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 internships across SURGH, I-SURGH, and DGHI. Only two of these may be co-funded with IOP.

How many positions are offered at each site?

In general, there is one position available at each SURGH and domestic placement. There are generally two internships available at international sites.

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

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

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 CPIC and the IOP, to offer 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 studying abroad?

If you are studying abroad and will be unable to attend the international pre-deparure orientation at the end of April, unfortunately you are not eligible to apply for international internships. You are welcome to apply for domestic internships, however.

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.)

When is the recommendation letter due?

The letter of recommendation is due by the same date as your 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.

Can I use the same recommendation letter if I’m applying to more than one site?

Yes, if you are applying to more than one site, you may use the same letter for multiple applications, but please send a Reference Request for each site because your letter will need to be uploaded by the recommender for each of your applications.  

Whom should I ask to write my letter of recommendation?

Ask someone 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 a detailed letter from someone who knows you well rather than one written by a CEO, politician, or famous professor who is not familiar with your skills and strengths. Pick the person who you feel will write the strongest and most compelling letter 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 emily_maguire@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. 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.

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 any country on the US Department of State’s website here, and you will be given specific instructions 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 reach out to emily_maguire@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.