Program Guidelines

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. There are three categories of internships: SURGH which is primarily on-campus research, I-SURGH which is international research, and DGHI which encompasses all other non-research focused internships in the US or abroad.

Harvard undergraduates apply directly to HGHI for each internship 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 are eligible to apply for the opportunities regardless of class year unless it specifically states a different age requirement in the internship description. Preference is often given to sophomores and juniors, but all applications will be evaluated. 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. During the summer of 2021, program dates will be approximately June 7th to Aug 13th, though these may be adjusted if needed

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.

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 without written permission from HGHI. Students are prohibited from accepting more than one substantial Harvard-funded summer opportunity each summer without permission. In general, substantial experiences are defined as 8 weeks or longer. 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.


November-January Positions are posted on the GHHP website
Early February Application deadline
Late February All applicants will be notified if they are a finalist or not
February-March Finalists interview with hosts
March-April Finalists notified about offers or denials on a rolling basis
April-May Pre-departure orientations and requirements are due
June – August Students are at internships for 10 weeks


Information for Applicants

Application Limits: Students may apply to up to three internships, but only two of these may be co-funded with IOP. 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 intnernship 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 2021, program dates will be approximately June 7th to Aug 13th, 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.