Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) HBCU/MSI/TCU Internship Program

Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) HBCU/MSI/TCU Internship Program

Perform cutting edge research with world-renowned scientists and engineers in Washington D.C. to strengthen America's naval defense.

You'll not only develop your scientific research skills, you'll acquire the necessary tools to deliver effective oral presentations, prepare technical reports and networking tips.

Administered by The Washington Center, this immersive program, led by the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL), will further develop your skill set for careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). In many cases, research projects have the potential to make a significant impact in the scientific and global community.


To be eligible to participate in this highly competitive program, you must meet the following criteria:

  • U.S. Citizens Only. Dual citizens (those holding citizenship with more than one country) are not eligible for the program.
  • Currently enrolled at a Historically Black College or University, Minority Serving Institution or Tribal College or University.
  • Maintain a 3.0+ cumulative GPA.
  • Fluent in English (spoken and written).
  • Preference is given to students pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines.
  • You should have at least one year of STEM education* at the undergraduate level.
  • Prior laboratory experience is desirable.

* This program is not designed for pre-med students or for students enrolled in a medical degree program. However, if you are interested or enrolled in a dual MD/PhD program, we encourage you to apply. 

Program Components

During this 10-week internship program, you will join a cohort of 30-40 interns from STEM majors from across the country working on projects under the guidance of principle investigators at the NRL. Beyond your research project, you'll attend scientific and professional seminars on topics like ethics in science, STEM careers, and many more. You also have the opportunity to attend social events with your cohort.

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Program Cost

This is a funded internship program sponsored by the Naval Research Laboratory. For Summer 2020, sponsorship covers the cost of the program, and a stipend of $8,500 for undergraduate students or $10,900 for graduate students. If necessary, we will also arrange and provide roundtrip travel to Washington, D.C. (up to $700). Furnished summer housing can be provided at a reduced rate to students.

Housing and Living

Select interns will be provided housing at The Residence Inn in Old Town Alexandria, VA. This charming and historic neighborhood is located on the outskirts of Washington, D.C. along the Potomac River. Interns will be paired (2 per room) in a modified suite which includes a kitchen that is fully stocked with kitchenware like plates, silverware and pots and pans. Typically, interns share the kitchen, a bathroom, and a common living space with another intern.

What to Pack

Please be prepared to pack the following:

  • comfortable laboratory clothing (please refer to FAQs below) 
  • summer clothing for team building activities (e.g., US Capitol and Museum Tours/Baseball Game) 
  • business professional attire (for Oral Presentations and Award Ceremony) 
  • business casual attire 
  • Personal toiletries 
  • US Passport and/or valid driver’s license 



Roundtrip transportation to the NRL and the Residence Inn will be provided. Scheduled pickup and drop-off times will also be provided.

Academic Credit

Interns wishing to obtain academic credit from summer research must coordinate with their mentor, faculty advisor and program Director. All research data/information must be submitted and cleared through the “Publication Release” process before it is released externally of the NRL. You should discuss arrangements with your institution (and with TWC), prior to starting the internship program. 

Dates and Deadlines

  • Early Review Deadline: November 14, 2019* 
  • Application Deadline: January 1, 2020 
  • Check-In: May 25, 2020
  • Internship Begins: May 26, 2020
  • Internship Ends: July 31, 2020
  • Check-Out: August 1, 2020

* The Early Review Deadline provides the opportunity to have your application materials reviewed prior to the submission deadline. It also provides a potential opportunity to start the security process earlier. Please note that submitting your application by this deadline does not guarantee an internship position. 

How to Apply

Start and submit the online application by clicking the button below. Throughout the process, you can save your application and return to it at a later time. You must include the application documents listed in the section below to complete the application process.

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If you're not quite ready to apply or are interested in learning more about our programs, please submit a Request For Information below.

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Application Documents

You'll need to submit the following documents along with your application:

  • One-page Resumé
  • Unofficial transcripts for all post-secondary institutions*
  • Two Letters of Recommendation: preferably from recommenders who are familiar with your research or academic work
  • One-page Writing Sample: Describe your interest in laboratory research and the NRL internship program. Discuss what specific NRL research topics interests you, how the program will help you achieve your career goals, the skills you hope to gain, and ways you can contribute to NRL research.

* Please note that official transcripts will be required once an internship position is offered.


What type of research will I be doing?


It depends on which NRL mentor chooses you. Research projects vary every year. Some past research projects can be viewed here

What can I expect after I apply?

After your application is accepted, TWC will process and forward application to NRL. NRL mentors will review applications, some may request phone interviews. When a mentor makes a decision, the applicant is considered pre-selected. A pre-selected student means a mentor has chosen you based on your application material. This does not constitute acceptance into the program.

If I am a pre-med student, am I eligible for the program?

This program is designed for students wishing to pursue a graduate degree (M.S.; PhD) in the STEM disciplines. However, if you are interested or enrolled in a dual degree-PhD program (e.g., MD/PhD), we would encourage you to apply.

Do I need prior research experience to be eligible to participate?

Prior research is certainly recommended, but not required. If you have no laboratory experience but exhibit a strong interest in research, you should still consider applying.

How long does the security clearance process take?


It can vary, but typically between one to three months.

What type of laboratory clothing items should I bring?

Please be sure to bring ¾ sleeve shirts and/or T-shirts, jeans, and closed-toed shoes (such as sneakers). Additional information on proper attire will be provided prior to the commencement of the internship program. 

Are there opportunities for employment post-internship?

Employment is not guaranteed, but some interns have been very productive and have been offered employment as a permanent employee.