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USGS Earthquake Science Center Internship Opportunities

The U.S. Geological Survey's Earthquake Science Center offers exciting student services contractor positions for students and recent grads seeking scientific or administrative experience in any of our offices located in Pasadena, California; Moffett Field, California; Seattle, Washington; and Vancouver, Washington. 

What do student contractors do? 

Student contractors participate in an intensive hands-on employment experience typically over a 12-week summer internship, working side by side with USGS mentors and/or scientists, who will provide day-to-day direction and oversight. They engage in specialized research/activities within their field of study/work, form contacts with fellow scientists/co-workers in various technical fields, gain professional training, and explore potential career opportunities. 

photo of interns in the field near Pt. Arena Lighthouse

Who is eligible? 

Generally, you must be: 

  • at least 18 years old, and 
  • eligible to work in the United States (U.S. Citizen or appropriate work visa), and 
  • currently enrolled in a degree program at a recognized educational institution, or 
  • a recent graduate (within two years of graduation).

Some student services contracts announcements may list additional eligibility requirements.  

Where can I work? 

Contract availability is determined by the needs of the respective offices of the Earthquake Science Center. Past positions have been offered in: 

  • Pasadena, California
  • Moffett Field, California
  • Vancouver, Washington
  • Seattle, Washington

These positions are designed for interns to work in USGS offices with their mentors and other USGS contractors and employees. We have regular intern cohort activities including weekly activities. It is expected that students will work full time and report to their duty office at least 3 days/week for the summer.  

What are the benefits? 

Student Services Contracts offer the flexibility (full/part-time) students require, while providing competitive pay based on training/experience, travel expenses, training, workers' compensation and equipment/supplies as needed. Note that since student contractors are not considered federal employees, they do not receive federal benefits. If you have a particular question, contact Additional benefits, depending on the position, may include:

  • Scientific mentors and teams providing technical advice  
  • Specialized research related to your field of work/study 
  • Explore and gain greater access to scientific careers in various fields 
  • Competitive salary based on training and experience
  • Contacts with fellow scientists in various technical fields 
  • Join weekly mentoring, science, and career-development seminars 
  • Participate in a group field trip around Northern California and get to visit USGS office

How much would I get paid? 

Students are compensated via a pre-determined hourly wage rate based upon academic coursework, training, and region.  

What is the length of employment under a typical contract? 

This summer internship is 12 weeks. Ideally, students on-board in early June but start date can be flexible. Occasionally, student services contracts can be extended for up to 3 years. Summer internships are generally expected to be full-time, with an expectation of being in the duty office ~3 days/week but individual positions may be part-time or full-time.  

How do I apply? 

Summer internship opportunities are generally advertised around early- to mid-February each year. To apply, you will need to include your CV or resume, as well as unofficial school transcripts. You may need official transcripts at a later date.  

We are no longer accepting applications for 2024, but watch this space for information on 2025 opportunities in early 2025.

Please send any questions to