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Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute: Minority Fellowship

by Valerie Cleland on October 22, 2012

Who is Eligible

Although essentially the same program, the Minority Fellowship and Summer Student Fellowship have different admission qualifications. Minority Fellowships are awarded to minority undergraduates who are enrolled in U.S. colleges or universities, who have completed at least one year of undergraduate study, and who have academic interests in physical or natural sciences, mathematics, engineering, or marine policy. Applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents of the United States. Through the Minority Fellowship program, WHOI’s aim is to provide promising students from underrepresented groups with a meaningful first-hand introduction to research in oceanography, oceanographic engineering, or marine policy. Minority groups included for consideration in this particular program include African American or Black; Asian American; Chicano, Mexican American, Puerto Rican and/or other Hispanic; Native American, Native Alaskans, and Native Hawaiians. Minority Fellowships may be awarded for a ten- to twelve-week period in the summer or for a semester during the academic year, and may be renewed the following year.

Academic Credit

WHOI does not offer formal academic credit toward degree requirements for participation in the Summer Student Fellowship or Minority Fellowship Program; although, such credit has often been awarded by the student’s own college or university. Attaining such credit is the Fellow’s responsibility.

Selection Process

Fellows are selected based on the applicant’s previous academic and scientific achievements and promise as future ocean scientists or ocean engineers. Important consideration is given to matching each Fellow with an appropriate advisor on the Assistant, Associate or Senior Scientific Staff or a Senior Technical Staff member. The program is very competitive, with an average of about twelve percent of the applicants receiving awards. Decisions will be made in mid-March.

Choosing a Project

Fellowships are awarded to pursue an independent research project under the guidance of a member of the Scientific or Senior Technical Staff. These projects are typically suggested by the advisor, and are agreed upon jointly by both the student and advisor. The advisors make every effort to help the student select and pursue a research project that can provide meaningful results in one summer’s work. Fellows have an excellent opportunity to select and pursue a research problem with access to more than two hundred practicing research scientists and engineers and to the facilities of a major oceanographic institution.

Finding an Advisor

Although it is not required, we encourage you to make contact with a WHOI Assistant, Associate or Senior Scientist or a Senior Technical Staff member who may be willing to provide an educational opportunity for you in his or her laboratory. Lists of WHOI researchers and their research interests are available at the various department web pages.

Applicants are also encouraged to visit the U.S.G.S. Woods Hole Science Center website for potential sponsors from among their team of research scientists.

Program Requirements

All Summer Student Fellows and Minority Fellows are expected to present a five minute mid-summer progress report to their peers. At the end of the summer, each Summer Fellow and Minority Fellow is required to prepare and hand in a written report describing his or her research. All Fellows are also required to make a public oral presentation of his or her results to their respective departments. It is expected that all Fellows will attend the Summer Lecture Series and the Ethics in Science Workshop. In addition, Fellows are encouraged to participate in the busy summer schedule of seminars and colloquia in the Woods Hole scientific community, which provides an excellent introduction to the many facets of marine science.

Financial Matters/Housing

Summer Student and Minority Fellowship awards for the summer of 2012 carry a stipend of $500 per week for a ten- to twelve-week program.

Additional support is offered for travel.


  • Fellowship awards include Institution housing
  • WHOI housing is typically a shared-room in a shared-unit, with two single beds per room
  • Due to the high demand for housing in the summer, requests for private rooms/private units can not be entertained
  • Due to the limited housing available, please do not make a reservation if you do not intend to stay in institution housing for the entire fellowship period
  • You will be e-mailed an electronic receipt for tax purposes at the end of the summer

Through this program of Fellowship grants, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution’s (WHOI) aim is to give a promising group of science and engineering students experience that will assist them in determining whether they wish to devote careers to the study of the oceans. This program is made possible through the generosity of friends of the Institution and grants from the National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates Program (NSF-REU).

From → Fellowship, Paid

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