neutron Research

Please visit the SURF website for further details.

And, for more information regarding institutional opportunism at the NIST Gaithersburg, MD location, please visit the SURF Program Overview PDF.

Naval Research Enterprise Internship Program (NREIP)

The Naval Research Enterprise Intern Program (NREIP), provides an opportunity for students to participate in research at a Department of Navy (DoN) laboratory during the summer.  The goals of the NREIP are to encourage participating students to pursue science and engineering careers, to further education via mentoring by laboratory personnel and their participation in research, and to make them aware of DoN research and technology efforts.  NREIP provides competitive research internships to approximately 238 college students (174 undergrad & 64 grad students) each year. Participating students typically spend ten weeks during the summer doing research at approximately 19 DoN laboratories. To participate, a student must be enrolled at an accredited 4 year US college or university and have completed their freshman year before beginning the internship.  For additional information, please visit the NREIP website

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

The Center specializes in research and analysis oriented toward practical policy decisions and produces analytic reports that are accessible to public officials at national, state and local levels, to nonprofit organizations and to the media.  The Center seeks highly motivated undergraduate and graduate students in the following areas for full-and part-time paid internships: Media, Federal Legislation, Health Policy, Housing Policy, International Budget Partnership, Food Assistance, National Budget and Tax Policy, Outreach Campaigns, State Fiscal Project and Welfare Reform and Income Support Division.

Internships are available for the fall, spring, and summer semesters. The typical length of an internship is one semester (approximately 10-12 weeks). The positions are designed to reflect an intern’s interests in conjunction with the Center’s needs and the legislative climate. Applicants should have research, fact-gathering, writing, analytic, and computer skills.  For more information, please visit the CBPP website.

Ariel Appleton Research Fellowships: 2019

Purpose: To support non-destructive research in the natural sciences, with emphasis on conservation ecology focused on species, communities, ecosystems and ecosystem services, or human ecology in semiarid grassland, savanna, and riparian areas of the Sonoran and Chihuahuan ecoregions; research proposals within the earth sciences are also encouraged. Applications that propose non-destructive, non-invasive research at and around the Appleton-Whittell Research Ranch of the National Audubon Society (http://researchranch.audubon.org/) will be especially welcome.

Amount: $2000 per fellowship, which is considered to cover costs of the study, including room, board, transportation, and minor equipment. Payment will be made directly to successful applicants.

Duration: Study to be completed within one year.

Eligibility: Undergraduate or graduate students currently enrolled at recognized academic institutions.

Please send questions to W. R. Osterkamp.

Piedmont Environmental Council

The Piedmont Environmental Council (PEC) offers this seven week program in order to fully immerse students in PEC’s nationally recognized regional movement for land conservation and land use planning. The program consists of field trips, classroom discussions, speakers, and individual projects. All majors are encouraged to apply! PEC will offer accepted students assistance in the form of local housing, activities and small project expenses, and a small living stipend. For more information and to apply, please see the PEC Fellowship website

 U.S. Energy Information Administration Research Internship

The United States Energy Information Administration (EIA) is currently hiring paid and unpaid interns for the 2018 Summer Internship program. The program offers students on-the-job experience that could lead to a full-time career with EIA upon graduation. Relevant careers include Mathematical Statisticians, Survey Statisticians, Industry Economists, Operations Research Analysts, and Engineers. Those pursuing degrees in such fields are encouraged to apply, but all students are eligible to apply. To learn more about the internship program and the five core job series, please visit the EIA career page.

The President’s Council of Economic Advisers (CEA)

The President’s Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) in Washington, D.C. offers full-time internships during the summer. Part-time applicants who can commit to at least 30 hours a week will be considered during the spring and fall semester.

The President’s Council of Economic Advisers provides the President with objective economic analysis and advice on the development and implementation of a wide range of domestic and international economic policy issues. The Council has a Chair and two Members, who are Senate-confirmed Presidential Appointees. The staff of the Council consists of Senior and Junior Economists, Analysts, Research Assistants, and a statistical and administrative staff.

Applicants for the Intern positions should be graduate students or full-time undergraduates with some economic coursework to their credit and have good writing and computer skills.

Interns at the CEA are responsible for assisting the staff in researching a wide range of macroeconomic, microeconomic, and international issues, providing assistance in making charts and analyzing data. Administrative duties to support the work of the Council are also involved.

Applicants must be: A U.S. citizen (no dual citizenships). At least 18 years of age. A full time student, enrolled in a degree-seeking program at an accredited academic institution. If you are interested in applying, please send your resume, a transcript, and a cover letter via email to:

Archana Snyder, Director of Finance & Administration 
President’s Council of Economic Advisers
Email: CEAInternships@cea.eop.gov

For more information, please visit the CEA website.

USDA – Economics Research Service

Major duties and responsibilities:

1. Incumbent collects and compiles data from primary and/or secondary sources following detailed procedures.
2. Develops tables and statistical reports from large data sets through use of personal and mainframe computers.
3. Conducts preliminary statistical and economic analysis of limited aspects of studies or parts of studies under close supervision.
4. Receives assignments which provide a variety of training and experience and encourage professional growth and development.
5. Assignments are selected by the supervisor with a view to the employee’s development, exposure to procedures, mastery of basic techniques, and understanding of ERS and USDA objectives and policy.
6. Performs other duties relative to the assignment.

For more information and instructions on applying, please see the USDA jobs website.

Maryland Governor’s Internship Program

The Governor’s Summer Internship Program (GSIP) was created to introduce college students to the unique challenges and rewards of working within Maryland State Government.

For 10 weeks, beginning approx. May 29, GSIP interns will: work on substantive projects (see website for examples) with senior-level public administrators and policy makers, in departments or policy areas that closely correspond with each intern’s field of study or career interests. Duties often include:

  • Attending meetings, drafting correspondence, tracking legislation, and researching policy options.
  • Develop policy papers (see website for examples) that address significant issues facing Maryland today. These papers, researched in teams, are presented to the Governor and/or other senior staff members at the end of the program.
  • Attend site visits and seminars designed to introduce interns to specific rewards and challenges of public administration.
  • Gain valuable exposure (see website for examples) to the tremendous talents and resources of Maryland State Government while earning a $3,000 stipend.

2018 GSIP Application Procedures
Interested students are asked to submit:

  • A completed application with essays
  • A resume
  • An official transcript
  • Two letters of recommendation


Eligible applicants must be undergraduate students attending a two- or four-year college or university in Maryland, or Maryland residents attending an out-of-state college or university.
Applicants must be undergraduate students entering their junior or senior year during the Fall 201 semester, with a GPA of 3.00 or higher.

For more information, please see the GSIP website.

Institute for International Public Policy Student Fellowship Program

UNCFSP is actively recruiting minority students from across the country to apply for the Institute for International Public Policy. The Institute seeks to enhance U.S. national security and global competitiveness by promoting excellence, international service, and awareness among a representative cross-section of the American citizenry. IIPP also seeks to broaden access to international education and training opportunities for underrepresented minority college students.

Eligibility Requirements – We welcome applications from undergraduate sophomores who:

  • Are enrolled full-time at an accredited, four–year baccalaureate-granting institution.
  • Are U.S. Citizens or Permanent Residents (documentary support required).
  • Will remain enrolled at their undergraduate institution for two years following their acceptance to the Fellowship.
  • Have a minimum 3.2 grade point average (on a 4.0 scale).
  • Have a strong demonstrated interest in international affairs.
  • Are an underrepresented minority (African American, Hispanic/Latino American, Asian American, American Indian, Alaskan Native, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander)

For more information, please see the UNCFSP website.

American Association for the Advancement of Science

The Center is currently seeking a qualified undergraduate or graduate student to intern with the program. Activities may include attending hearings, writing articles for our newsletter, Science and Technology in Congress, preparing and maintaining issue briefs published on the Web, and assisting with other activities, such as congressional briefings. This is an excellent opportunity to learn about science and technology policy, and to gain experience working with Congress and legislative issues. This is an unpaid, temporary position that can extend for a period of up to six months. Internships are available in the Spring, Summer and Fall. Hours are negotiable, but should be at least 2-3 days per week.


  • An interest in the intersection of science, technology, and public policy.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills.
  • Strong academic background. All majors will be considered, with priority given to the natural and social sciences, and engineering.
  • Computer word processing experience is necessary.
  • Familiarity with HTML coding and database management is desirable.

To Apply:
Send a cover letter, a resume, and a writing sample of no more than 600 words to congress_center@aaas.org. For the subject line, please type “CSTC Internship.”

Hubbard Brook (NH) Research Experience for Undergraduates

The Hubbard Brook Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) is designed to appeal to students interested in both ecosystem research and, importantly, the interpretation and communication of science to society in general. Students interested in using science to address environmental issues, as well as those pursuing careers in resource management, teaching, and applied environmental science will find the program to be rewarding and challenging.

The second component, unique to our program, is a science communication project developed to serve an outside organization with real-world science communication needs.

The students will, with support of the education staff at Hubbard Brook and the research mentors, work with a regional organization such as a non-profit, local government, or public agency to create a product needed by the organization to communicate ecosystem concepts to a broad audience. The connection between the student, mentor team, and outside organization will be made before the program starts in order to give the outside group time to identify project needs. Thus the student will begin the program with a partner organization with a general science translation need. The development of the translation product will be supported by a weekly communicating science workshop examining successful science communication strategies and aiding in development of the final product. Approximately one month before the program begins students are mailed pre-program readings from their research mentors, as well as a few examples of successful science communication reports, such as the Hubbard Brook Research Foundation’s ScienceLinks™ program.

Students receive a $4,500 stipend for the 10-week program, in addition to a meal-plan allowance and free housing. Students live at Hubbard Brook Research Foundation’s Pleasant View Farm adjacent to the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest. The farmhouse at Pleasant View is set up for co-ed living with students and researchers. Meals are prepared for the REU group by the REU participants. All students in the REU program are expected to share and cooperate with cleaning, cooking, and related chores.

For more information and to apply, please see the Hubbard Brook website.

Geoscience Public Policy AGI/AIPG Summer Internship

AGI seeks outstanding geoscience students with a strong interest in federal science policy for a semester-long internship in geoscience and public policy. Interns will gain a first-hand understanding of the legislative process and the operation of executive branch agencies. They will enhance their oral and written communication skills and develop web publishing skills. Specific activities for the interns include:

  • Monitoring and analyzing geoscience-related legislation in Congress.
  • Updating legislative and policy information on AGI’s web site.
  • Attending House and Senate hearings and preparing summaries.
  • Responding to information requests from AGI’s member societies.
  • Attending meetings with policy-level staff members in Congress, federal agencies, and non-governmental organizations such as the National Academy of Sciences.

AGI is planning to accept three interns for the summer at a fixed stipend of $5,000 apiece. Stipends for the interns are funded jointly by AGI and a generous grant from the American Institute of Professional Geologists (AIPG) Foundation. The internship lasts twelve weeks, and the starting date will be based on the schedule of the successful candidate.

Applications must include a cover letter stating your science and policy interests and what you feel you can contribute to the geoscience and policy program, a resume, and the names, and contact information for three references.

  • Additionally, each applicant must send AGI an official copy of their college transcripts. Transcripts should be sent to: American Geological Institute, Government Affairs Program, 4220 King Street, Alexandria VA 22302-1502.
  • Applicants must be U.S. citizens and enrolled in, or recently completed, a geoscience bachelor or masters degree program. Students enrolled in a doctoral or law degree program cannot be considered for the internship.

For more information and the online application link, see the AGI website.

Marine Biological Laboratory Research Experience for Undergraduates

The Marine Biological Laboratory is seeking applicants for the Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program sponsored by the National Science Foundation. The successful applicant will work as part of a large-scale, multi-disciplinary project examining the effects of excess nutrients on salt marshes in the Plum Island Estuary, MA.

REU positions are available to U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents only who are currently enrolled as undergraduates at U.S. colleges or universities (no graduating seniors).

If you are interested in applying for this position, you can apply for the position on the employment site at: https://mbl.simplehire.com/postings/3870.