IMPORTANT NOTE: Due to the ongoing challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, the internships under this program may be offered virtually in addition to or in lieu of in-person internships. We will work with selected students and faculty to determine the most suitable option in accordance with Washington University guidelines.

The International Student Research Internship Program is designed for students currently enrolled at an international university to participate in engineering research at Washington University in St. Louis during the summer months (May through September).

Projects will be in the general areas of biomedical engineering, computer science, computer engineering, electrical engineering, systems engineering, chemical engineering, energy & environmental engineering, mechanical engineering & materials science. Refer to the following pages within each of the five departments in the McKelvey School of Engineering for specific research areas:


Students who participate in the International Student Research Internship Program will have the opportunity to:

  • Conduct independent research on cutting-edge projects
  • Gain exposure to innovative research in expert labs
  • Work closely with faculty, postdocs and graduate students
  • Participate in weekly lectures and learning lunches on a variety of research and professional topics
  • Attend workshops on the graduate school application process
  • Take tours of local St. Louis companies of interest
  • Enjoy social gatherings and fun field trips in and around St. Louis
  • Experience U.S. academic, professional and social culture


Applications are welcome from students meeting the following criteria:

  • Enrolled full-time in a bachelor's degree program at an international university in their penultimate year of undergraduate studies
  • Possess adequate training and background in the subject area of the internship
  • Possess strong motivation and interest in research
  • Must be a non-US citizen or non-permanent resident of the United States

Application Process

Applications must be received by Feb. 28, 2021.

Virtual interviews may be conducted with applicants to assess English communication skills and academic preparation for the research project. Research Interns will be selected for their intellectual promise, curiosity and motivation. Some interns may receive a scholarship or stipend although this is not guaranteed. International students may also seek funding from their home institutions.

Offers will be made to selected interns in late March 2021.

Application Materials Required

  • Resume
  • Unofficial transcript
  • Three research areas of interest
  • One-page personal statement
  • Two references (at least one of these must be from a faculty member at student's current institution).

Application Deadline

Applicants must submit all materials by February 28, 2021.

Apply here

Timing of Internships

International internships typically last from eight to 10 weeks between mid-May and early September, depending on the summer availability of the intern and the availability of the WashU faculty member. Most internships fall approximately within the following three-time frames (exact dates to be negotiated with the faculty):

  • Early Summer: Mid/Late May to late July
  • Mid-summer: Mid-June to mid-August
  • Late Summer: Early-July to early September

Sample Engineering Research Projects

Research undertaken by faculty at the McKelvey School of Engineering spans the breadth of the field. Learn more about the different research projects you could assist with by visiting the Undergraduate Research Opportunities web page. Please note that the information of some of these projects may not be current; the applicant is encouraged to contact the faculty directly for up-to-date project information.

Housing Information

Interns live on campus or nearby. You can learn more about WashU's summer housing options online. Note that summer housing is based on a flat fee for the period May 26 to August 2.

If your internship starts later than May 26 and ends later than Aug. 2, you may wish to consider other housing options, such as subletting a room from a WashU student during the summer. You may find listings for summer sublet apartments by browsing the WashU Apartment Referral Services site.

The Medical School campus (one metro stop from the main campus) also has short-term leasing options available. One such short-term housing option is the CORE Apartments, which are located minutes from the med school.

International student groups at WashU may also be able to connect summer interns with students who have rooms to sub-let for the summer. Visit WashU's Diversity & Inclusion web site for more information about the many international student groups, including (but not limited to):

  • African Students Association
  • Chinese Students and Scholars Association
  • Hong Kong Students Association
  • Korean Students Association
  • Singapore Students Association
  • Thai Students Association
  • Taiwanese Students Association
  • UMANG (Indian Students Association)

Estimated Costs

Description Cost 8 weeks 10 weeks
Summer Intern Campus Housing (per Room) * Flat fee $ 2,500.00 $ 2,500.00
Meals (on campus dining) $100/week $ 800.00 $ 1,000.00
Social Expenses/Field Trips $50/week $ 400.00 $ 500.00
Health Insurance (mandatory) $250.00 $ 250.00 $ 250.00
Other Incidentals (personal items, local transport, etc.) $50/week $ 400.00 $ 500.00
Visa Fees (J-1 SEVIS Fee) $200.00 $ 200.00 $ 200.00
Airfare (average round-trip international flight) $ 2,000.00 $ 2,000.00
TOTAL $ 6,550.00 $ 6,950.00

* Costs may differ for other housing options (subleasing, other off-campus units, etc.)


  • Airport pickup may be provided on arrival in St. Louis (by connecting with international student groups or graduate students in the research lab of your internship).
  • Local transportation is the intern's financial responsibility (bus service and metro-link service).

Lab facilities

All interns will receive office space and a computer for their use during the time of the internship.

Visa Assistance

Once selected for an internship, McKelvey School of Engineering and the Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS) will work with you to process the DS-2019 and J-1 visa for your internship. Interns will be responsible for the visa fees. Please note that it may take up to four weeks after the student submits the necessary paperwork to OISS for the student to receive the DS-2019 form in the mail. This form is required to make a reservation for the visa application in some countries (e.g., China). Please visit the OISS website for visiting students to learn about documentation requirements.