Update, January 2024: Please see Ph.D. Student Summer Internship Fellowships (SIFs). The Graduate Student Training Enhancement Grants and Provost Internships programs have transitioned into SIF.

Duke provides a robust set of opportunities for summer funding of Ph.D. students, each related to important aspects of doctoral training.

The most common are research fellowships and assistantships, whether from The Graduate School, faculty supervisors or individual Ph.D. programs; or experience with teaching and mentoring, especially through opportunities to serve as instructor of record in summer session courses, or as project managers in summer programs for undergraduates, such as DukeEngageData+ and Story+.

In addition, the Office of the Provost supports an array of fellowships, funded internships and professional development assistantships. Each opportunity requires no more than 19.9 hours a week on the given activity, and several have flexible time commitments to accommodate students who have secured partial funding.

Ph.D. Students Can Apply Directly

Graduate Student Training Enhancement Grants

This competitive grant allows students to arrange internships that align with their core research and training with an NGO, community organization, cultural institution, or government agency. It requires Ph.D. students to furnish a letter of support from a prospective host organization, specifying the nature of research-inflected engagement and the means by which the intern would learn about organizational culture and decision-making.

  • Application deadline for Summer 2023: February 20, 2023 [closed; see recipients]
  • Length of opportunity: 6, 8 or 12 weeks
  • Funding amount: Commensurate with length

Provost Internships

Each year, the Office of the Provost works with external organizations to develop curated internship opportunities targeted at humanities and interpretive social science Ph.D. students. For Summer 2023, the Office of Durham & Community Affairs partnered with the provost’s office to curate some of these offerings with local nonprofits. In addition, several units across Duke offer research-inflected internships on campus. Hosts range from Duke Forest and the Duke Marine Lab to the Social Science Research Institute, Duke University Press and the Office of Public Affairs & Government Relations. Selection and placement decisions are made by host units.

Through Duke’s Center for Computational Thinking, Ph.D. students who wish to develop data science capacity can apply for a fellowship to participate in intensive study of computational methods and application of those methods to potential dissertation research. Participation in a data science workshop is required at the beginning of the summer.

  • Application deadline for Summer 2023: February 20, 2023, for priority consideration; rolling through April 20, 2023 [closed; see recipients]
  • Length of opportunity: 6, 8 or 12 weeks
  • Funding amount: Commensurate with length

Schools, Departments and Other Units Can Apply

Reimagining Doctoral Education (RiDE) Graduate Assistantships

Schools and departments can propose graduate assistantships to undertake significant research and/or analysis that will facilitate department engagement with recommendations from the RiDE report. Learn more about RiDE implementation.

  • Applications accepted on a rolling basis
  • Length of opportunity: 6, 8 or 12 weeks
  • Funding amount: Commensurate with length

Summer Course Development Grants

Schools, departments and other units that offer undergraduate curricula can apply for grants that support the creation or redesign of undergraduate courses offered in a summer session. Courses must fulfill curricular priorities, be taught by Ph.D. students and develop an archive of supporting resources to facilitate hand-offs to new instructors from year to year.

  • Application deadline for Summer 2023 (round 2): February 6, 2023 [closed; see recipients]
  • Length of opportunity: 12 weeks
  • Funding amount: Full

Learn More

Which Type of Summer Funding Is Right for You?

How to choose among many potential experiences? The answers will vary greatly across Ph.D. students, whether because of discipline, stage of training or the nature of intellectual interests and career aspirations. Internships provide exposure to project management, deepen skills in collaboration and communication, and clarify research and career interests (sometimes reinforcing preferences for academia, sometimes expanding awareness of suitable paths in industry, government or the nonprofit world).

Students who have summer placements with Duke units gain insight into planning and decision-making within a research university and often gain experience with applied research. Recipients of Graduate Student Training Enhancement Grants typically expand their research capacities and expand their intellectual networks. Internship opportunities at Durham Technical Community College offer experience with instruction at access-oriented tertiary institutions of higher education. A Ph.D. Computational Fellowship allows students to develop new research approaches and tools. Summer programs such as Data+ and Story+ confer the chance to hone skills in mentorship.

We encourage students who do not already have full summer funding to reflect on which avenues best align with their intellectual trajectory and process of career discernment. It’s always a good idea to discuss options with faculty advisers and other mentors, peers and their program’s director of graduate studies, and it’s better to start thinking about options early, during the fall semester.

Keep in mind that in addition to Duke funding vehicles, there are a wide array of external fellowship competitions. In some fields, such as engineering, Ph.D. students may be able to explore paid summer internships.

How Do These Opportunities Fit Into Doctoral Education?

The Office of the Provost has created this range of research and professional development opportunities to complement the key features of disciplinary training. The options reflect input from Duke Ph.D. alumni and faculty about the full set of skills and experiences that prepare Ph.D. graduates for success, whether within or outside academia.

They also align with the recommendations of national reports on Ph.D. education, such as Reshaping Graduate STEM Education for the 21st Century from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, as well as the report of the Duke Provost’s Committee on Reimagining Doctoral Education.