Summer Research Opportunities for Carleton Students

Jump to Opportunities Elsewhere for more information about US and international programs.

Opportunities at Carleton

At Carleton, hiring for approximately 60 summer student-faculty research positions in the sciences is carried out at the level of the department or individual faculty member. Please read below about hiring procedures and time lines for each department. You need to start thinking about all this in January, as soon as you return winter term. The college-wide research stipend for students who work ten weeks full time in summer 2012 is $4,200.

Charlie Weiss ('05) performs an air-sensitive filtration under the watchful eye of chemistry Professor Gretchen Hofmeister. Details

Department of Biology

Summer Research in Biology

A pamphlet designed to help you find a program, apply and make the most of your research experience (Acrobat (PDF) PRIVATE FILE 6.1MB Jan16 09).

Students interested in conducting research at Carleton are encouraged to contact individual faculty members (the faculty web pages discuss the research projects in more detail). Research in the department occurs throughout the year, and work started during the academic year is often continued in the summer months.

Department of Chemistry

Summer Research in the Chemistry Department

Every summer the faculty in the Chemistry Department offer research opportunities for undergraduate colleagues. The department has an application process that begins after a research-recruiting seminar and concludes at the end of winter term. All students are invited and urged to attend the January seminar to learn about the research opportunities available as well as the process for applying to participate in the Chemistry summer research program. If you are interested in a Chemistry summer position at Carleton, please plan to talk to faculty with projects of interest- most faculty require a brief 1-on-1 meeting with students prior to the application deadline. The deadline for the student application is late February, invitations to students to join specific research groups will be issued the first week of March and final decisions from students are expected by end of winter term.

Approximately 10-13 positions will be available so we encourage students interested in doing summer research in chemistry to apply to summer research positions at other universities or research facilities. Students should to consult with a faculty member to obtain help in identifying programs and navigating the application process as soon as possible.

More information regarding the undergraduate research opportunities in the Chemistry Department can be found at this Chemistry research web page.

If you have more questions, please contact the Chemistry Department Chair.

Department of Computer Science

If you have questions, please contact the Computer Science Department Chair.

Department of Geology

Geology Department web pageThe Geology Department has a meeting each year in November (OCS New Zealand years) or January aimed at juniors about "Summer Opportunities." The range of opportunities includes field camps, REU programs, Keck consortium research programs, working-with-alum possibilities, and working with faculty members. The faculty try to be clear at the time of this meeting about which projects will be undertaken in the upcoming summer and how students might be involved. It's a good idea for students interested in summer work in Geology to come to this meeting.

As alums or others contact the Geology Department about summer opportunities, geology students are emailed the information, and these opportunities are posted on our website.

Students can also apply to the Geology Department for money to cover field and lab expenses for research projects, including comps. Some of these research projects dovetail nicely with faculty research agendas and others don't.

For positions working with Carleton faculty, the Geology Department encourages students to contact individual faculty if you have interest. To some extent, faculty also reach out to students. Most if not all of our rising seniors do some kind of geological research in the summer; in most cases this research is independent of Carleton faculty.

If you have questions, contact any Geology faculty member or the Geology Department Chair. For more information, check out the Geology Department website.

Department of Psychology

Psychology faculty who apply for funds to support undergraduates in summer research individually solicit applicants when they have funds available. Faculty who will be hiring during the summer list there positions and application procedures on the Psychology Department web page for student job listings.

For more information about the Department faculty and their interests, please check out the Psychology Department web page.

Department of Physics & Astronomy

Summer Research in Physics & Astronomy

There are two ways in which students can do research in the Department of Physics and Astronomy. The first way involves taking a special project course with a faculty member during the academic year. This two or three credit course is a "dependent" study that involves the student in some research project in which the faculty member is interested. Many times, such experiences will lead directly to a summer internship. Information on Special Projects available this year can be found here.

Students can apply for a summer position in two ways:

  1. Apply to be a Summer Science Fellow (deadline: January 11).
  2. Apply through our general application process (deadline: February 15).
Information on the general application procedure and a description of available positions for summer 2013 can be found here.

The department also routinely posts information on summer research positions in physics elsewhere. Please contact Cindy Blaha (, x 4429) if you have questions.

Research Opportunities Elsewhere

Most departments maintain their own listings of summer research programs elsewhere that are appropriate for specific disciplines. Please check department web pages and weekly newsletters! In addition, below are several sites of general interest.
  • National Science Foundation REU (Research Experience for Undergraduates) sites. Applicants must be US citizens or permanents residents of the US or its possessions.
  • Summer Research at Big Ten Institutions through the SROP program. Students of color, first-generation college students, and underrepresented minorities are especially encouraged to apply. Apply early to enhance chances of getting a position.
  • Summer Research at Howard Hughes Medical Institute's new Janelia Farm facility. This program gives undergraduates an opportunity to spend 10 weeks during the summer doing research as an intern in the lab of a mentor at Janelia Farm. HHMI is looking for highly talented students with interest and background in science, engineering, and math to contribute in small research groups that are exploring fundamental biomedical questions in a highly collaborative, interdisciplinary culture. Janelia Farm is located in Ashburn, Virginia. The $500 million campus opened in October 2006.
  • Summer Research at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (WHOI). WHOI has summer fellowships for students, including awards for students from groups underrepresented in science fields. Students do research for 10-12 weeks and get paid $432/week plus a travel and housing allowance. You must have completed your junior or senior year by June to be eligible for a Student Research Fellowship (international students welcome). Minority applicants can apply after completing one year of college by June and must be US citizens or permanent residents. Preference is given to students studying in any of the fields of science or engineering including but not limited to the fields of biology, chemistry, engineering, geology, geophysics, mathematics, meteorology, physics, oceanography, and marine policy. Students must have at least a tentative interest in the ocean sciences, oceanographic engineering, mathematics, or marine policy.
  • The NASA Motivating Undergraduates in Science and Technology (MUST) Program. For students who are US citizens who are rising first-year, sophomores and juniors pursuing a degree in science or math and an overall GPA of at least 3.0. The program is open to all students and is particularly focused on engaging students from underserved and underrepresented groups to enter STEM fields (Women, African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans and persons with disabilities). The MUST Program will support approximately 100 undergraduate students with a one-year competitive scholarship of up to one-half of tuition, not to exceed $10,000. Program participants will also receive a $5,000 stipend to participate in a summer research experience at a NASA center. Students will benefit year-round from tutoring, lecture series and mentoring from STEM faculty and peers. The scholarships and internships will be renewable for up to three years, provided the students continue to meet the academic requirements.
  • The Amgen Foundation has a wonderful program that provides hundreds of undergraduates the chance to do summer research at one of ten leading research universities. To apply you must be a US citizen or permanent resident, a college sophomore or junior, have a GPA of 3.2 or higher, and be interested in a Ph.D. or M.D./Ph.D. in science. Application processes vary with campus, but most are due in early-med February. For more information, please check out the Amgen web site.
  • U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) HS-STEM Summer Internship Program. This program provides 10-week summer internships at federal research facilities for undergraduate students majoring in homeland security related science, technology, engineering and mathematics (HS-STEM) disciplines. You must be a full-time Carleton student, have a cumulative GPA of 3.30 or higher, be a US citizen, and have junior or senior class status as of fall. Students receive a $500/week stipend and travel reimbursement.