Program Overview


Who is Eligible

Summer Student Fellowships are awarded to undergraduate students who will have completed their junior year at colleges or universities by the start of the fellowship period. Students who will graduate before the fellowship begins are not eligible to apply. Preference is given to students studying in any of the fields of science or engineering including but not limited to the fields of biology, chemistry, engineering, geology, geophysics, mathematics, meteorology, physics, oceanography, and marine policy. Students must have at least a tentative interest in the ocean sciences, oceanographic engineering, mathematics, or marine policy.  Through the Summer Student Fellowship program, WHOI's aim is to provide promising students with a meaningful first-hand introduction to research in oceanography, oceanographic engineering, or marine policy.

Persons from underrepresented groups are encouraged to apply. WHOI actively recruits underrepresented minorities in ocean science as defined by the National Science Foundation (African-, Hispanic- and Native-Americans, and Pacific Islanders) in all of our education programs, as well as programs of the Woods Hole Diversity Initiative, such as the Woods Hole Partnership Education Program.  More information can be obtained by contacting

  • Students in a three year Bachelor's Degree Program, such as those in the UK, must be in their second year
  • Students in a five year combined Bachelor/Master's Degree Program must be in the third year of the program

Academic Credit

WHOI does not offer formal academic credit toward degree requirements for participation in the Summer Student Fellowship Program. Students interested in earning academic for completing a Summer Fellowship should discuss this possibility with their academic institution.

Selection Process

Fellows are selected based on the applicant's previous academic and scientific achievements and promise as future ocean scientists or ocean engineers. Important consideration is given to matching each fellow with an appropriate advisor on WHOI's Scientific or Senior Technical Staff. The program is very competitive, with an average of about twelve percent of the applicants receiving awards. Decisions will be made in mid-March.

Choosing a Project

Fellowships are awarded to pursue an independent research project under the guidance of a member of the Scientific or Senior Technical Staff. These projects typically are suggested by the advisor, and are agreed upon jointly by both the student and advisor. The advisors make every effort to help the student select and pursue a research project that can provide meaningful results in one summer's work. Fellows have an excellent opportunity to select and pursue a research project with access to more than two hundred practicing research scientists and engineers and to the facilities of a major oceanographic institution.
» View Recent Projects
» Potential Projects for 2018 will be posted soon

Finding an Advisor

Although it is not required, we encourage applicants to make contact with a WHOI Assistant, Associate or Senior Scientist or a Senior Technical Staff member who may be willing to provide an educational opportunity for a Summer Fellow in his or her laboratory. Lists of WHOI researchers and their research interests are available at the various department webpages.
» Applied Ocean Physics & Engineering
» Biology
» Geology & Geophysics
» Marine Chemistry & Geochemistry
» Marine Policy Center
» Physical Oceanography

Applicants are also encouraged to visit the U.S. Geological Survey Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center website for potential sponsors from among their team of research scientists.

International Students

We do accept international students into the Summer Student Fellowship Program. Our Foreign National Advisor will assist fellowship recipients in obtaining the necessary J-1 Visa paperwork. Documented proof of English Language Proficiency will be required to obtain a J-1 Visa.

If you are currently attending a U.S. institution/university on an F-1 Visa, you will need to discuss Curricular Practical Training (CPT) or Optional Practical Training (OPT) with your current institution or university's International Officer or F-1 Program Officer to determine if you are eligible to participate.

(Please note: International students are required to pay a 14% U.S. Federal income tax on stipend payments, travel allowances and the fair-market value of their WHOI housing. This tax will be deducted from their stipend payments through Payroll deductions.)
» International Committee

Program Requirements

All Summer Student Fellows are expected to present a mid-summer progress report. At the end of the summer, each Summer Fellow is required to prepare a written report describing his or her research. Summer Student Fellows are also required to make a public oral presentation of his or her results. All Fellows are required to attend the Summer Lecture Series as well as the Ethics in Science Workshop. In addition, Fellows are encouraged to participate in the busy summer schedule of seminars and colloquia in the Woods Hole scientific community, which provides an excellent introduction to the many facets of marine science.
» Lecture Series Schedule

Financial Matters/Housing

Summer Student Fellowship awards provide a weekly stipend for the ten- to twelve-week program. The stipend for the summer of 2018 is $632 per week.

Additional support is offered to help offset the cost of round-trip travel to Woods Hole. The 2018 travel allowance is $700.


  • Fellowship awards include Institution housing
  • WHOI housing is typically a shared-room in a shared-unit, with two single beds per room
  • Due to the high demand for housing in the summer, requests for private rooms/private units cannot be considered
  • Due to the limited housing available, please do not make a reservation if you do not intend to stay in institution housing for the entire fellowship period
  • You will be e-mailed an electronic receipt for tax purposes at the end of the summer
(Please note: International students are required to pay a 14% U.S. Federal income tax on stipend payments, travel allowances and the fair-market value of their WHOI housing. This tax will be deducted from their stipend payments through Payroll deductions.)

Through this program of Fellowship grants, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution's (WHOI) aim is to give a promising group of science and engineering students experience that will assist them in determining whether they wish to devote careers to the study of the oceans. This program is made possible through the generosity of friends of the Institution and grants from the National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates Program (NSF-REU).