Create Your Own Ph.D. Internship.
Ph.D. Student Summer Internship Fellowships (SIFs)

2025 Application deadline: January/February 2025

To expand opportunities for Ph.D. students to augment their core research and training by acquiring additional skills, knowledge or experiences, the Duke Career Center, together with The Graduate School and Office of the Provost, will offer support for student-designed summer internships and invites proposals from Ph.D. students who wish to pursue this opportunity. The award will include a summer stipend, associated fringe, and the summer health fee. Tuition will be provided by the school.

We will consider proposals from current Ph.D. students without full summer funding for internships with a community organization, government agency, NGO, cultural institution or Duke organization. (Internships with for-profit institutions are not currently eligible for support through this program.) Please note that internal (Duke) organizations must commit to support 50% of fellowship costs (estimated at $4,825 for a 12-week fellowship stipend in summer 2024).

Students are responsible for identifying their own internship hosts.

Examples of past hosts for Ph.D. interns include:

  • American Historical Association
  • Society of Biblical Literature
  • Modern Language Association
  • Durham Technical Community College
  • RTI International
  • Internal Duke organizations
    • University Press
    • Duke Forest
    • Bass Connections
    • Office of Faculty Advancement
    • Learning Innovation
    • Libraries
    • Center for Documentary Studies
    • Franklin Humanities Institute
    • Kenan Institute of Ethics
    • Social Science Research Institute
    • Triangle Center for Evolutionary Medicine

In addition to these student-designed offerings, the Duke Office of Durham and Community Affairs (DCA) will announce new summer fellowships for Ph.D. students who are interested in community-engaged internships with local nonprofit organizations. Interested students should contact Abdullah Antepli, Associate Vice President & Provost with DCA, at to learn more.

Successful applications will demonstrate how the activities associated with the proposed internship align with the student’s field of study, research interests and/ or professional goals. Students can find resources to support them in designing their internship. All interns will be required to enroll in the experiential workshop GS950 during Duke Summer Session I or II.

Eligibility and Parameters

  • All current Ph.D. students who do not have full summer funding may propose internships. PhD students in any year of study are eligible if they are enrolled in the semester before and after the internship. Students graduating either before or during the following Summer term are not eligible.
  • SIF recipients may receive other Duke summer funding. Students with external funding should consult with their graduate programs on their eligibility for SIF funding.
  • Internships should involve up to three months of engagement. Internships must take place between specific dates -mid May and mid August with no more than 19.9 hours/week of engagement.
  • In-person, remote and hybrid internships of 6, 8, or 12 weeks will be considered. Students must reside in North Carolina or an approved U.S. jurisdiction available for Duke employment. In addition, internship hosts must be based either in North Carolina or an approved U.S. jurisdiction available for Duke employment.
  • International Ph.D. student applicants who reside in North Carolina or an approved U.S. jurisdiction detailed below should consult as soon as possible with Duke Visa Services for assistance with filing applications for Curricular Practical Training and any other visa-related requirements.
  • All recipients will be required to take the experiential workshop, GS950, during Duke Summer Session I or II.

Selection Criteria and Review Process

Proposals should describe the nature of internship activities and explain how the experience will contribute to the student’s intellectual trajectory and professional goals. Successful past applications have made a compelling case for how the proposed experience would amplify the student’s intellectual agenda beyond the standard offerings within their program and opportunities otherwise available at Duke. The review process will be overseen by the Office of the Provost, Duke Career Center, and The Graduate School.

Application Requirements (may be adjusted before 2025 application opens)

  • Complete Duke Experiences General Questionnaire
  • Complete the Summer Internship Funding Questionnaire
  • Submit:
    • An updated CV (maximum two pages)
    • A brief narrative (maximum three pages) that articulates the proposed activities for the internship, how the experience will contribute to amplifying research training, and how it fits with overall academic, research, and professional plans, and that also explains why the internship lends itself to a remote/virtual arrangement (if relevant)
    • A letter from the prospective host that offers details about the anticipated project or projects, identifies the person within the organization to whom the Ph.D. student would report, describes the nature of engagement with organizational staff members, specifies how the organization envisages a remote/virtual work experience (if relevant)
      • For external hosts: confirm whether the host can provide up to 50% match of the proposed stipend amount
      • For internal hosts: confirm the host can provide a 50% match of the proposed stipend amount
    • A brief plan (maximum one page) for any complementary training/research activities that a Ph.D. student will undertake during engagement with the host (such as other specific research activities or dissertation writing)
    • For those applying for less than a three-month internship, a brief plan (maximum one page) for how the internship will intersect with other activities (i.e., research or teaching)
    • A letter of support from your primary faculty advisor indicating how the proposed activities will enhance your professional development 
    • For international students: a description (maximum one page) of how the proposed activities align with visa requirements
    • A listing of all already awarded summer funding, along with concurrent proposals for other summer funding, If applicants receive news about other funding proposals after the submission deadline, they should provide updated information to Meg Atchison.


For any questions related to the online application and/or other logistical questions, please contact Meg Atchison at

Students with questions about planning around existing summer funding can contact

For questions about whether to pursue a SIF application, or to talk through specific ideas for a proposal, such as identifying a potential summer internship host and developing a proposed plan of summer internship activities, the following individuals can provide guidance:

  • Melissa Bostrom, Assistant Dean, Graduate Student Professional Development, Duke Graduate School, (any discipline)
  • Rachel Coleman, Director of Career Development and Education, Duke Career Center, (all areas of knowledge)

Duration and Funding (2024)

Internship DurationEst. Stipend*
6 weeks$4,825
8 weeks$6,433
12 weeks$9,650

*Ph.D. student applicants must be resident this summer in North Carolina or an approved U.S. jurisdiction available for Duke employment.

The key is to articulate how the proposed experience will enhance your training in a substantial way and why the timing makes sense for where you are in your program.

As with so many questions that confront graduate students, it’s a good idea to get input from multiple sources, though the mentors and sounding boards who make sense for individuals will vary. Your professors, your program’s DGS, key staff members with expertise about professional development, and peers can all be helpful; and you will need to discuss any proposal with your faculty advisor, since that individual will need to write a letter of endorsement on your behalf.

Several Duke Ph.D. students have had internships. The Tips for Duke Ph.D. Students: Creating Your Own Internship page includes general tips and advice. In addition, there are several individuals who can help you think through this process, including:

  • Melissa Bostrom, Assistant Dean, Graduate Student Professional Development, Duke Graduate School, (any discipline)
  • Rachel Coleman, Director of Career Development and Education, Duke Career Center, (all areas of knowledge)
  • Maria Wisdom, Director of Interdisciplinary Mentoring and Coaching Programs, Office of Interdisciplinary Studies, (humanities and interpretive social sciences)

We’re sorry – grants to support internships are only available for Ph.D. students.

The appropriate amount of time for an internship can vary, depending on the nature of the research project(s) that you would be undertaking with your host organization and constraints related to your course of study and obligations within your program. This year, we will accept proposals for internships that have a duration of three months, two months or six weeks, to offer flexibility as some students develop complementary activities for part of the summer.

As you consider different hosts for a potential internship, the most important consideration in putting together a SIF application is how that experience will enhance your intellectual development. Ideally, you want to find a host that will offer you the opportunity to engage with research projects that both provide value to the organization and will be relevant for your course of study. It’s also crucial that the host provides you with a clear supervisor and a plan for engagement with staff, so that you have a window on organizational culture and decision-making.

  • Applicants for a Summer Internship Fellowships (SIFs) should give careful thought to tax implications and other logistical challenges. Employment taxation follows the location of the individual taxed. Thus, if you receive SIF funding for an internship and remain a resident in North Carolina through the summer, you will be subject to North Carolina taxation regardless of the location of your internship host. By contrast, if you are currently residing outside North Carolina but still in the United States, you will be subject to taxation in that jurisdiction.
  • Keep in mind that Duke can only fund internships for Ph.D. students who, during the term of the internship, reside in North Carolina or in a U.S. jurisdiction available for Duke employment.
  • Applicants who currently reside outside of North Carolina but within the United States should note that even within these jurisdictions, there may be tax implications for income earned out of state, including separate withholding forms. Applicants should also consult their tax advisor with any questions.

International students need to remain in compliance with the terms of their student visas. Duke Visa Services can assist those students with fulfilling any additional requirements related to Curricular Practical Training provisions or other aspects of adhering to visa-related obligations and limitations.