Summer Internship for International Students

We are accepting a small group of GDL Summer Interns who are international students currently enrolled in Bachelors or Masters degree programs in the social sciences at selected universities in Sub-Saharan Africa. MIT will support the selected international students’ applications for a J1 student visa to be in residence at MIT in the US for between 4 to 8 weeks in June and/or July 2023.  

To be eligible to apply, international students must:

  1. Currently be enrolled in a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree program, with an expected completion date after August 2023, and that degree program must be at a university that is an English-language institution
  2. Must commit to returning to complete their degree program in their current country upon conclusion of the MIT program.  
  3. Be available to be in residence at MIT in the US for at least 4 weeks in June or July 2023 without seriously interrupting their course of study at their current university. 

The strongest applicants will be those with some existing research experience who are actively considering applying to Ph.D. programs in the social sciences in the future. 

While in residence at MIT, students will split their time between participating as (paid) Research Assistants on GDL’s current research projects and working on their own research project (e.g., initial work for a thesis) under the supervision of an MIT faculty mentor. The program also includes weekly workshops with MIT faculty and graduate students, both inside and outside of GDL, during which interns will be exposed to additional research projects and also participate in skills training sessions aimed at preparing them for careers in social science.  

MIT will provide on-campus housing, a full stipend, and health insurance for the period of the residential program, as well as cover all travel and visa application costs. After the in-person portion of the program is complete, international students will have the option of continuing to participate in GDL research activities remotely once they have returned to their home country. 

By providing research experience and mentorship opportunities, the program’s goal is to increase the number of students from the Global South who are in a strong position to secure admissions to Ph.D. programs in the social sciences in the US. 

The following application materials are required: 

  1. Research Statement
  2. CV
  3. Academic transcripts
  4. Contact details for a faculty member who will write you a letter of recommendation for the program
  5. A paragraph about why you want to be a part of this program

Research Statement

The research statement should be approximately 500 words and describe your current research interests, what motivates you to study this topic(s), and how these interests relate to your Bachelors or Masters coursework and/or to your professional or research-related experiences. The statement should also summarize the state of any research efforts you have already undertaken related to these interests (e.g., any initial work on a Masters thesis). 

Application Deadline

The deadline for international students to submit their applications is Friday, January 13. Short-listed applicants will be contacted shortly afterward for Zoom/Skype interviews.  If you have any questions about your eligibility for the international students’ program please contact Prof. Noah Nathan ( or Prof. Ariel White (

The application for international students only is available HERE

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