IMPORTANT UPDATE: In compliance with the Duke COVID-19 response regarding travel and other restrictions, we have temporarily suspended the Graduate Student Training Enhancement Grant (GSTEG) review process. We will retain all applications already submitted, and will contact applicants directly to inform them about the suspension, and any updates that emerge. The Formstack portal will remain live through the original deadline of March 23 to allow the completion of any in-process applications. // 3.18.20 

Deadline: March 23, 2020


The goal of this grant competition is to expand the opportunities for graduate students to augment their core research and training by acquiring additional skills, knowledge, or experiences that are not available at Duke and that will enhance their capacity to carry out original research. We believe such experiences will lead to better preparation/training, whether for academic positions or other career trajectories. Supported activities include:

  • an internship with a community organization, government agency, NGO, or cultural institution, related to the student’s area of study (doctoral students only);
  • participation in a cognate training workshop; or
  • a field research opportunity that includes specific training.

For the 2020 competition, proposals from doctoral students for summer internships will receive particular attention. Please note that we will only provide funding for experiences with not-for-profit hosts, such as NGOs, cultural institutions, foundations, and government agencies. Applicants will need to demonstrate how the activities associated with the proposed research experience aligns with their fields of study and research interests.

The Graduate Student Training Enhancement Grants (GSTEG) resource page includes information and advice about how to explore research experiences eligible for GSTEG support.

Restrictions and Parameters

  • Grant funds may not be used for attendance at conferences, nor for internships by master’s or professional students.
  • We encourage potential applicants for training experiences to consult the 2020 Duke Graduate Summer Academy offerings (updated by Feb. 1) to see if those short courses can address their needs.
  • Internships may be proposed for one, two, or three months – successful applicants will receive a standard per-month stipend. Doctoral applicants for these internships may include a separate budget request for travel costs if the internship will take place outside commuting distance from Durham, North Carolina. Living expenses, however, should come out of the stipend.
  • Doctoral students who wish to explore an internship outside North Carolina may encounter additional obligations concerning tax filing in the jurisdiction where the internship takes place. We encourage any doctoral students who wish to propose an internship outside North Carolina to pay close attention to the tax information provided on the GSTEG resource page.
  • International students who wish to apply for an internship should consult as soon as possible with Duke Visa Services for assistance with filing applications for Optional Practice Training and any other visa-related requirements.
  • Recipients of GSTEG funding for a summer internship cannot receive other Duke summer funding.
  • For doctoral students in years 1 or 2 who are applying for a summer internship, GSTEG can support direct travel (transportation) costs as well as an additional $500 grant per month to cover supplemental expenses.


  • All current graduate students (post-undergraduate, including master’s, professional, and doctoral students) in any program at Duke University may propose graduate training enhancement activities, aside from summer internships, which are only available to doctoral students.
  • All internships and cognate training experiences proposed must be performed outside of Duke (i.e., may not involve research, training, or other engagement with a Duke unit).
  • Previous GSTEG awardees may not apply; however, any students in years 1 or 2 who receive a GSTEG to support an internship will remain eligible for a non-internship-related GSTEG in later years, so long as we continue the program.

Selection Criteria and Review Process

Proposals should specify the type of GSTEG award being sought (summer internship, cognate training opportunity, or fieldwork opportunity that includes a training component), describe the nature of activities, and explain how the experience will contribute to the student’s intellectual trajectory and impact their dissertation research or capstone project. Successful past applications have made a compelling case for how the proposed experience would amplify the student’s intellectual agenda beyond the standard offerings within their program and otherwise available at Duke. The review process of submitted proposals will be overseen by the Vice Provost for Interdisciplinary Studies and the Executive Vice Provost.

Scope and Duration

The proposed experience may last for up to three months in the summer. In the case of proposals for a cognate training workshop or field research opportunity that includes specific training, awards are capped at $5,000 (though past awards of this type have averaged approximately $2,000). For summer internships, awards are capped at $2,700 per month, in addition to any travel expenditures to get to the location of the host organization.

Proposal Requirements

The Provost’s Office uses Formstack to submit applications. You will be asked to provide the following information:

  • An updated CV (maximum two pages);
  • A brief narrative (maximum three pages) that articulates the proposed activities, how the experience will contribute to amplifying research training, and how it fits with overall academic, research, and professional plans, and that also explains why the experience is not available at Duke;
  • In the case of summer internship applications, a letter from the prospective host that offers details about the anticipated project or projects and identifies the person within the organization to whom the doctoral student would report;
  • In the case of summer internship applications, a brief plan (maximum one page) for any complementary training/research activities that a doctoral student will undertake during the course of the engagement with the host (such as other specific research activities or dissertation writing);
  • A proposed budget (maximum one page) for up to $5,000 for cognate training and field research with a training component, and up to $2,700 per month for a summer internship plus any direct travel costs, and timeline for use of the funds;
  • A letter or e-mail of support from your primary faculty mentor, sent separately to Amy Feistel,, indicating how the proposed activities will enhance the student’s intellectual trajectory;
  • For international students applying for a summer internship, a description (maximum one page) of how the proposed activities align with visa requirements;
  • A listing of all other concurrent proposals for funding to support the proposed activities (if applicants receive news about other funding proposals after the submission deadline, they should provide updated information to Amy Feistel, Awardees will be asked to provide an update when any additional funding for the proposed activities is awarded/received.

To apply, visit The deadline is March 23 by 5:00 p.m.


RFP released 1/14/2020
RFP deadline for submission 3/23/2020, by 5:00 p.m.
Grant recipients notified 4/15/2020
Funds made available (or sooner upon request) 5/01/2020
Funds to be expended by 6/30/2021


The GSTEG resource page provides:

  • Advice for doctoral students who wish to explore an individualized/custom summer internship;
  • Information about tax implications of internships occurring outside of North Carolina;
  • Links to information about past GSTEG awardees.


For any questions related to the online application and/or other logistical questions, please contact Amy Feistel, For questions about whether to pursue a GSTEG application, or to talk through specific ideas for a proposal, such as identifying a potential summer internship host and developing a proposed plan of summer internship activities, the following individuals can provide guidance:

  • Melissa Bostrom, Assistant Dean, Graduate Student Professional Development, Duke Graduate School, (any discipline, PhD and research master’s students)
  • Heather Nickel, Senior Career Specialist, Office of Biomedical Graduate Education, (biomedical sciences)
  • Maria Wisdom, Director of Graduate Student Advising and Engagement for the Humanities, (humanities and interpretive social sciences, including interested SJD and ThD students)


When is a good time to pursue a GSTEG application?

We have seen strong applications from early phase graduate students and those who are much later in their program. The key is to articulate how the proposed experience will enhance your training in a substantial way, that the timing makes sense in light of where you are in your program, and that you cannot get the experience at Duke.

Who is available to discuss whether a GSTEG proposal makes sense for me this year?

As with so many questions that confront graduate students, it’s a good idea to get input from multiple sources, though the mentors and sounding boards that make sense for individuals will vary. Your professors, your program’s DGS, key staff members with expertise about professional development, and peers can all be helpful; and of course you will need to discuss any proposal with your faculty advisor, since she/he will need to write a letter of endorsement on your behalf.

I’m a master’s student and would like to apply for a grant to fund a research internship.

We’re sorry – grants to support research internships are only available for doctoral students.

What kinds of training opportunities would this grant support for master’s students?

We encourage master’s students to explore cognate training opportunities that can augment your core research by acquiring additional skills, knowledge, or experiences that are not available at Duke. You can read about previous GSTEG-supported training opportunities in the year-end reports that are available on the GSTEG page.

I’m a doctoral student who is intrigued by the possibility of developing a proposal for a summer internship, but don’t have a good sense of how to get started. Who might be able to help me think about possible internships linked to my course of study and research interests, and guide me in reaching out to potential hosts and conceptualizing a proposal?

Several doctoral students around Duke have had internships. The GSTEG resource page includes links to reflections from these students, as well as some more general tips. In addition, there are several individuals who can help you think through this process, including:

  • Melissa Bostrom, Assistant Dean, Graduate Student Professional Development, Duke Graduate School, (PhD and research master’s students in any area of knowledge)
  • Heather Nickel, Senior Career Specialist, Office of Biomedical Graduate Education, (biomedical sciences)
  • Maria Wisdom, Director of Graduate Student Advising and Engagement for the Humanities, (humanities and interpretive social sciences, including SJD and ThD students)

How long should internships be?

The appropriate amount of time for an internship can vary, depending on the nature of the research project(s) that you would be undertaking with your host organization and constraints related to your course of study and obligations within your program. We are willing to consider proposals for shorter-term internships of only one month; but in many cases a duration of two or three months is necessary for interns to get to know collaborators, gain exposure to organizational culture, and complete a more substantial piece of work. (As a reminder, GSTEG internships may last up to three months.)

How should I think about the location of an internship? 

As you consider different hosts for a potential internship, the most important consideration in putting together a GSTEG application is how that experience will enhance your intellectual development. You want to find a host that will offer you the opportunity to engage with research projects that both provide value to the organization and will be relevant for your course of study. It’s also crucial that the host provides you with a clear supervisor and that you are based at the organization, so that you have a window on organizational culture and decision-making.

An internship with an organization near to Duke has some obvious benefits, such as the lack of any need to relocate or sublet housing in Durham, and ongoing proximity to Duke resources. It also has a less obvious benefit – the bureaucracy of taxation will be straightforward, since any additional taxed income will be the result of undertakings that occur within North Carolina.

For many doctoral students, though, there may be distinctive research opportunities with an organization elsewhere in the United States or in another country that align extremely well with your course of study and intellectual path, and that give you access to resources not available locally (e.g., labs with knowledge of particular techniques; proximity to communities for fieldwork; proximity to archives). In such circumstances, give careful thought to any travel or other logistical challenges. As one example of the latter – if you take an internship outside North Carolina, you may need to file a separate income tax return with the relevant jurisdiction.

Doctoral students who wish to propose an internship in the United States but outside North Carolina should focus on opportunities in the following jurisdictions: California; Florida; Georgia; Maryland; New York; South Carolina; Tennessee; Texas; Virginia; and the District of Columbia.

Why do international students who want to pursue an internship need to reach out to Duke Visa Services?

International students need to remain in compliance with the terms of their student visas. Duke Visa Services can assist those students with fulfilling any additional requirements related to Optional Practical Training provisions or other aspects of adhering to visa-related obligations and limitations.

Can I use GSTEG for international opportunities?

For training, yes. For internships, it may depend on the country; contact us to discuss before applying.

What is the minimum number of weeks for an internship supported by GSTEG?

Probably about four weeks. Keep in mind that previous grantees reported that their internships expanded their mentoring networks, and relationships take time to develop.

To what extent does an internship have to be related to my dissertation?

The fit doesn’t have to be tight, but it should exist. There should be a clear connection to your intellectual agenda, more broadly. Make the connection very clear in your application and don’t assume it will be obvious.

Are there other opportunities for gaining skills and experiences on campus, beyond the Duke Graduate Summer Academy?

Yes, Duke has many opportunities. To name a few: the Rubenstein Library has year-long positions, The Graduate School offers administrative fellowships, and Duke University Press recruits graduate interns.

If I previously received a GSTEG grant for training, can I now apply for an internship?

No. With the exception of students in years 1-2 who receive GSTEG funding to support an internship, students may only receive one GSTEG award.

Once you’ve reviewed my application, do you have a mechanism to give feedback about other programs or opportunities at Duke I should consider?

Yes, if we know of a program at Duke that seems like a close substitute, we will let the applicant know.

What have previous GSTEG recipients done for internships?

Look at previous interns’ reflections on the GSTEG resource page.