Graduate Student Internships

Supported by the National Science Foundation

student on laptop

FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions about the MURR Graduate Internship Program

What are the key elements for a strong proposal to the program? How are the applications evaluated?

Applications to the NSF-funded internship program are reviewed by senior research faculty at the Archaeometry Lab. Projects are evaluated on the following criteria: (1) quality of research design, (2) achievable project timeline, (3) demonstrated access to research materials, (4) budget support, (5) overall fit for the program.

The Archaeometry Laboratory specializes in provenance and migration studies with in-house access to the following methods: neutron activation analysis (NAA), X-ray fluorescence (XRF), inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (ICP-MS), including laser ablation ICP-MS, digestion/solution ICP-MS, and multi-collector ICP-MS (Pb, Sr, and Nd isotopic analyses), and Raman spectroscopy (RS). A full list of our sample preparation facilities and instrumentation is provided here. We specialize in the compositional analyses of pottery, clay, lithics (obsidian, chert, silcrete, limestone), mineral pigments, bone, shell, glass, and sediments.

Your proposal should emphasize how your project fits within the lab’s research program and how you will use the methods and mentorship available to achieve your research objectives. Projects that demonstrate a clear justification for conducting their research at the Archaeometry Laboratory have a strong chance for acceptance. It is essential that you include a proposed timeline of activities and a project budget. Candidates who are selected for the program must have their research materials in hand at the start of their residency period.

When in doubt, please reach out! We strongly encourage you to reach out to one of our four senior research group members to consult and provide budget and timeline feedback on your proposal before the submission deadline.

Will I need to raise funds for my project?

Yes. All applicants are expected to raise funds to help cover base costs for consumables for sample analysis. Such costs depend on the method(s) that are proposed, but generally range between $25/sample for NAA and XRF, $25-50/sample for RS, and up to $100/sample for ICP-MS. Labor fees are waived for the duration of the internship residency. We strongly advise you to reach out to one of our senior research group members for up-to-date information on how to accurately budget your project.

Do I need to be currently enrolled in a graduate program to be eligible?

Yes, we require the successful candidates to be enrolled in a graduate degree program. Preference is given to doctoral students who have research materials in hand and are ready to begin their analyses. We also accept proposals from Master-level students who have research projects that fit within the program.

I’m a Master-level student looking for internship experience, but I don’t have a thesis project to propose. Is there a way I can still get hands-on lab experience through the internship program?

Yes. We do accept applications from Master-level students who seek hands-on research experience to fulfil internship placements for their current program. Master-level internship positions are assessed on a rolling basis when openings are available. We encourage you to contact us well in advance if you are interested in applying to the program.

Am I required to take a leave of absence from my graduate program for the duration of the internship?

No. Taking an official leave of absence from your graduate program is not a requirement to be eligible for the internship program. However, your host university or funding programs may have residency requirements that may restrict you from relocation or additional employment. All candidates are responsible for confirming that they have permission from their cognizant Supervisor, Department Chair, or Graduate Studies office to be off campus and employed on a part-time basis at another institution.

Is this a benefits-eligible position?

No. Your employment through MURR would be on a part-time basis and therefore not eligible for benefits. Candidates are expected to maintain their own health insurance, generally through their existing university program or through private insurance.

Your application guidelines state that candidates must be eligible to work in the United States and have a valid SSN at the time of appointment. What does that mean?

Under specific conditions we are able to sponsor non-US citizens through short-term work visa programs. If you are a foreign national please contact us to confirm your eligibility before preparing your application. US citizens who are conducting graduate studies abroad are eligible.

How do residency start and end dates work? What if I have to leave MURR temporarily to attend a conference or for fieldwork?

Your residency start and end dates are flexible and will be mutually determined with your residency supervisor. We encourage students to attend conferences or workshops as part of their professional development. If you anticipate the need to be absent from the internship for an extended period (> 2 weeks) for academic-related activities such as fieldwork, please describe this in your application. Depending on the length of the absence we may choose to temporarily suspend your residency for the interim period.

What if I am not successful? Can I reapply, or find another way of working with MURR to complete my research?

We aim to provide feedback on all proposals and encourage resubmission of strong proposals. We also encourage students to consider our NSF-subsidy mini-proposal program, coupled with a short-term training visit (< 1 week). Please reach out to us to discuss how we may be able to support your research.

Can I come to MURR on an unpaid basis to complete my research?

Yes, pending project approval and lab space. If you would like to be a resident student intern and have other external funding to support your stay we may also be able to accommodate your visit. We will still require a project proposal and budget to evaluate prior to acceptance. As always, please reach out with any questions.

What if I can’t commit to the minimum 4-month stay?

The mini-proposal program might be a better fit for you.

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