Student Engagement

The Harvard Global Health Institute equips Harvard undergraduates to tackle diverse global health challenges through critical thinking and active engagement. Collaborating with university departments and global partners, HGHI provides unique learning opportunities, fostering a global community through coursework, research, internships, and workshops, preparing the next generation of global health practitioners and leaders.

HGHI Summer Research and Internship Programs

The Harvard Global Health Institute (HGHI) offers returning Harvard undergraduates in good standing the opportunity to participate in paid summer research and internship placements on the Harvard campus as well as across the world. These opportunities connect classroom knowledge and skills to the complex issues in the field. They range from placements in laboratories and research groups, to field work with hospitals and community health clinics, to office-based internships with NGOs and international organizations.

There are four different types of opportunities: SURGH, ISURGH, Internships, and Independent Funding. You can learn more about each program below.

Positions are all 10 weeks long and will run from approximately June 3rd – August 9th, 2024. You must be a returning Harvard undergraduate in order to apply. Application for the 2024 Summer Internship Program is now closed. Information on the application for summer 2025 will be announced in February 2025.

Student Advising
Advising appointments are available for Harvard undergraduates. You can talk to one of our advisors during our Open Office Hours on Mondays at 3:00 – 4:30 PM and Fridays at 12:00 – 1:00 PM. Please click here to book a time.

For other questions, please email HGHI_StudentEngagement@harvard.edu.


Summer Opportunities

Summer Internship Opportunities

Internships offer students the opportunity to work with nonprofits, NGOs, and other organizations on the cutting edge of global health and health policy. Some internships are field-based, while others are office-based. Sites can also be domestic or international.
Students receive a stipend to cover travel expenses to and from their site, living expenses, and local transportation. All returning Harvard College undergraduates are eligible to apply for internships.

Summer Undergraduate Research in Global Health

Summer Undergraduate Research in Global Health (SURGH) research positions offer students the opportunity to research critical issues in global health under the direction of a Harvard faculty or affiliate mentor while living on-campus. Residential programming and financial support are meant to enable SURGH fellows to form a close-knit community with each other and with the Undergraduate Research Village, including PRISE, BLISS, PRIMO, and SHARP students. Therefore, fellows are expected to participate and contribute to the community of scholars throughout the duration of the program. House tutors and deans are asked for input on candidates during the selection process. The working dates for SURGH are usually the first week in June through the second week in August.

More Information

SURGH consists of the following components

  • Research experience: The intent of the program is to provide a ten-week formative and substantive full-time research experience on a global health research topic.
  • Residential life: SURGH fellows will live with the Undergraduate Research Village in one of the Harvard College River Houses for the duration of the program. Weekday evening meal service, as well as a weekday breakfast cart, will be available. A modest stipend will be available to cover other expenses, including food for weekend meals and weekday lunches.
  • Mandatory programming: Every Wednesday from 5:30-7:30 throughout the summer, SURGH members will participate in a small group seminar to learn about and discuss global health topics with experts in the field. The goals of the seminars are to:
    • Expose interns to a broad number of academic topics in global and domestic health
    • Introduce interns potential career paths in global and domestic health
    • Deepen interns’ experiences by allowing them to share research and learn from each other
  • Deliverables: At the end of the program, students present their research findings at a poster session.
  • Recreational and social programs: SURGH fellows are eligible to register for free use of Harvard athletic facilities (including the Malkin Athletic Center, Hemenway Gymnasium, and Blodgett Pool). A calendar of activities will include a range of opportunities to socialize and take advantage of Boston’s cultural and recreational summer offerings, including a variety of excursions, Red Sox games, and Fellow-initiated community events sponsored by URAF for the College-affiliated research programs.
  • Outside activities: Individuals taking summer school courses or engaging in regular paid work or public service commitments during the summer are not eligible to participate.

SURGH offers a variety of benefits:

  • Free lodging in designated Harvard housing
  • A partial boarding (dining) plan
  • A stipend to cover additional meals and transportation for the 10-week program

All returning undergraduate students are welcome to apply, though preference will be given to individuals who have not yet participated in a Research Village program. Please see the Application Instructions for further details.

International Summer Undergraduate Research in Global Health

International Summer Undergraduate Research in Global Health (I-SURGH) research positions offer students the opportunity to conduct cutting-edge global health research in an international setting. Throughout the summer, students work with a Harvard faculty member or affiliate on their research projects and have a local mentor who supervises their daily work.

Students in I-SURGH receive a stipend to cover travel costs to and from their site, living expenses, and local transportation. While all returning Harvard College undergraduates are eligible to apply, preference is given to sophomores and juniors.

Funding for Independent Projects and Internships

HGHI may have limited funding available for independent, student-arranged research projects and internships. This funding could be applied towards a faculty-mentored project in health research or towards an internship at a health-focused organization. Proposals can be made for domestic or international work, and funding for travel and living expenses would be assessed accordingly. An example of an independent project would be examining the impact of mobile clinics and electronic health records on the quality of maternal health care in Tanzania. An examples of a student-arranged internship would be working with a health equity nonprofit.

Please see the Application Instructions for further details. Students who have applied, but have not yet been accepted, to an outside organization should still apply for funding from HGHI before the application deadline. Funding can be awarded contingent upon acceptance.


Summer Research & Internship Program Overview

Harvard Global Health Institute’s (HGHI’s) summer internships are built upon a cooperative three-party relationship between HGHI, the internship’s host organization, and the student intern. It is HGHI’s aim to provide Harvard undergraduate students with the opportunity to have fully-funded, meaningful, and substantive summer experiences that will further their education and prepare them for a career in global health. Similarly, we hope that organizations will also benefit by receiving a qualified intern who will be a valuable addition to their team over the summer.

Harvard undergraduates apply directly to HGHI for each position they are interested in and may apply for up to three internships. Please see the “Application Instructions” tab for additional details on how to apply. A committee at HGHI then selects the most competitive applicants for each internship, most of whom interview with the host organization. Once the intern is chosen, HGHI provides the student with a stipend, and the student joins the host organization as an intern for 10 weeks over the summer.

How HGHI-Arranged Internships Work

Eligibility: All returning Harvard College undergraduates in good academic standing are eligible to apply for the opportunities regardless of class year unless it specifically states a different age requirement in the internship description. Graduating seniors are not eligible for internships. There are no limits to the number of times a student can receive HGHI funding, though interns cannot receive funding for the same internship twice. Students who have already been an IOP Directors’ Intern are not eligible for internships that are co-funded with the IOP.

Duration: Internships are full-time commitments for 10 weeks over the summer unless the site description specifies that the internship is longer. If an intern voluntarily elects to stay longer than 10 weeks, they are welcome to do so, but the funding amount will stay the same.

Funding: Internships are all funded. When travel is possible, stipends are designed to cover travel expenses to and from the internship location, food, lodging, and other necessities for the duration of the internship. The funding amount is set by Harvard each year based on the cost of living in that location, and it is not negotiable. Stipends are awarded in the spring before the internship begins, and recipients are expected to budget carefully and choose economical travel and housing options. Students who wish to travel independently on weekends may do so, but the stipend from HGHI is not designed to cover this, and students are responsible for any additional expenses they incur during the summer. If for any reason students need to withdraw or are dismissed from the program before completing the minimum ten weeks of employment, they must return a prorated amount of the stipend and are responsible for the travel or other expenses incurred as a result. Virtual internships are funded at a flat rate.

To promote equitable distribution of summer funding across the undergraduate community, students are eligible to accept funding from only one Harvard source of funding each summer. Therefore, students who receive HGHI funding may not accept any additional funding from Harvard during the same summer. Similarly, students who accept HGHI summer funding are not eligible to receive a waiver to enroll in a Harvard Summer School course or vice versa. Students must disclose if they are receiving Harvard funding at any point throughout the summer, and HGHI reserves the right to modify awards accordingly. Failure to promptly report other Harvard-funded summer activities may be reported to the Administrative Board. More details on the Summer Funding Policy are available here. Please reach out to emily_maguire@harvard.edu with any questions or to discuss requesting an exception.

Awards granted through HGHI are to be used to support student expenses so that students can have an educational experience, and funding can cover costs including housing, local transportation in program location (pending local public health guidelines), food, and incidentals. Funding students receive from Harvard sources cannot be used to pay others to provide services or be given to an organization; for example, hiring third-party researchers or clinicians, or making charitable donations.

HGHI summer experiences are paid by a stipend and are open to all students regardless of immigration status.

Timeline
November-JanuaryPositions are posted
Early FebruaryApplication deadline
Late FebruaryAll applicants will be notified if they are a finalist or not
February-MarchFinalists interview with hosts
March-AprilFinalists notified about offers or denials on a rolling basis
April-MayPre-departure orientations and requirements are due
June – AugustStudents are at internships for 10 weeks
Information for Applicants

Application Limits: Students may apply to up to three internships. If students are interested in submitting additional applications for HGHI internships, they may be able to do so with permission.

Application Process: Students submit a complete application to HGHI for each internship through CARAT. Students may not initiate contact with the host organization directly during the application process unless the site description specifically states that this is allowed. Doing so could jeopardize students’ applications.

Internship Descriptions: Internship descriptions are designed to provide a high-level overview for what the internship will likely entail, but specific projects and day-to-day activities often are not determined until closer to the summer. Organizations hosting internships try to predict to the best of their ability what projects they will be working on, but these may change between the time students apply in the winter and the time that the internship starts in the summer. It is important that applicants keep this in mind while reading internship descriptions and are prepared to be flexible.

Selection of Finalists: Each application is read by a committee at HGHI that makes the first round of decisions and narrows the pool of applications to the top candidates. Generally, there are about five finalists for each internship, and all applicants are notified in mid-February if they are a finalist or not.

Interviews: Host organizations review applications of finalists and conduct interviews in late February through early March. There is a short turn-around time for interviews, so if you are selected as a finalist, it’s important that you respond to interview requests quickly. Each organization has their own internal selection process, which means the timeline for interviews may vary, and some finalists may not be contacted for an interview.

Offers: Hosts select their top choice(s) of students by mid-March, and HGHI makes offers as decisions are made. Offers are made on a rolling basis, and students will have approximately three days to accept or decline the position. We understand this seems like a short time period to decide, especially if you are waiting to hear about other offers. As much as we would like to be able to give everyone more time, we cannot allow individuals to hold an offer for an extended period, as this is not fair to the other students who are also waiting to hear about the same position. All finalists will be notified about the status of their applications by late April.

Information for Selected Interns

Duration: Internships are full-time commitments for 10 weeks over the summer. During the summer of 2023, program dates will be approximately June 5th to Aug 11th, though these may be adjusted if needed

Specifying Projects: Internship supervisors are expected to define a scope of work and create a substantial project for interns to work on, which should be determined before the intern arrives or during the first week on-site. It is important that interns communicate with their supervisors before the summer begins to help them select a project that matches their skills and interests. It’s also important to note that most interns join ongoing projects. Often 10 weeks is not enough time for interns to do completely independent projects.

Supervision: All interns will have a supervisor who will monitor them during the 10 week internship and meet with them at least weekly throughout the summer. Some internships are very structured while other organizations give interns a lot of autonomy. Please refer to the internship description for more information on the level of supervision for each internship.

Stipends: When travel is possible, stipends are designed to cover travel expenses to and from the internship location, food, lodging, and other necessities for the duration of the internship. This stipend is not designed to cover elective and/or weekend travel. The funding amount is set by Harvard each year based on the cost of living in that location, and it is not negotiable.

Housing: Housing is not provided for any internships except for students in the SURGH program, when this program is able to run in-person. Staff at HGHI and at host organizations may be able to provide interns with advice and recommendations for housing, but ultimately students are responsible for finding their own housing.

Travel Arrangements: When travel is possible, students are responsible for making their own arrangements for any necessary travel, daily transportation, passports, visas, vaccinations, etc.

International Travel: When travel is possible, students doing international internships are required to:

  • Sign a Risk and Release Form
  • Complete Harvard’s online pre-departure orientation.
  • Register and maintain their trip details with Harvard’s Global Support Services, which provides assistance in the event of an emergency.
  • Obtain Health Clearance by a physician.
  • Obtain or show proof of international health insurance coverage.

Students wishing to go to regions on the “Elevated Risk” list are required to complete additional requirements, including completing a Travel Safety Questionnaire and attending an Elevated-Risk orientation. Travel is prohibited to regions that Harvard Global Support Services has indicated are “High Risk.”

Orientations and Debriefs: All interns are required to attend HGHI’s pre-departure orientation in the spring and a debriefing session in the fall, unless excused. If requested, students are also required to meet one-on-one with HGHI staff.

Conduct: HGHI Fellows are required to conduct themselves in a manner compatible with the local laws and regulations at their internship location and with Harvard’s policies for student conduct set forth in the Handbook for Students. Students agree to refrain from conduct that is improper, offensive, or otherwise inappropriate, or that is potentially detrimental to their own or others’ health or safety.

Evaluations: Interns and host organizations are asked for feedback during and after the summer.


Application Instructions

Research & Internships: Application Instructions

How to Apply:

  1. Visit the Centralized Application for Research and Travel (CARAT) site and find the Harvard Global Health Institute (Research & Internships) funding source.
  2. Complete all the required fields in CARAT.
  3. Upload the following four documents in PDF format:
    • A. Personal Statement (500 word max)

      This is your cover letter, so please articulate why you want this position, how this experience will enhance your learning, and the ways you see it connecting to your future goals. Be specific! This should include details about the skills you’ll bring to this specific position and include examples from relevant experiences. This should not be a narrative essay or academic paper. Some organizations ask that you address specific topics in your personal statement, so please make sure to check the position description for any specific application instructions.

      Address your statement to the “Selection Committee” and include a heading in the following format at the top:
      • First and Last name & Graduation Year
      • Concentration & Secondary Field, if applicable
      • The name of the organization or lab to which you are applying
    • B. Resume (1-2 pages)
    • C. Unofficial transcript

      Obtain a copy of your latest online unofficial transcript including your fall course grades. To access your unofficial transcript:
      • Login to harvard.edu.
      • Select Student Home at the top of the page.
      • Under Grades, select Current Level, and then select View Unofficial Transcript.
      • In the Academic Institution drop down menu, select Harvard University.
      • In the Report Type drop down menu, select Harvard College.
      • Click View Report.
      • Your Unofficial Transcript should open. (If you have a pop-up blocker, you may have to disable it to allow this page to open.)
      • Download and save in pdf format.
    • D. References

      Please note – these are not letters of recommendation.
      • You must provide the name and contact information for two references, who may be contacted during the internship selection process to comment on your candidacy. We recommend choosing:
        • One academic reference: This should be from a faculty member, TF, Proctor/Tutor, RD, etc. who can comment on your academic initiative, interests, and competencies; and
        • One professional reference: This should be someone who knows you in a professional capacity and who can comment in detail about the positive skills and traits you possess.
      • You can use this template or upload another document, but for each reference, you MUST provide the following information:
        • Recommender’s Name
        • Recommender’s Position and Title, if relevant
        • Recommender’s Organization
        • Recommender’s Email Address (this should be their professional address, whenever possible, versus a gmail or other free address)
        • Recommender’s Telephone Number
        • 1-2 sentences about the capacity in which you know your recommender.
      • Please notify your references that they may be contacted in February or March by our internship host organizations regarding your candidacy. If you would like to provide additional references, you are welcome to do so, though we do not recommend exceeding four.
  4. Submit!

    Important note: All application materials must be submitted to HGHI, and contacting organizations directly during the application and selection process is prohibited. Circumventing HGHI’s selection process may result in the withdrawal of your application from consideration.

    If you have questions, please see these FAQs; you can also email HGHI_StudentEngagement@harvard.edu. For help with your cover letter and resume, please refer to these resources from OCS.
Research & Internships: Selection Process and Timeline

Selection Process and Timeline:

  • Each application is read by a committee at HGHI that makes the first round of decisions and narrows the pool to the top candidates. Generally, there are about 5 finalists for each internship. Applications are evaluated based on your:
    • Personal statement and whether you make a convincing argument for why the internship is a good fit;
    • Resume and whether you demonstrate that you have the experience to complete the tasks of the internship;
    • Transcript and the connection between your coursework and the skills needed by the organization;
  • All applicants will be notified at the end of February if they are a finalist or not.
  • Once finalists are selected, the host organization will review applications and decide who they want to contact for interviews. Interviews occur in March. There is a short turn-around time for interviews, so if you are selected as a finalist, it’s important that you respond to interview requests quickly. Organizations may or may not contact your references at this point.
    • Note on interviews: Each organization has their own internal selection process, which means you may not be called for an interview, even if you are a finalist. It also means that some organizations will contact you faster than others, so don’t worry if you don’t hear from organizations at the same time as other applicants.
  • HGHI will make offers via email beginning in mid-March, and students will have three days to accept or decline the position.
    • Note on acceptance timeline: We understand that 3 days is not a lot of time to make a decision, especially if you are waiting to hear about other offers. As much as we would like to be able to give everyone more time, we cannot allow individuals to hold an offer for an extended period of time, as this is not fair to the other students who are also waiting to hear about the same position. If this situation arises for you, please let us know if there is any additional information we can provide that will make your decision easier, and we will do our best to help.
  • Students who do not receive offers will be notified on a rolling basis as decisions are made. All applicants should hear results by the end of April.
    • Note on Offers: If you are a finalist for multiple internships, once you accept a position, you will be automatically withdrawn from consideration for other internships.
  • Once a student has accepted a position, they should begin working on the program requirements immediately to ensure they meet the deadlines to receive funding.
Independent Funding: Application Instructions

IMPORTANT: You should enter your recommender in CARAT before starting any other application materials. Ask your recommender in advance, and complete the Reference part of CARAT as soon as possible so that your recommender has all the instructions for submitting the letter, which is due by the application deadline.

How to Apply:

  1. Visit the Centralized Application for Research and Travel (CARAT) site and find the Harvard Global Health Institute Funding for Independent Projects and Internships funding source
  2. Complete all of the required fields in CARAT, including the budget section.

    If you don’t know your available dates yet, you can enter June 1st for a start date and August 15th for an end date. (This is not exact and is just for the purposes of the application.)
  3. Provide one reference:

    In CARAT, you will be asked to indicate one recommender. It is best to ask someone who knows you well and can comment about your performance in a context similar to the internship or research placement you are seeking, therefore:

    If you are applying for funding for a research-related role, your letter of recommendation should be from a faculty member, TF, Proctor/Tutor, RD, etc. who can comment on your academic initiative, interests, and competencies.

    If you are applying for funding for an internship or volunteer role, your recommendation should be from someone who knows you in a professional capacity and who can comment in detail about the positive skills and traits you possess.

    Do not submit a reference from a family member.

    Below are instructions on how to enter a reference request, and additional instructions are also available directly in CARAT:
    • If your recommender is a Harvard affiliate, search for them by their last name, and their information will auto-populate when you click “enter.” If your recommender is outside of Harvard, manually completed the name, title, and email fields.
    • Once your recommender’s information is entered, click the “Send reference request” button that appears.
    • CARAT will send an email request to your recommender with a URL link, which will bring them to a page in CARAT where they may upload a PDF letter of reference. The deadline for the letter is the same as the application deadline
  4. Upload the following four documents in PDF format:
    • A) Personal statement (750 word max) Please articulate why you want this position, how your former experiences have inspired you to pursue this type of summer experience, how this experience will enhance your learning, and the ways you see it connecting to your future goals. Be specific!
      • For internships, please describe the internship or type of work you will be pursuing and how this experience will further your personal and professional goals.
      • For research, please describe the research question or problem you will be exploring, the advisor(s) you plan to work with, the types of methods that you plan to employ, and why you feel this project is important.
      • If you plan to volunteer, please describe the types of projects you plan to work on, and how you think you will grow personally and academically through the experience.

        Please address your Personal Statement to the “Selection Committee” and include a heading in the following format at the top:
        • Name and Graduation Year
        • Concentration and Secondary Field, if applicable
        • The name of the organization to which you are applying
    • B) Resume (1-2 pages)
    • C) Unofficial transcript

      Obtain a copy of your latest online unofficial transcript including your fall course grades. To access your unofficial transcript:
      • Login to harvard.edu.
      • Select Student Home at the top of the page.
      • Under Grades, select Current Level, and then select View Unofficial Transcript.
      • In the Academic Institution drop down menu, select Harvard University.
      • In the Report Type drop down menu, select Harvard College.
      • Click View Report.
      • Your Unofficial Transcript should open. (If you have a pop-up blocker, you may have to disable it to allow this page to open.)
      • Download and save in pdf format.
    • D) Proof of acceptance to the program or organization with which you will be working (If you have applied but have not yet been accepted, upload a sheet with the approximate date of the application results.)

Submit!

If you have questions, please see these FAQs; you can also email HGHI_StudentEngagement@harvard.edu. For help with your cover letter and resume, please refer to these resources from OCS.

Independent Funding: Selection Process and Timeline

Selection Process and Timeline:

  • Each application is read by a committee at HGHI.
  • Most decisions are made without interviews, but some applicants may be asked to come for an in-person interview in February or March.
  • Final decisions will be announced via email in mid to late March, and students will have one week to accept or decline the award.

FAQs

Are these internships and research placements paid?

Yes, these opportunities are fully funded. The stipend covers travel expenses to and from your site (if applicable), food, lodging, and other basic necessities for the 10 week duration of the internship or research placement.

Can freshmen apply for these opportunities?

All returning Harvard College undergraduates are eligible to apply for the opportunities unless it specifically states a different requirement in the internship description. Preference is given to sophomores and juniors for I-SURGH, but all applications will be evaluated.

How many summer internships and/or research placements can I apply for?

You may apply to up to three positions across SURGH, I-SURGH, and Internships.

Do I need to be a Global Health & Health Policy secondary field student to apply?

You do not need to be a GHHP secondary field student to apply. These internships are funded through Harvard Global Health Institute (HGHI) and any returning Harvard undergraduates in good standing may apply.

What does it mean that an internship is “co-sponsored”?

The Harvard Global Health Institute works in partnership with other centers at Harvard, such as the Center for Public Service and Engaged Scholarship (CPSES) and the Institute of Politics (IOP), to offer some internships. Funding for these co-sponsored internships comes from two institutions at Harvard. There will be a primary and secondary affiliation. The primary institute will be the point of contact during the application and internship onboarding process, and applications for this placement will be processed by that institution. Please refer to the primary institution’s application instructions to ensure you meet all the requirements. The intern selected for a co-sponsored internship will have the benefits and obligations of an intern in both of programs.

Can I apply if I am on leave?

You are welcome to apply for internships while you are on leave as long as you are in good standing, are planning to return in the fall and receive Ad Board approval. Here’s a link to more information about the petition process.

If I have received funding from HGHI in the past, am I still eligible to apply for another internship or research placement?

Yes, you are still eligible to apply for another placement even if you have received funding in the past. However, you cannot receive funding for the same internship you have done previously, and you cannot receive funding for an internship co-funded with IOP if you have already received funding from the IOP previously.

How do I submit applications for multiple sites?

Please submit a complete application in CARAT for each site. If, for example, you are applying to two ISURGH sites, you will submit a complete application for each. CARAT will allow multiple submissions in the same category.

(We know this may seem inefficient, but each application is saved in CARAT as a single PDF file that can be forwarded in its entirety to the host organization for review. Keeping the applications separate in CARAT ensures that each site receives the proper cover sheet, personal statement, letter of recommendation, etc.)

Is a letter of recommendation required and when is it due?

Independent Funding applications are the only applications that require a letter of recommendation. All other programs (SURGH, ISURGH, and Internships) only require that applicants provide the names and contact information for two references, who may be contacted if the applicant is a finalist for a position.

If you are applying for Independent Funding, the letter is due by the same date as the application deadline. We recommend completing the recommendation request section of CARAT as soon as you know you’re going to apply. Once you do this, CARAT will send an email to your recommender with instructions and the deadline.

Whom should I ask to be a reference?

Ask people who knows you well, and can comment in detail about your positive skills and traits in a context similar to the internship or research placement you are seeking. Organizations are more interested in hearing from someone who knows you well rather than a CEO, politician, or famous professor who is not familiar with your skills and strengths. Pick people who you feel will provide the strongest and most compelling reference on your behalf.

What are some tips for writing a great Personal Statement?

It is crucial to tailor each Personal Statement to the individual internship or research placement. If you are applying to more than one opportunity, there is no need to completely rewrite your statement each time, but make sure your letter is customized for each organization.

Lead with why are you interested in this particular position, and then explain the skills and experience you have that make you a good fit. If you are lacking in skills and/or experience, it is best not to explicitly point that out. The Personal Statement is a chance to teach the reader about you; do not waste time educating the reader about the organization, or even about public/global health concepts. (If you are selected as a finalist, someone from the organization will read your application and they already know those things.) A good litmus test is this: does the sentence or paragraph relate to you personally, and does it impart information the reader would not otherwise know? If the answer is no, it shouldn’t be in your Personal Statement.

Whom do I contact if I get an error message in CARAT or have a technical issue with my application?

If you encounter a technical problem in CARAT, please contact HUIT Support at ithelp@harvard.edu or call them at 617-495-7777 for assistance.

Can I contact the host organization with questions or send them an application directly?

The organizations hosting internships try to predict to the best of their ability what project you will be working on before you apply. Please keep in mind, though, that the specifics of a project may change between the time you apply and the time the internship starts in the summer. The information provided is the best that is currently available, so unless the site description specifically states that you may contact the host organization, refrain from doing so. You can direct questions to HGHI_StudentEngagement@harvard.edu. If we are unable to answer the question for you, we are happy to reach out to the host organization for you or connect you with a previous intern. Do NOT submit application materials to the host sites directly. Doing so could jeopardize your application. In order to be considered for an internship funded through HGHI, you must submit the application in CARAT.

How are finalists selected?

Each application is read by a committee that makes the first round of decisions and narrows the pool to the top candidates. Generally there are about 5 finalists for each internship, and you will be notified if you are a finalist or not. If you are a finalist, the host organization will review your application and may contact you for an in-person or phone interview. Each organization has their own internal selection process at this point, which means you may not be called for an interview, even if you are a finalist. Some applicants may also be contacted for interviews with HGHI. We would love to be able to meet everyone, but unfortunately due to the high volume of applications we receive and limited number of staff, it impossible for us to interview all the finalists.

How should I prepare for an interview if I am a finalist?
  • Be professional! Please remember that every communication, even a simple email, is a writing sample. At this stage of the process, you should maintain a professional demeanor.
  • If you are contacted for an interview, be prepared to verbally explain anything that is on your resume or in your application. If you need practice with this, OCS has some helpful resources: https://ocs.fas.harvard.edu/interviewing.
  • During your interview, this is your chance to ASK QUESTIONS! Dig deep. Often it may be too early to know the exact details of what you will be working on over the summer, but you can definitely get a sense for what the internship will be like and what projects will be available. It will be disappointing for you if the internship is not a good match for your interests, so be honest about what you are hoping to learn from the experience.
  • Be sure to send a thank you note after the interview! An email is sufficient.
Once I’ve been accepted, what are the next steps?

Below is an outline of requirements. A comprehensive checklist with instructions will be provided to accepted students.

Requirements for all students:

  • Enroll in direct deposit
  • Accept Terms and Conditions
  • Attend a pre-departure orientation in April

Additional Requirements for internationally-bound interns:

  • Obtain Health Clearance with University Health Services or another physician
  • Watch the Harvard College Online Pre-Departure Orientation
  • Register your trip in the Harvard Travel Registry
  • Complete and submit the appropriate Assumption of Risk & Release form
  • Ensure your passport is valid for the dates of your internship and obtain a visa if needed
  • Discuss start dates with your host and complete any trainings they require
  • Make housing and travel arrangements
  • Show proof of international health insurance coverage
  • If traveling to an Elevated-Risk country or region, you must also:
    • Complete an Elevated-Risk Travel Safety Questionnaire
    • Attended one elevated risk pre-departure orientation
How long are the internships and how do I know when it will begin/end?

Internships are 10 weeks long. If you are participating in SURGH, the start date will be determined in advance; it will begin in early June and end in mid August. For most other itnernships, you can determine the precise start and end dates in the spring with your host institution. Please note that the stipend will not increase if you elect to do your internship for longer than 10 weeks. Internships should be continuous, so not 5 weeks in June and 5 weeks in August.

Will housing be arranged for me?

If you are participating in the SURGH program, housing is provided in the summer undergraduate research village at Harvard. For most other international internships, housing is not provided unless it states this in the site description. Your host site and staff are available to provide advice, but ultimately you are responsible for finding your own housing.

Can I take courses or have another job while I am in SURGH?

No, if you are accepted to SURGH, you cannot take summer school courses or be otherwise employed for the duration of the 10-week program.

Can I receive additional funding?

HGHI and other funding centers at Harvard aim to distribute summer funding across the undergraduate community. Therefore, students who receive HGHI funding may not accept any additional funding for their internship or research project. Students are prohibited from accepting more than one substantial Harvard-funded summer opportunity each summer. Students must disclose if they are receiving Harvard funding for any other projects at any point throughout the summer, the amount of the award, and the dates of the other project as soon as possible. HGHI reserves the right to modify awards accordingly. Failure to promptly report other Harvard-funded summer activities may be reported to the Administrative Board.

Will I need a passport/visa/vaccinations?

Staff is here to assist you, but it is important to note that obtaining a passport, visa, and vaccinations are ultimately your responsibility. You can find information on the requirements for different countries on the US Department of State’s website here, and you will be given more details regarding requirements after you have been accepted to the program.

What happens if I get sick or there is a security risk while I’m abroad?

Keeping you healthy and safe during your internship is extremely important. There will be a mandatory training in the spring conducted by Harvard’s International Safety and Security Offices for all students going abroad. Before departure, you will be required to complete a travel registry and to keep it updated throughout your time abroad. You are also required to have health insurance that covers medical treatment abroad; before you leave, you should verify your international coverage options with your insurance provider. During your internship, you will have 24/7 access to Harvard Travel Assist, which provides global medical and security support and evacuation services.

Am I eligible to apply for independent funding for a volunteer position or an opportunity that is shorter than 8 weeks?

All independent funding proposals should be for projects that are a minimum of 8 weeks long. If you would like to apply for independent funding for a volunteer opportunity or independent experiences related to Global Health that is less than 8 weeks long, please email HGHI_StudentEngagement@harvard.edu before submitting an application.

Are there restrictions regarding where I can travel for an independent project?

There are rules governing which countries students can travel to with Harvard funding. Here is a link to Harvard’s Global Support Services (GSS) page with the rules, and the country rankings are available here. Funding cannot be provided for “High Risk” countries, and while travel is not prohibited to “Elevated Risk” countries, there are extra precautions that you would need to take before traveling.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Current & Past Undergraduate Fellows

Cohort 2023
READ MORE
Cohort 2022
READ MORE
Cohort 2021
READ MORE
Cohort 2020
READ MORE

Photo Contest

Students have shared photos from their HGHI summer internships around the world. We are excited to share some of their beautiful work here.

2019 Photo Contest
2018 Photo Contest
2017 Photo Contest
2016 Photo Contest