Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) Internship Program

Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) Internship Program

Developing life-changing research skills for a career in STEM.

Work alongside the country's best scientists and engineers in Washington D.C. to do cutting edge research that strengthens America's naval defense. You'll not only develop your research skills, you'll gain confidence and learn to be a better presenter, writer and networker.

Administered by The Washington Center, this immersive internship program, led by the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL), will give you a leg up in science, technology, engineering and math careers. The projects you will work on at the NRL have the potential to make a huge impact on the lives of people around the world.


This is a highly selective program. To be eligible to participate, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Be a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident.
  • Be currently enrolled at a Historically Black College or University, Minority Serving Institution or Tribal College or University.
  • Have and maintain a 3.0+ cumulative GPA.
  • Be 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.

If you have any additional questions, please contact us.

Program Components

During this 10-week internship program, you'll join a cohort of 30-40 interns from diverse STEM majors working on projects under the guidance of principle investigators at the NRL. You'll learn from established researchers as well as work on original research. Beyond your main research project, you'll also attend scientific and professional seminars on topics like ethics in science, STEM careers, graduate school preparation, resumé building and crafting an effective online presence. We also plan several fun social events like a Capitol tour, Potomac Riverboat Cruise and a barbecue.

Learn More

Program Cost

This is a fully funded internship program sponsored by the Naval Research Laboratory. Sponsorship covers the cost of the program, housing 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).

Housing and Living

You'll stay at a hotel in Old Town Alexandria, VA, a charming and historic neighborhood on the outskirts of Washington, D.C. along the Potomac River. You will get breakfast every day and dinner three nights a week, along with a shuttle to and from the NRL. Your room includes a fully stocked kitchen that you will share with another student intern.

What to Pack

Please be prepared to pack the following:

  • personal toiletries
  • government-issued ID card
  • small folding umbrella
  • notebook and pens
  • coats and hangers

Academic Credit

You may be eligible to receive academic credit for your participation in this program. However, credits are determined and awarded by each university. TWC does not grant credit. You are responsible for arranging any academic credit through your college or university. You should discuss arrangements with your institution, prior to starting the program.

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.

Apply Now

If you're not quite ready to apply, fill out our request for information and a member of our staff will reach out to you.

Request more Information

Dates and Deadlines

  • Application Deadline: January 19, 2018
  • Check-In: May 28, 2018
  • Internship Begins: May 29, 2018
  • Internship Ends: August 3, 2018
  • Check-Out: August 4, 2018

Application Documents

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

  • One-page Resumé
  • Transcripts for all post secondary education
  • 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 generally and the NRL internship specifically; how the program will help you achieve your career goals; the skills you hope to gain; and ways in which you can contribute to NRL research.


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

Are there opportunities for employment post-internship?


Employment is not guaranteed, but some interns have made a name for themselves and have returned to NRL after graduation as a full-time researcher.

Should I bring my car to D.C.?


Given the high cost—and limited availability—of parking in D.C., we do not recommend it, unless you have a specific reason.

How long does the security clearance process take?


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

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

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.