Alberta Smithsonian Internship Program

The Alberta Smithsonian Internship Program (ASIP) invites ten Albertans each year to participate in an internship with the esteemed Smithsonian Institution, the world's largest consortium of museums located in Washington, D.C.

The complex comprises several specialized museums and research centers that engage in the pursuit of information and knowledge in a variety of disciplines ranging from the arts, culture, and history to the sciences. Work with Smithsonian scholars, scientists, researchers, and educators either in Washington, D.C., or at some of the other Smithsonian sites around the world. Assist with research and help produce world-class programs and exhibits, learn from experts in the fields, make an impact and develop personally and professionally. 

Key information




Summer (Fall or Winter may be possible)

Program type


Application information

Application status


2020 Deadline

Already passed

Program-specific additional requirements

The application is online through the University of Alberta. You will need: transcript, references, resume & letter of intent. There are also residency requirements and citizenship/PR requirements  - see the Eligibility section below. 

2021 applications

We are unsure if this program will run in 2021. Please check back in the fall.

Student experience

Check out the article previous participant Taraya Middleton wrote about her placement at the Centre for Folklife and Cultural Heritage.

There are also student testimonials on the Alberta-Smithsonian website. They also have a FAQ page

Program details

The Smithsonian Institution is the world's largest consortium of museums and comprises several specialized museums and research centres that offer internships to students from various disciplines ranging from arts, culture, and history to sciences. 

Most internships are offered during the summer months, however there might also be internships available during the Fall and Winter semester. 

  1. Costs

    Approximate living costs per month in CAD:

    • Housing: $1,200 (based on shared accommodation with kitchens) 
    • Food: $250 (allowance for students to cook for themselves) 
    • Metro Pass: $47 approximately 
    • Student Guard Insurance: $50

    Please see the funding section for more information.


  2. Funding

    Please note: The Provincial Government is reviewing the funding model and priorities for Advanced Education, which includes the ASIP funding and program. We are unsure if this program will run in 2021 or if the funding below will continue. 

    An internship must be of at least 2 to 4 months in duration to be deemed eligible for ASIP funding . The Program awards a sum of $7000.00 CDN each, for up to ten internships annually. The award is allocated by $6000 in cash and $1000 paid on your behalf to the Smithsonian as a program fee. The actual number of recipients will depend on the specific dates and durations of internships requested, and the ability of the Smithsonian Institution to find placements for the successful nominees. The monetary award will be paid in a lump sum at the commencement of an internship.

    Students are required to pay for a return airline ticket as well as their living and accommodation costs for the duration of their internship from these funds. If an intern is required to withdraw for reasons other than personal health or a family bereavement, a pro-rated amount of the award for the portion of the internship not completed, will have to be returned. For more information on the monetary award, or withdrawal conditions, please contact the ASIP Coordinator.

Housing in Washington D.C. can be difficult to attain and can also be very expensive. ASIP has a working agreement with the Washington Center who have agreed to provide housing for any student participating in the program. Students would be lodged in a 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom, fully-furnished suite. Easily accessible by the metro, students would have access to any of the Smithsonian museums from here. If you are interesting in acquiring housing from the Washington Centre, visit their website at

Students may also wish to consider Georgetown University as another alternative for housing. The University is close to the metro station, which transports student to and from the Smithsonian. Housing during the academic year may be more difficult to secure than over the summer months. Prices will also vary depending on the type of residence students wish to rent. For more information, please visit their website at: 

Please note that all housing applications must be mailed directly to Georgetown University as the ASIP office is not involved in the housing application process. 

Other local universities that offer low cost, short term housing for visitors during the summer are:

• The American University

• Catholic University of America

• Howard University

The following websites may assist students in finding additional housing options in the Washington area:

a) Residency Requirements

To be eligible to receive funding for this grant programs, a student must:

__ be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident;
__ have completed at least two semesters of, as well as be currently registered in and attending, a full-time equivalent in a diploma, baccalaureate, master’s or doctoral program (“Eligible Program”) at an eligible Alberta post-secondary institution
__ be a resident of Alberta, defined for the purposes of these grant programs as any one of the following:
          • born in Alberta;
          • graduated from a high school in Alberta;
          • graduated from an Eligible Program at an Alberta post-secondary institution;
          • lived in Alberta for 12 consecutive months.

b) Academic Requirements

An applicant must: 

__ be currently registered in an approved Doctoral, Master’s, Bachelor’s or an Applied Degree Program at an eligible post-secondary institution in Alberta
__ have completed at least 60 credits (or equivalent) in a full time academic program (or equivalent) at an eligible post-secondary institution in Alberta
__ have a minimum cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.0 (or B) on all post-secondary work
__ have a minimum GPA of 3.2 (B+) in the most recently completed term prior to application deadline


Canadian Citizens or Permanent Residents from other provinces, who are enrolled in an approved Doctoral, Master's, Bachelor's or an Applied Degree Program at an eligible post-secondary institution in Alberta, may be considered, only in the event that suitable Alberta resident applicants cannot be nominated.

c) Personal Suitability

The letter of intent is a key factor in the application process. Do spend time to communicate with the Selection Committee why you should be considered for this award and opportunity. The suitability of each nominee will be ascertained by way of a telephone interview conducted by the ASIP Coordinator.

The application is online through the University of Alberta. Click on the 'Apply Now' button in the right sidebar to create a profile and apply. Applications must be submitted online by January 19, 2020.  For details about the application process click here

Application notes:

- An official transcript needs to be uploaded in the online system. 

- The references are collected electronically through the University of Alberta application system. Once you input their contact information and save the application (by clicking “submit”), it will send a reference requests to your referees. 

- Please indicate your top 2 internship choices (one backup) in your “letter of intent” based on the placements you’ve found through your research on the Smithsonian website. 

- The letter of intent is really important – be sure to highlight how these placements relate to your academic and career goals and interests and talk about not only how you will benefit from the placement but also why your education and experience make you a great candidate for these positions.

- Tailor your resume to the positions, highlighting relevant education and experience. Career Services can review your resume for you and offer you some tips if you like and the Writing Centre should be able to help review your statement of purpose.


A few other tips on the U of A application system:

- You must complete ALL fields in the “New Work Abroad” application section
- Then choose your “Preferred Work Abroad Destinations” (at least one)
- Then click “Declaration of Applicant”
- Then click “Submit my Selection” before continuing on to the supporting documents section
- You can hit “submit” and still work on your application – it just shows up as incomplete on their end. As long as everything is complete by January 19,  you’re set!

Have questions?

Before you begin your application please contact Tara Jorgensen for application tips, and any questions about the application.

Students will apply through the University of Alberta for this program and successful students will be advised by the Alberta Smithsonian coordinator, Brendan Cavanaugh, who can also answer questions about the program. 

International travel presents challenges that may not be found when attending classes on campus. There may be a lack of resources, emergency services, hospitals, accessibility issues and/or demands on the physical and the mental self, all of which can challenge individuals when away from their usual support systems and structures. Adequate preparation is essential.

For this reason, it is imperative that you evaluate all aspects of your own physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual condition against the rigors of the particular study abroad program you are selecting. If you are unsure of whether or not this program is a good fit for you and/or if you have any circumstances that could impede your enjoyment of the program, please contact us. Our Study Abroad Team will be happy to assist in finding the best options for you and arrange any supports or accommodations necessary to ensure your success.

Please note if you have or are seeking a certificate from Student Accessibility Services, you should provide this early to your Study Abroad Advisor to ensure that the option that you are seeking can support your needs.