Research, Internship and Fieldwork Opportunities

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, and undergraduate research assistantships. 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

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.

Collaborative Research Grant

The Collaborative Research Grant provides undergraduate and masters students at Columbia and Barnard with an exciting opportunity to work alongside Columbia University faculty on a research project of the student’s choosing. Students may apply for funding for up to two semesters (fall/spring), which will enable them to explore the research project more fully than a typical one semester project would allow. Students gain hands-on research experience, allowing them to learn and grow under the guidance of a faculty mentor. Faculty, research scientists and professors benefit from mentoring bright and motivated students, who can contribute to their own research area. Applications will be accepted from students from a variety of backgrounds and departments, so long as the research focuses on an area related to environmental sustainability. For more information on current projects and 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.