Internship Opportunities in the Geosciences

This page gives a sampling of off-campus research opportunities for undergraduates.  Most are paid positions, some offer free housing.  Click on the links at the end of each listing for detailed program description, application, and deadlines.

Internships may also be available at state geological surveys, private companies, and other sources.  The best way to find these opportunities is to contact local office and alumni.

Want some insider's tips on getting a dream internship?  Click here.

Carnegie Institution of Washington
The Geophysical Laboratory and the Department of Terrestrial Magnetism at the Carnegie Institution of Washington offer undergraduate internship opportunities in the geosciences (experimental petrology, mineralogy, mineral physics, seismology), planetary sciences and astronomy, and related chemical sciences (geochemistry, geochronology, cosmochemistry).

Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR)
Undergraduate Summer Research Fellowships in Science
The Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR) awards summer fellowships to the students of faculty members interested in mentoring an undergraduate student at primarily undergraduate institutions.  CUR fellowships provide a unique opportunity for undergraduate students and their faculty mentors to engage in approximately ten weeks of full-time research in the laboratory setting at their home institution. Award opportunities may be restricted to certain academic areas, depending on available funding.  [Description from program website.]

Columbia University's Biosphere 2 Center in Arizona
This is a semester program in the Sonoran Desert at the base of the Santa Catalina Mountains in Arizona.  Biosphere 2 in Oracle, Arizona offers two semester programs, one in Earth Systems Science and Policy, called the Earth Semester.
tel: 800-992-4603 (option 1)

Department of Energy
The DOE offers semester and summer science research opportunities at various national labs. An education and energy policy program is offered in Washington, D.C.

GeoCorps America
The Geological Society of America provides internship opportunities each summer in National Parks throughout the U.S. and in the US Forest Service Pacific Southwest Region. Students must be GSA members at the time of application. See ML Crawford for student membership in GSA!  Applications for the 2002 positions will be due around February 1.  See:

Great Lakes Summer Student Fellowships
Three-month research positions in the Lake Michigan area.

Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology (IRIS)
Research projects in seismology with IRIS mentors.  February 15 deadline for 2002.

Jet Propulsion Laboratory at Cal Tech
Cal Tech's program matches students with research mentors; a list of available mentors is provided online.

Kansas Geological Survey, Lawrence, Kansas
Applied Geohydrology Summer Research Assistantships
These are 12-week summer positions open to students at any university.  Program availability varies each year.
For further information contact Jim Butler at

Keck Geology Consortium
Field program for students of participating colleges of the consortuim.

Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (LDEO) of Columbia University
Research projects are mostly in the earth and environmental sciences, some are in biology, engineering, and computer science.  The program is complemented by a series of lectures and seminars that expose students to the broad range of research done at the LDEO; the 2001 program also featured a career panel and science ethics discussion. LDEO is located on the Lamont estate in Palisades, NY along the scenic Hudson River.  Housing in previous years was provided near Columbia U. in NYC.

Lunar and Planetary Institute
Opportunities in lunar and planetary research with scientists at LPI and the NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC).  The purpose of this program is to expose undergraduate students to these fields in order to help them examine their career goals and to encourage their development as planetary scientists.

Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI)
During summer 2002 a 12-week paid internship (June 10 - August 30) for undergraduates and graduate students is offered at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) in Moss Landing, California.  MBARI is a world-class research facility studying topics ranging from ocean carbon cycling, to mid-ocean ridge geology to deep-sea biology. Interns are paid a stipend of $500 per week for 12 weeks. Support for travel to California may also be provided.  Applications for 2002 are due in late February.  Eight internships will be awarded.  This would be an excellent way for geology, environmental studies or biology majors to spend the summer.

National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU)
Opportunities in many disciplines such as atmospheric, earth, and ocean sciences.  Deadline varies by program.

Scripps Institute of Oceanography
Several programs concerning earth and marine science, particularly the Scripps Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) Program. Volunteer opportunities are also available at some of Scripps' branches.

United States Geological Survey
These are employment opportunities for students in hydrology, computer science, cartography, geology, etc.

University of Delaware at Lewes
Summer Internships in the Marine Sciences have been offered at the University of Delaware's coastal campus in Lewes, Delaware in previous years.

University of Hawaii School of Ocean & Earth Science and Technology (SOEST)
An undergraduate summer internship on oceanography, geology and geophysics, and geochemistry research has been offered in previous years. There's also the Ocean Drilling Summer Research Program for Undergraduates (ODSRPU). Contact the SOEST for more info.

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute
Summer Student Fellowships for undergraduate students who show interest in the ocean sciences, oceanographic engineering, mathematics, or marine policy.  Applicants should have completed their junior or senior year at colleges in any of the fields of science or engineering.  Fellowships are awarded to pursue an independent research project, chosen by the fellow, under the guidance of a member of the Research Staff.

NASA Undergraduate Research Opportunity
A ten-week summer research experience or a 15-week fall session experience at one of the NASA Centers.

Student Conservation Association (SCA)
Student Conservation Association Internships offer students expense-paid opportunities to travel and work at some of the country's most spectacular sites including Mt. Rainer and Haleakala National Parks, as well as Valley Forge National Park, and Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge. For students they are unique opportunities in wild and wonderful places, learning and experiencing their chosen career field firsthand with talented professionals.

Insider tips on getting a dream internship:
Persistence and enthusiasm are the key.  Many programs ask for sending in the application materials to the program organizer and wait for a response.  Don't do just that!  By all means, especially if you are interested in working on a particular project, contact the advisor/professor who will be supervising the research.  Tell him/her of your interest and background, and if you happen to be in the area, invite yourself for a visit.  Although some internships want you to be of a particular class standing or to have completed certain courses, if you follow the insider's tips, you may even get a position that you may not otherwise qualify for.  Go for it!

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Page created by M. Tsang in January 2002.