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Diversity Awards Program – Visiting Student

This program is temporarily closed and we are not taking applications at this time due to COVID.


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Background & Purpose

The Office of Fellowships and Internships offers visiting student awards to increase participation of U.S. groups who are underrepresented in Smithsonian scholarly programs, in the disciplines of research conducted at the Institution, and in the museum field. This program is designed to provide beginning graduate students the opportunity to learn more about the Smithsonian and their academic fields by conducting research using its collections with a Smithsonian research staff member serving as an advisor at the Institution’s many museums, research institutes and offices.



Visiting Student Awards are available for currently enrolled graduate students in fields that are actively pursued by the museums and research organizations of the Institution.  Visiting Students pursue independently designed research projects in association with Smithsonian staff.

Applicants must be:

  • Engaged in graduate study at the time of the appointment
  • In good academic standing with an overall G.P.A. of 3.0 or equivalent
  • U.S. Citizen or U.S. permanent resident
  • Available full-time (40 hours per week) for ten weeks during the summer, fall, or spring.
  • Actively engaged in a field of study that relates to current Smithsonian research


How it Works

Stipend: $600 per week, a small research allowance and with possible travel allowance

All Sessions = 10 weeks, full time (40 hours per week)

  • Deadline: February 1
    • For Summer (beginning after June 1) and Fall (beginning after October 1)
  • Deadline: October 1
    • For Spring (beginning after January 1)


How to Apply

Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact potential advisors and co-advisors to determine the feasibility of the proposed research being conducted at the Smithsonian Institution, and the availability of relevant resources, including collections, archives, and library materials during the proposed tenure dates.  Information about research conducted and the Smithsonian research staff is outlined in Smithsonian Opportunities for Research and Study (SORS).

Once a candidate has established a connection between his/her field of study and current research at the Smithsonian, he/she should then apply through SOLAA.

Once you have created an account and logged into SOLAA you will need to complete all the required information including:

  • Mailing address
  • Academic history
  • Current university or college

Files you will need to upload:

Research Proposal

  • The full statement of your research you plan to undertake at the Smithsonian
  • The importance of the work to your own scholarly goals.
  • Maximum 6 pages double spaced
  • 12 point type

Transcripts (or other materials when transcripts are not issued) from all appropriate institutions are required. Unofficial transcripts are acceptable. If transcripts or other materials are not in English the applicant should provide translations.

Curriculum Vitae or Resume


  • Names and email addresses of two academic references
  • All reference letters are considered confidential unless confidentiality has been waived by the reference
  • Provide a copy of your proposal to your references
  • Through SOLAA you will send an email to these referees so they can provide references through the web
  • Have the reference submit in sufficient time to meet the application deadline



Selection Criteria

The merit of the proposal.

The ability of the applicant to carry out the proposed research and study.

The extent to which the Smithsonian, through its staff members and resources, can contribute to the proposed research.

Applicants should note that it is not possible for the Office of Fellowships and Internships to award a stipend to all qualified candidates. The number of Minority Awards made each year is determined by the availability of funds for the program.

The Smithsonian does not discriminate on grounds of race, creed, sex, age, marital status, condition of handicap, or national origin of any applicant.



2015 Minority Awards Program (MAP) Awardees –Visiting Students 




Minority Awards Program FAQ


If you have any questions please contact Pamela Hudson Veenbaas at 202-633-7070 or send an email to