Scripps Pier silhouetted by sunset


Q. What are the prerequisites for program admission? 

  • While there are no specific course requirements, a background in the physical sciences is highly recommended.

  • This internship is for undergraduate students – freshmen, sophomores, and juniors – who are not currently in their senior year and will be returning for at least another full year of undergraduate work following the internship program. Applicants must have completed their freshman year of college by June 2023.  Senior year undergrads, former MPL interns and high school applicants are not eligible. Applicants must be at least 18 years of age as of the internship start date.

  • Applicants should be considering applying to grad school and interested in oceanography as a career path.

Q. Do I need to be a U.S. citizen to apply? 

Applicant must be either a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident.


Q. What documentation is required for the application process? 

  • Resume.
  • Personal statement of interest (limited to 200 words), including anticipated date of graduation.
  • Academic records / unofficial transcript.
  • Two letters of recommendation from your professors - it is preferred but not mandatory that the letters come from current/recent professors.

Q. What should my statement of interest address or what topics should it cover? 

Your statement of interest might address why you’re interested in this internship, why you're interested in working with specific faculty, why you're interested in working at MPL, what interests you, etc. For assistance with your statement of interest, contact resources at your university, for example an adviser or career center.

Q. Is there a word limit on either the statement of interest or the post-graduation goals? 

The statement of interest can be up to 200 words.  The post-graduation goals can be up to 50 words.

Q. Where should my professors send the recommendation letters? 

After the student submits an application, where the student is prompted to list two professors' email addresses, etc., the system will automatically email each professor, asking each professor to upload a letter of recommendation to our application website via a link provided in each professor’s email. If your professors didn't receive the email, please ask them to check their spam/junk email folders.

Q. Is a salary provided to accepted students?
Interns are paid $16.30 per hour. Note bulleted items below - arrangements should be made accordingly.

  • MPL interns are paid biweekly.
  • Mandatory contribution of 7.5% to the Defined Contribution Plan is subtracted from paychecks. However after you complete the 10-week program and are officially separated from the payroll system you WILL be able to get that money back!
  • To get a rough idea of the cost of living in San Diego, check out Undergraduates Cost of attendance for 2022-2023; in particular review estimates for costs of housing, meals, transportation, and personal expenses.

Q. Is a stipend provided to MPL Summer interns?

Each intern will receive a $6,000 (taxable) stipend to defray the cost of lodging, meals, transportation, etc.

Q. Can I get financial aid or a scholarship to help me pay for my transportation and room and board? 

Financial aid and scholarships are not provided by the Marine Physical Laboratory. Contact your college or university’s scholarship and financial aid office if you need assistance paying for room, board or transportation.

Q. How do I find out more about MPL scientists’ research topics and projects? 

  • Links to MPL research information are available via the MPL website:
    • Research Topics  — Peruse Some of the Research Topics MPL Scientists Are Working On
    • Intern Research — Check Out Former MPL Interns' Research Topics, Responsibilities and More
    • MPL Research Profiles
    • Labs — From the "All Divisions" drop down, select Marine Physical Laboratory (MPL)
  • Search the Internet or other sources for the names of MPL scientists whose work interests you to see if there are other websites with more information concerning them, what they’re working on, and names of other MPL scientists with whom they’re working.
  • You may wish to reach out directly to MPL scientists you’re interested in working with to ask them about their research and projects.

Q. When will the online application be available? 

The online application will be available beginning in late fall. Your application and all your documents must be submitted online via a link you will find at

Q. What is the deadline for submitting an application? 

The deadline for submitting your complete application is 4PM Pacific time on January 13, 2023. All materials must be submitted and/or fully completed no later than this due date, including letters of recommendation from your professors. Applications are not reviewed until after the application due date.

Q. When and how will I be notified that I have been accepted into the program? 

Applicants may be notified by email as early as the first week in February.  All applicants will have been notified by email by the end of April.



Q. When does the program begin? 

The start and end dates are flexible and different for every participant according to their schools’ schedules. However, interns are encouraged to arrive within two weeks of each other and to be present during a core period from late June to mid-August. Most interns arrive mid-June and stay for 10 weeks, depending on their availability and that of their advisor. In all cases, internships must begin no later than the first week in July.   

Q. What is the duration of the program? 

The internship is a 10-week program. The maximum length of participation is 10 weeks. A shorter internship length may be allowed depending on individual circumstances. In all cases, the period of participation must be continuous consecutive weeks only - interns may not take vacation during their 10-week long internship program. 

Q. How many interns participate at a time? 

The number of MPL Summer Internship Program interns varies each summer, but will be capped at 16 interns

Q. Is housing provided? 

Housing is not provided. Interns will need to find and pay for housing on their own. We recommend you seek out fellow interns as possible roommates. Additional information and some on and off-campus options for students are listed below. 

  • UC San Diego Summer Intern Housing Program - It is possible there may be an on-campus option for "UC San Diego Summer Intern Housing" since interns will be engaged in University business. Each intern is responsible for their own housing payment. If available, this housing will open late June and does not include meals. You can read more about it and register for it once registration opens. Campus Guest Housing is not available until the end of UCSD's spring quarter when students move out of the dorms for the summer, If available, this on-campus intern housing will be open from approximately June 24 to September 3. For more information email

  • UCSD Off-Campus Housing Directory - Information to be provided following intern selection/confirmation. 

  • Scripps Institution of Oceanography Housing Email List - You can also have yourself added to the SIO housing email list where announcements are made of available rentals or when roommates are being sought. Information to be provided following intern selection/confirmation. 

  • UCSD Student Off-Campus Housing

  • UCSD Guardian Housing Guide 2016

  • Craigslist 

Q. Is transportation provided?

Round trip travel to and from San Diego is not provided by the program. MPL interns will work in research labs and facilities at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, which is located about 1 mile from the UC San Diego campus. Courtesy shuttles between main campus and Scripps run on weekdays, not including holidays. Interns can also easily walk or bike between the UC San Diego campus and Scripps. Beautiful La Jolla beaches, full-service grocery stores, restaurants, and movie theaters are located within an easy walk or a bus ride from the main UC San Diego campus. The UC San Diego Blue Line Trolley at the Central Campus Station connects UC San Diego to the greater San Diego region, including nearby shopping in UTC and La Jolla Village Square, downtown San Diego, and many of San Diego’s cultural and recreational destinations. Students will find it convenient, but not necessary, to have access to a car to enjoy the San Diego region in the evenings and on the weekends.

Q. Is parking provided?

Parking on campus is expensive and parking at Scripps Institution of Oceanography is often tight—sometimes there are few if any spaces available. Interns will be able to purchase a parking permit thru the UCSD Transportation office. More information about parking is available at Free street parking is limited. You may wish to speak to others who work in your area to find out if they have suggestions before you invest in a permit.


Q. Will I have an opportunity to do fieldwork or go to sea? 

On occasion interns have an opportunity to do fieldwork or go to sea.  The opportunity to do fieldwork varies from project to project. The type of project you engage in will determine your degree of fieldwork. Review previous MPL Summer Intern Research - sometimes previous interns mention that their internship included fieldwork or time at sea.

Q. Can I get college credit for the internship? 

College credit is not offered for MPL internships.

Q. How often do students who attend the program go on to become oceanographers? 

This program is an excellent opportunity to explore and discover career and graduate school opportunities in oceanography. Interns have the opportunity to meet and interact with current graduate students at SIO. Several of our past summer interns are currently SIO grad students.