Summer Associate FAQs

There are several positions that match my background and interests. Should I apply to all relevant positions?

No, you should choose the position that best matches your background and interests. Applicants whose research background matches multiple positions will be reviewed by all appropriate managers to identify a best fit for project and student. Submitting more than one application will not increase your chances of being selected.

Are letters of reference required?

Yes, you will be asked to provide the names and email addresses of two references when you complete your online application. These individuals should be professors or advisors familiar with your research work. NOTE: You will be notified prior to references being contacted.

Will I be paid during my Summer Associate internship?

Yes, students receive bi-weekly compensation for the hours that they work. Compensation is competitive with other research fellowships.

What qualifications are needed to be eligible for the Summer Associate program?

The program is designed for full-time graduate students who have completed at least two years of work that will lead to a doctorate (e.g., PhD, EDD, DRPH, SciD, etc.) or professional degree (e.g., law or medical degree, professional engineer certificate). Exceptions are made for masters' students applying for our engineering and computer or information science positions. Students must be currently enrolled full-time in a graduate degree program (i.e., are not eligible if they have fulfilled all degree requirements).

**Please Note: Exceptions are occasionally made for first year PhD students if they have significant research experience or prior graduate work. In specific circumstances (e.g., in fields such as computer science), students pursuing a master's degree may be considered. Potential applicants who are unsure of their eligibility may apply, but we recommend in this case that you reach out to the Summer Associate program well in advance of the application deadline with a paragraph describing your qualifications to assist the directors in determining your eligibility. Exceptions are decided on a case by case basis.

Does RAND offer any undergraduate internships?

No, RAND only offers graduate level research internships.

Does RAND offer Summer Associate positions for students who have completed their graduate work?

No, Summer Associate positions are for current graduate students. Researchers who have completed their degree are encouraged to apply for a full-time position at or can learn more about our postdoctoral fellowship opportunities at

I am on a student visa and require work authorization to work in the United States. Does RAND offer any visa assistance?

Yes, RAND will work with the student to provide appropriate documentation for the student's International Office at their university to ensure proper work authorization is obtained if a position is offered.

How competitive is the RAND Summer Associate program?

Approximately 40–50 Summer Associates enroll in the program each year. Typically we receive 500–700 applications for these positions.

How long is the Summer Associate program and when does it start?

The program is 12 weeks of full-time research (40 hours a week/5 days a week). There is some flexibility in start and end dates for each student, but the program must be completed between May and October. Shorter assignments are possible on a case-by-case basis; in these cases compensation is pro-rated to reflect time worked. The minimum length for the program is 10 weeks.

What should I expect from my experience?

The program is designed to provide each summer associate with real-world policy research experience and mentorship from senior RAND researchers. Each summer associate is matched with currently funded project(s) and mentor(s), based on educational background, skills and experiences, and available project needs. The mentor(s) and summer associate work together to design an experience where the summer associate spends the summer contributing to the larger, ongoing research project(s).

While in residence at RAND for the 12 weeks, summer associates work with their project teams, attend seminars and functions that are open to all RAND staff, participate in workshops and lunches specific to summer associates, and have the opportunity to network with other RAND researchers. At the end of the summer, associates are expected to deliver a short presentation that summarizes their research findings. Students leave with a better understanding of RAND's research process, along with practical project work that will contribute to the summer associate's job experience.

Will I propose my own project to complete during the Summer Associate experience?

No. Potential mentors with currently funded projects will select Summer Associates whose interests, expertise and skills align with their project. Summer Associates will work together with their mentor to refine the role and project work that they will complete over the summer. Working on currently funded projects allows Summer Associates to learn about what it's like to work at RAND and to integrate with RAND project teams.

Will I find out about the project and mentor I'm matched with before I need to make a decision?

Yes! Students whose applications are under consideration will be contacted for a phone interview. During the phone interview(s) you will meet your potential mentor(s), learn about the project(s) you've been matched with, and have the opportunity to ask questions.

Where are the Summer Associate openings located?

Positions are typically available in RAND's major U.S. offices — Santa Monica, CA; Washington DC; Pittsburgh, PA; and Boston, MA.

Will I have the opportunity to meet with other Summer Associates during the summer?

Yes! Summer Associates in each office location typically get to know each other quite well, with opportunities to interact professionally and socially.

Is relocation assistance provided to students?

Yes, travel assistance to and from your summer associate assignment will be provided to eligible students. RAND will pay transportation costs for one (1) round-trip from your home institution to the RAND office you have been assigned to if you presently live outside the local area.

Does RAND provide any assistance with housing to students during their summer associate assignment?

RAND provides some local housing resources to assist students in their housing search, but students are responsible for securing their own housing as well as the cost of housing while in the program.

Please contact if you have additional questions about the Graduate Student Summer Associate Program.