HGHI Summer Research and Internships Program

The Harvard Global Health Institute (HGHI) offers returning Harvard undergraduates in good standing the opportunity to participate in paid summer research and internship placements on the Harvard campus as well as across the world. These opportunities are ten weeks long and connect classroom knowledge and skills to the complex issues in the field. They range from placements in laboratories and research groups, to field work with hospitals and community health clinics, to office-based internships with NGOs and international organizations. Internships are 10 weeks long and will run from approximately June 7th – August 13th, 2021. Students may also apply to HGHI for funding for their own projects or internships. There are four categories of opportunities within the program: SURGH, ISURGH, DGHI, and Independent Funding. You can read more about each category below. You must be a returning Harvard undergraduate in order to apply.

Important 2021 Program Updates

Given the uncertainty about the COVID-19 pandemic, currently HGHI is planning for all Summer 2021 internships to be done virtually. If circumstances improve, we may be able to transition back to in-person internships, and any changes will be posted here. The application will open in CARAT on December 18th, and deadline to apply is Sunday, February 7th, 2021 at 11:59pm.

This year, applicants will submit the names of two references in lieu of formal recommendation letters for HGHI's Research & Internship Program. Letters of recommendation are still required for Independent Funding Applications. Please see the application instructions for more information. 

For students who will be on leave during the spring of 2021, you are welcome to apply for HGHI internships as long as you are planning to return in the fall and receive Ad Board approval. Here’s a link to more information about the petition process.

Summer 2021 Summer Funding Policy: To promote equitable distribution of summer funding across the undergraduate community, students are eligible to accept funding from only one Harvard source of funding each summer. Therefore, students who receive HGHI funding may not accept any additional funding from Harvard during the same summer. Similarly, students who accept HGHI summer funding are not eligible to receive a waiver to enroll in a Harvard Summer School course or vice versa. Students must disclose if they are receiving Harvard funding at any point throughout the summer, and HGHI reserves the right to modify awards accordingly. Failure to promptly report other Harvard-funded summer activities may be reported to the Administrative Board, and you can read more about the Summer 2021 Funding Policy here. Please reach out to emily_maguire@harvard.edu with any questions or to discuss requesting an exception. Awards granted through HGHI are to be used to support student expenses so that students can have an educational experience, and funding can cover costs including housing, local transportation in program location (pending local public health guidelines), food, and incidentals. Funding students receive from Harvard sources cannot be used to pay others to provide services or be given to an organization; for example, hiring third-party researchers or clinicians, or making charitable donations.

Types of Summer Opportunities

Funding for Independent Projects and Internships

HGHI may have limited funding available for independent, student-arranged research projects and internships. This funding could be applied towards a faculty-mentored project in health research or towards an internship at a health-focused organization. Proposals can be made for domestic or international work, and funding for travel and living expenses would be assessed accordingly. An example of an independent project would be examining the impact of mobile clinics and electronic health records on the quality of maternal health care in Tanzania. An examples of a student-arranged internship would be working with a service-learning program.

Please see the Application Instructions for further details. Students who have applied, but have not yet been accepted, to an outside organization should still apply for funding from HGHI before the application deadline. Funding can be awarded contingent upon acceptance.

International Summer Undergraduate Research in Global Health

International Summer Undergraduate Research in Global Health (I-SURGH) research positions offer students the opportunity to conduct cutting-edge global health research in an international setting. Throughout the summer, students work with a Harvard faculty member or affiliate on their research projects and have a local mentor who supervises their daily work.

Students in I-SURGH receive a stipend to cover travel costs to and from their site, living expenses, and local transportation. While all returning Harvard College undergraduates are eligible to apply, preference is given to sophomores and juniors.

Summer Undergraduate Research in Global Health

Summer Undergraduate Research in Global Health (SURGH) research positions offer students the opportunity to research critical issues in global health under the direction of a Harvard faculty or affiliate mentor while living on-campus. Residential programming and financial support are meant to enable SURGH fellows to form a close-knit community with each other and with the Undergraduate Research Village, including PRISE, BLISS, PRIMO, and SHARP students. Therefore, fellows are expected to participate and contribute to the community of scholars throughout the duration of the program. House tutors and deans are asked for input on candidates during the selection process. The working dates for SURGH are usually the first week in June through the second week in Ausgust.

SURGH consists of the following components:

  • Research experience: The intent of the program is to provide a ten-week formative and substantive full-time research experience on a global health research topic.
  • Residential life: SURGH fellows will live with the Undergraduate Research Village in one of the Harvard College River Houses for the duration of the program. Weekday evening meal service, as well as a weekday breakfast cart, will be available. A modest stipend will be available to cover other expenses, including food for weekend meals and weekday lunches.
  • Mandatory programming: Every Wednesday from 5:30-7:30 throughout the summer, SURGH members will participate in a small group seminar to learn about and discuss global health topics with experts in the field. The goals of the seminars are to:
    • Expose interns to a broad number of academic topics in global and domestic health
    • Introduce interns potential career paths in global and domestic health
    • Deepen interns’ experiences by allowing them to share research and learn from each other
  • Deliverables: At the end of the program, students present their research findings at a poster session.
  • Recreational and social programs: SURGH fellows are eligible to register for free use of Harvard athletic facilities (including the Malkin Athletic Center, Hemenway Gymnasium, and Blodgett Pool). A calendar of activities will include a range of opportunities to socialize and take advantage of Boston's cultural and recreational summer offerings, including a variety of excursions, Red Sox games, and Fellow-initiated community events sponsored by URAF for the College-affiliated research programs. 
  • Outside activities: Individuals taking summer school courses or engaging in regular paid work or public service commitments during the summer are not eligible to participate.

SURGH offers a variety of benefits:

  • Free lodging in designated Harvard housing
  • A partial boarding (dining) plan
  • A stipend to cover additional meals and transportation for the 10-week program

All returning undergraduate students are welcome to apply, though preference will be given to individuals who have not yet participated in a Research Village program. Please see the Application Instructions for further details.


Internships offer students the opportunity to work with nonprofits, NGOs, and other organizations on the cutting edge of global health and health policy. Some internships are field-based, while others are office-based. Sites can also be domestic or international.

Students receive a stipend to cover travel expenses to and from their site, living expenses, and local transportation. All returning Harvard College undergraduates are eligible to apply for internships, but preference is often given to sophomores and juniors.

Please keep in mind that these internship descriptions aim to provide an overview for what an internship will likely include, but specific project details may not be available until the summer. Updated internship descriptions will be posted throughout December and January.

List of Summer Internship Sites (click each category to expand)


These are not all the DGHI Internships. Click here to see more!

SURGH Research Positions

ISURGH Research Positions