Research, Internship and Fieldwork Opportunities

The Earth Institute, Columbia University offers a wide array of support and research opportunities to students which complement their studies in sustainability and the environment. Undergraduate and graduate students are given many options for fieldwork and research during the academic year through internships, travel grants, undergraduate research assistantships, and the Millennium Villages Internship program. We encourage students to share their work in these programs and others at the annual Earth Institute Student Research Showcase.

For more information on any of these programs, please contact the Office of Academic and Research Programs at ei-students@ei.columbia.edu.

Research Assistant Program

During the Fall and Spring semesters the Earth Institute sponsors 24 undergraduate research assistantships, giving Columbia and Barnard students a valuable chance to participate in hands-on sustainable development research on a range of projects with Earth Institute faculty and researchers. Some examples of projects include: researching the impact of temperature and precipitation on malaria transmission, identifying natural hazards and risk management strategies for the Dominican Republic, and researching the impacts of infrastructure improvements in rural Africa. The program provides students with a valuable opportunity to collaborate on substantive matters of inquiry while gaining meaningful insight into various fields of study and the research process as a whole. For more information on current projects and upcoming application deadlines, please click here.

Internship Program

The internship program, which is offered year-round through the Earth Institute, provides a unique opportunity for Columbia and Barnard undergraduate, graduate and PhD students to gain experience working at one of the most prestigious and cutting-edge research institutions of its kind. In the past interns have worked on projects related to urban food systems, access to water in India and the reduction of community vulnerability to natural disasters.  Internships are part-time during the Fall and Spring semesters and full-time through the summer. Internships are a wonderful opportunity for both students and the EI Centers and Programs, offering students invaluable exposure to EI research and operations and offering EI Centers and Programs the contributions of bright and dynamic CU students. For more information on current projects and upcoming application deadlines, please click here.

Travel Grant Program

Through the travel grant program, initiated in 2005, the Earth Institute allocates funding to support travel by students matriculated in Columbia University degree programs who are engaged in research projects dealing with issues of environmental and sustainable development. This travel can be domestic or international and is for projects directly related to degree studies at Columbia University. The maximum travel grant award is $750 per person, and students must use this to cover the cost of their travel for research they are conducting to meet specific degree requirements. For more information and for upcoming application deadlines, please click here.

Earth Institute Student Research Showcase

The Earth Institute is committed to supporting and showcasing student research in the areas of environmental and sustainable development.  Every spring, the Earth Institute hosts the Student Research Showcase which provides an opportunity for students to showcase their work. All of the projects involve Columbia students who have received funding through a travel grant, internship, or research assistantship from the Earth Institute; however, all Columbia students that have undertaken research in environmental and sustainable development are invited to participate.  Please click here to view the video from 2013.

Millennium Villages Student Internships

The Millennium Villages Internship program provides an excellent opportunity for students to gain on-the-ground experience in sustainable development in a range of sectors -- public health, business development, agriculture, education, and infrastructure. The MVP is a unique project, where interventions are implemented through a multi-sectoral, community-based model. Students are placed in one of the 14 MVP sites, which are located in 10 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Students provide assistance to the MVP teams managing and implementing interventions. Students will gain knowledge, tools, skills, and experiences that they can apply to their coursework as well as to their future professional pursuits. Students will have a rewarding and challenging experience and make a genuine contribution toward achieving the MDGs in sub-Saharan Africa. Note that only current Columbia University graduate students are eligible to apply. We welcome applicants who have an interest in sustainable development and demonstrate a commitment to working with underserved populations. Apply for Summer 2014 here.