Excellence in graduate research is one of the top priorities for the department. Recognizing the value of concentrated research activities uninterrupted by coursework and teaching, we consider summer research and internships an essential component of graduate education.

Summer Research Assistants

During summer months, the majority of our graduate students are engaged as full-time research assistants with the funding coming from their advisors’ research grants. These engagements are made by mutual agreement between the advisor and the student. The advisor notifies their grant administrator, who in turn notifies the graduate program academic administrator by May 15.

Off Campus Research

Some students, especially those at the dissertation and pre-defense stage, spend their summers in an off-campus placement to pursue graduate thesis or dissertation research that cannot be accomplished on campus, or to pursue other academic career and professional development activities. These activities may be conducted at universities, at national laboratories, or other research facilities.


Students interested in non-academic careers are given an opportunity to spend their summer in off-campus non-academic internships. This activity is an integral component of the graduate training in accordance with the University policies on career and professional development.

In all cases of off-campus summer placement, agreements must be made between the student and the advisor to their mutual satisfaction; the graduate program must be notified by May 15. All efforts must be made to ensure that the student is funded in their off-campus setting at the level commensurate with or above that for on-campus students.

In cases of serious failures to meet the advisor’s research performance requirements or in cases of insufficient research funding, the graduate program should be notified as soon as possible but no later than May 1. In cases of insufficient funding, the student may be assigned a teaching position for the summer. However, this measure should be reserved for exceptional cases since only a couple of summer teaching positions are typically available. In cases of unsatisfactory student performance, mitigation measures may include moving the student to a different group or placing the student on academic probation.