Summer research

CONTACT: Karen A. Kelly, Undergraduate Administrator
kkaras@princeton.edu, 208 Jadwin Hall, 609-258-4418

Overview

The physics department strongly encourages students to work with faculty over the summer. This is a great opportunity to explore a new area of science, develop a deeper understanding of what it means to do research, and work in a rich intellectual environment with a mix of faculty, post-docs, graduate students, and other undergraduates. Summer research positions are arranged informally, with students approaching individual faculty members. Jobs and internships usually start after graduation in June and last 8 weeks or longer. If you are interested in summer research in the department, please e-mail the Undergraduate Administrator, ideally in the first week of the spring term. Physics Department summer jobs are also announced here through the Office of Undergraduate Research.

University resources

All students interested in summer research should consult the Student Activities Funding Engine (SAFE) for funding opportunities to support research internships both on campus and elsewhere. Some specific opportunities of potential interest are:

  • The Office of the Dean of the College offers SAFE funding both for summer work on senior theses. You can also apply for SAFE funding for a senior thesis or junior paper during the academic year (see under "Undergraduate Independent Projects").
  • The OURSIP program (applications again through SAFE) is a good choice for on-campus research not related to a senior thesis.
  • Students interested in summer research opportunities abroad should check out the Princeton International Internship Program (IIP). You can apply to one of the many existing internship opportunities, or you can create your own if you have a specific PI abroad with whom you'd like to work. Please be alert for early deadlines when considering IIP.
  • The Office of Undergraduate Research aims to help undergraduates write effective applications to various funding sources. Check out their detailed calendar.

When using SAFE, make sure to look at any and all funding opportunities available to you; they may vary from student to student, for instance according to your residential college. Non-obvious choices in SAFE include funding through the Office of Religious Life, which has very broad criteria and has funded physics research in the past.

Deadlines for funding opportunities and internships tend to be early and strict, so it is best to get started early in the fall term! Many deadlines for funding opportunities on campus fall early in the spring term. Be sure whenever applying for funding to mention any other sources of support that you have applied for previously, in order to avoid any possibility of duplicative funding.

Named departmental fellowships

Undergraduate research jobs in the Physics Department are supported by generous gifts from University alums and friends of the department. Research awards primarily go toward defraying the cost of summer salaries as set by your faculty adviser. You do not need to apply for these research awards; they will be made based on availability of funds, typically around the end of June, and funds are usually transferred within the department in order to help cover your summer salary.

Treiman fellowships

The Treiman fellowships for summer research are made possible through a generous donation to the department in honor of Prof. Sam Treiman, a theoretical particle physicist who was the chair of the Princeton Physics Department from 1981 to 1987 and remains one of the more notable influences on the department. Recent recipients include Zachary Atkins, Dongwoo Chung, and Bharath Alamanda.

Leach fellowships

The Leach fellowships for summer research are made possible through a generous donation by the Charles H. Leach II Foundation. The goal is to inspire future physics majors, especially women. Recent recipients include Ana Diaz, Maria Okounkova, and Mrinalini Basu.

Frederick Osborn fellowships

The Frederick Osborn fellowships for summer research are made possible through a generous donation from Mrs. Frederick Osborn and family in memory of her husband, Frederick Osborn, an Art & Archeology major in class of 1937. Frederick Osborn was an active member of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Use of Outer Space (COPUOS). He was inspired and fascinated by what could be done and learned from space. His particular focus was on solar energy. The award goes to support students engaged in research "looking up." Recent recipients include Abanti Basak, Fikret Ceyhan, and Cissy Chen.

Bell Burnell fellowships

The Bell Burnell fellowships for summer research are made possible through a generous gift from Jocelyn Bell-Burnell, the discoverer of the first pulsar. Bell Burnell fellowships are aimed at encouraging women to pursue physics.  Recent recipients include Aizhan Akhmetzhanov, Sara Anjum, Carlota Corbella-Alcantara, Nina Filippova, Cara Giovanetti, Emily Ho, Paige Kunkle, Rebecca Rousseau, Gemma Zhang.

Joseph Henry Summer Fellowships

The Joseph Henry Summer Fellowships for summer research are made possible by the Physics Department in appreciation of the value of summer research opportunities. Recent recipients include Nathan Agmon, Cristian Andronic, and Dongwoo Chung.