The Program

Internships provide Columbia and Barnard students with an exciting opportunity to work at Earth Institute centers in a variety of positions, including administration, communications and research. 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. These projects, along with many others, have provided interns with hands-on workplace experience allowing them to learn and grow professionally within the field of sustainable development. Without their dedication and hard work many of these projects would not be possible.   

The internship program, which is offered through the Earth Institute during the fall, spring and summer semesters, provides a unique opportunity for Columbia undergraduate, graduate and PhD students to gain experience working at one of the most prestigious and cutting-edge research institutions of its kind.  Whatever their position, interns add great value to the units with which they work.

The Projects

Through these internships, students learn about the missions, administration and projects of the individual centers within the Earth Institute, while working with leading members of the scientific community. The centers of the Earth Institute where students can intern include: the Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN), the Urban Design Lab, the Columbia Water Center and many more.  Interns benefit from the exposure that comes from working with such centers and add value to their academic experience at Columbia University.

Internships at the Earth Institute vary in the topics they cover and specific support for projects and research is determined by the director and the supervisors of each center. Positions are posted on the Earth Institute website and sent out via the Earth Institute listserv at the beginning of the fall, spring and summer semesters. Both undergraduate and graduate students of Columbia University and Barnard College are encouraged to apply.

During the school year, interns work part time, approximately 10 to 15 hours per week at 15 dollars per hour. In the summer interns work full time, up to 35 hours per week at 15 dollars per hour. This time commitment offers students invaluable exposure to Earth Institute research and operations while allowing faculty to receive meaningful contributions from bright and motivated students. Students that come to work for the Earth Institute have varied backgrounds and come from a wide range of departments including anthropology, environmental policy and electrical engineering, to name a few. 

To Apply

The Earth Institute’s Office of Academic and Research Programs is pleased to announce the schedule for its Internship Program. Through the program, students will apply for eight full-time summer internships within one of the many divisions of the Earth Institute. Internships are available to both undergraduate and graduate students, and all positions are paid. Please note that only current students of Columbia University and Barnard College are eligible. All positions pay $15 per hour and students typically work 35 hours per week for up to 10 weeks.


Fall 2014 Deadlines:
August 15 - Positions announced
September 11 - Applications due
September 23 - Decisions sent out

Spring 2015 Deadlines:
November 20 - Positions announced
January 15 - Applications due
February 2 - Decisions sent out

Summer 2015 Deadlines:
April 1 - Positions announced
May 3 - Applications due
May 15 - Decisions sent out

Application Process

Applicants will need to submit a resume that details their relevant work and educational experiences and a cover letter stating their interests and qualifications for the internship for which they are applying.

For more information on open positions and how to apply, please click here.

For more information on the process or individual inquiries, please contact

To learn more about past projects please see click here.


Student Research Showcase
Center for International Earth Science Information Network
Vale Columbia Center on Sustainable International Investment
Urban Design Lab
Columbia Water Center