Graduate Student Internship Program in Primary Sources


The Columbia University Libraries’ Graduate Student Internship Program is designed to enrich graduate studies and professional training in primary sources through an introduction to archival work, supplemented with a program of lectures, workshops and tours.

A three-year pilot project of this program (2007-2010) was funded by the Mellon Foundation.

Core Program

Work in the archives includes:

  • Training in archival processing practices under the supervision of curators and archivists.
  • Arranging, describing, and cataloguing collections in one’s area of research and interest.
  • Creating finding aids, once a collection has been processed, for online publication.
  • Learning to uncover primary source collections relevant to one’s research and to better understand the nature, origin and uses of primary sources.


Rounding out the experience:

  • Behind-the-scenes tours of participating libraries and archives.
  • Presentations by library staff on oral history, digital archives, issues of conservation and preservation, new ways to research, and introductions to collections.
  • Discussions by Columbia faculty and outside scholars on issues of privacy and confidentiality facing researchers, the creation of special collection libraries, and their own researching adventures in the archives. Past speakers have included: 
    • Thomas Staley, Director of the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas, Austin
    • Peter Wosh, Director of the Archival Management and Public History Programs at New York University
    • James McGrath Morris, author of The Rose Man of Sing Sing: A True Tale of Life, Murder, and Redemption in the Age of Yellow Journalism.


Graduate or professional students, currently matriculated at Columbia University are eligible to apply.

Terms & Duration

  • Six internships are available
  • June 1, 2016 - mid-May 2017, for up to 350 hours
  • The bulk of the work is completed during the summer
  • Interns are encouraged to work in the fall and spring semesters as their schedules permit
  • The rate of pay is $20.00/hour