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Internship Program Application Information

Important Dates

The Internship Program's established opportunities are open to all Princeton first-year students, sophomores, and juniors with an interest in environmental topics, regardless of academic major. Princeton sophomores and juniors may apply for student-initiated internship funding.

01/11/2019 Application Deadline for PEI Established Internships
02/21/2019 Application Deadline for Student-Initiated Internships
(The PEI Student-Initiated Internship Application is available in SAFE.)
04/26/2019 Orientation
Spring Award collection
Summer Summer communications (June, July, August)
Fall Deadline to submit internship summary statement
Fall Summer of Learning Symposium
Fall Final survey

Two Internship Formats: Established vs. Student-Initiated

Support is provided for established and student-initiated summer internships in four target areas:

Environment/Sustainability: Opportunities exist on campus and in national and international destinations for undergraduates to deepen their understanding of the scientific, technical, and/or human dimensions of environmental problems. Topics include sustainability, conservation, land preservation, environmental communication, advocacy, education, and outreach.

Development: Projects focus on issues at the intersection of water, land, climate, human populations, biodiversity, and poverty in rural Africa. Examples of projects include water resource management, sanitation, hydrological studies, wildlife conservation, habitat restoration, sustainable development, community assessments, and educational outreach. Many of the projects involve field research in Africa.

Climate and Energy: Projects range from energy security and technology to climate science and policy. Examples include technical projects on fuel cells, photovoltaic solar cells, and fusion research, climate modeling studies and field-based biological, physical, and chemical oceanography projects in Bermuda.

Health: Projects center around infectious disease around the globe with particular emphasis on malaria, tuberculosis, and HIV/AIDS. Examples include studies on disease microbials, therapeutics, antibiotic recognition, drug resistant strains, and policies aimed at disease spread and prevention. Opportunities include field and laboratory assignments and positions with NGOs and policy oriented enterprises.

Established Internships

Established internships are paid summer assignments for which the projects, mentors and host institutions are pre-identified by the Program. Internship assignments are full-time and a minimum of eight (8) contiguous weeks. Students may apply to a maximum of three internships by completing the online application form.

Student-Initiated Internships

Funding is available on a competitive basis to support Princeton sophomores and juniors who are pursuing unpaid positions addressing environmental issues that they have identified on their own with a host organization. Students requesting funds should have previously held a PEI summer internship or had a comparable experience. Preference will be given to research opportunities and comparably rigorous assignments. Student-initiated internships are expected to complement the student’s academic study and area of interest.

Student-initiated internships must be environmentally focused or aligned with the Grand Challenges program’s themes of energy and climate, infectious disease, and sustainable development in resource challenged communities around the world. Student-initiated internships internships must be full-time and a minimum of eight (8) weeks to be considered for funding. Students must maintain active enrollment at Princeton from the time of their application through the conclusion of the program, which is the following fall. Student-proposed travel to destinations on the U.S. State Department Travel Warning List or internships with for-profit companies will not be funded.

Students requesting funds should complete and submit PEI's student-initiated funding application in SAFE. A completed supervisor commitment form must be received from the primary work supervisor prior to funding approval. Only one student-initiated application per student will be considered per year.

Internship Budget

For personal planning purposes, students applying for established or student-initiated positions are encouraged to develop a budget based on their destination and cost of living for the duration of their internship. It is recommended that students prepare such a budget at the time of application to the program. The budget should include estimated costs for airfare, food, lodging, other transportation, and relevant project supplies as appropriate.

Internship Travel Information

University policies governing undergraduate travel are described on the University Travel website. Students applying to the PEI Internship program are encouraged to familiarize themselves and comply with travel requirements set by the University.

Travel Database

All overnight University sponsored undergraduate travel must be registered on the University Travel Database. Registration to the Travel Database includes completion of the Terms and Conditions Form and Travel Medical Profile and Consent for Care Form.

Travel to Countries on U.S. State Department Warning List

The program will not support Princeton undergraduates traveling to countries on the U.S. State Department Travel Warning List or to countries where the U.S. has issued travel restrictions. Students who have a compelling educational reason to travel to such countries may submit a request for an individual exemption. The travel exemption waiver process is time-intensive. Affected students should allow a minimum of four weeks for the review process. Students should not assume that their requests for waiver will be granted and are encouraged to have an alternative plan in the event that travel is not approved.

Vehicle Use and Rental

Undergraduates may not rent vehicles or drive University-owned vehicles while on University-sponsored domestic trips without a valid University vehicle certification. Except for emergencies, undergraduate students may not rent or drive cars or motorbikes in foreign countries. (exception: Canada)

Health Insurance

All participating interns must carry health insurance that is valid overseas with coverage for hospitalization and physician care. Private insurance must meet or exceed the coverage provided by the Princeton University Student Health Plan.


To participate in PEI's internship program students must be currently enrolled as degree candidates at Princeton University; and be in good academic and judicial standing with the University. As such, students must agree to adhere to the University’s standards of conduct as described in Rights, Rules and Responsibilities. Students must understand and agree to observe the laws of the country in which they are residing and all applicable academic and disciplinary regulations in effect on the program or at the host institution. If students do not abide by applicable regulations, they will be subject to disciplinary actions, including premature termination of assignment. In such cases, students will return to the U.S. at their own expense.

Internship Selection Process

Established Internships

Applications for established positions are reviewed by faculty, program coordinators and hiring agents of host organizations in order to determine the most suitable candidates for each internship position. In certain instances, the host may contact the student to arrange a telephone or in person interview. Selected interns will be notified by the faculty sponsor and asked to confirm the start and end dates of the assignment.

Student-Initiated Internships

Applications for student-initiated internships are carefully evaluated based on the merit of the proposed work, its connection to the stipulated research themes, and relevance to the student’s academic course of study and expected outcomes. Students approved for funding will be notified of the amount of their award at the time of project approval. Awards are competitive and intended to offset the cost of room and board and international travel.


Formal award letters are issued including details pertaining to the funded award and the terms and conditions of Program participation. Students must accept or decline the offer within one week of award notification. It is imperative for students to complete the acceptance form as quickly as possible to secure their position and to expedite award processing.

Selections are finalized in March and early April. Students who have not been selected will be notified via email in early May. Awards are determined as a weekly stipend for the term of the student’s internship plus an allowance for international travel.

Students terminating/shortening the duration of their proposed assignment will be required to return a portion (up to 100%) of their award and will be responsible for incremental (transportation and accommodations) fees arising from change of plans. Program administrators must be notified of any changes in student assignments and/or travel itineraries.