With world-class scientists, professionals, and facilities, the Smithsonian serves as the top target for students and professionals seeking training and experience in a variety of disciplines from research to business ventures to public outreach.
Opportunities for research and study, crossing many educational levels from high school student to senior scientist, are available though our academic appointments. Through these internships, fellowships and other academic appointments the Museum provides a diverse assortment of opportunities to participate and learn.
The National Museum of Natural History hosts many opportunities for professional development through internship appointments. Each year more than 200 students participate in internships throughout the NMNH.
There are a wide variety of opportunities, from short-term appointments to long-term relationships, that welcome students and dedicated individuals interested in contributing to the efforts of the Museum.
Through formal programs or informal appointments, our initiatives allow a diverse group of people with varied interests, strengths, and goals to encounter the many facets of the NMNH by working with, and learning from, our professionals and scholars. For information about becoming an intern at the National Museum of Natural History, visit our internship web page or contact:
Office of Academic Services
National Museum of Natural History
10th Street & Constitution Ave., NW
NHB MRC 106, Room 59A
P.O. Box 37012
Washington, D.C. 20013-7012
Fellows enrich the Museum research environment and enliven our scientific community.
Fellowships at the Smithsonian Institution provide students and scholars with opportunities to pursue independent research projects in association with members of the Smithsonian professional research staff.
There are four levels of fellowships, based on academic level:
Graduate Student Fellowships are typically awarded to Masters level students. These fellowships provide opportunities for students to conduct research in association with Smithsonian staff members. Students must be formally enrolled in a graduate program of study, must have completed at least one semester but not yet have been advanced to candidacy in a doctoral program.
Predoctoral Fellowships target students who have have completed coursework and preliminary examinations for the doctoral degree, and are engaged in dissertation research.
Postdoctoral Fellowships are awarded to scholars who have held the doctoral degree or equivalent for fewer than seven years.
Senior Fellowships are awarded to scholars who have held the doctoral degree or equivalent for more than seven years.
There are three categories of fellowship appointment:
- Smithsonian Fellowship
- Visiting Scholar / Visiting Scientist Fellowship
- External Fellowship
Smithsonian Fellowship: A "Smithsonian Fellowship" is an official academic appointment awarded by the Institution following application and competitive review through the formal Smithsonian Institution Fellowship Program. Funding is provided and administered by Smithsonian's Office of Research and Training Services (ORTS). Awardees are granted the title "Smithsonian Fellow."
Visiting Scholar / Visiting Scientist Fellowship: Some individual units as well as specific researchers at NMNH may offer fellowship(s) using specialized funds, often received through grants. Although funded separately, these awards are also administered by ORTS. Awardees are given the title "Visiting Scholar Fellow" (Predoctoral level) or "Visiting Scientist Fellow" (Postdoctoral level).
External Fellowship: NMNH welcomes students and scholars who have received external funding to support a fellowship at our Museum. These fellowships are considered External Fellowships and awardees use the title "External Fellows."
To learn more about Smithsonian fellowship opportunities visit the Office of Fellowships website at: https://www.smithsonianofi.com/fellowship-opportunities/
Other Academic Appointments
We offer something for everyone. Distinguished scholars and professionals can also be part of the Museum community through our scholarly academic appointments. An academic appointment provides a formal affiliation with the Institution, including seven appointment categories:
Adjunct Scientist: The title of Adjunct Scientist is awarded by NMNH to distinguished professionals who significantly contribute to the intellectual life of the Museum through their in-residence participation in the care and curation of the collections; active research and publication; service on NMNH and/or SI panels and committees; and mentoring of students working with NMNH scientific staff. Adjunct Scientists have achieved a doctorate; have professional status within their scientific community; have an active publication record, including at least one scholarly publication each year; and demonstrate a commitment to the NMNH scientific community through their regular in-residence participation in the scholarly activities of the Museum.
Research Associate: Research Associates are professional scholars who formally and actively collaborate with NMNH scientific staff through collaborative projects, proposal submission, co-authored publications, etc. including regular use of the NMNH research and collection facilities. Research Associates have achieved a degree, usually a doctorate, and have professional status within their academic community, they are generally affiliated with a recognized academic institution as active or retired staff and have an active publication record, including at least one scholarly publication within the past two years.
Collaborator: Collaborators are those professionals working independently within the National Museum of Natural History research and collection facilities or informally collaborating with members from the NMNH community on scientific endeavors. Collaborators have achieved an academic degree and hold professional status within the scientific community.
Student: This appointment type encompasses those individuals who are actively pursuing their education at a college or university but have not yet achieved professional status. The formal designation "Student" acknowledges active collaboration between an individual and NMNH staff.
Visiting Scientist: Not an academic appointment. Those professionals working independently within the National Museum of Natural History research and collection facilities.
Emeritus: Emeritus staff are NMNH research staff who have elected to retire. NMNH Scientists who choose to retire are often highly productive and have no intention of ceasing their research activities. As researchers and colleagues, they remain important to international science and to our intellectual community within the museum. Because of their experience in a specialist field, they usually have a unique role to play within the academic community.
Adjunct Senior Scientist: The title of Adjunct Senior Scientist may be awarded by NMNH to distinguished professionals who seek to significantly contribute to the intellectual life of the Museum through their active participation in the care and curation of the collections; active research and publication; service on NMNH and/or SI committees; and mentoring of students working with NMNH scientific staff.
Individuals awarded an academic appointment by the National Museum of Natural History are not employees of the Smithsonian and do not receive pay or financial award as part of the appointment.
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