Graduate Students

Fellows' Career Development

Graduate Students

Graduate Students

Fellows' Career Development

Graduate students have the opportunity to conduct all or part of their dissertation research in the resource-rich NIH environment. Students come to NIEHS through individual agreements negotiated between their university mentor and an investigator at NIH. In all cases, degrees are granted by the university partner. Graduate Students can also conduct research at NIEHS through the Summer Internship Program (SIP). Find specific information about the NIEHS Summer Internship Program (Research Triangle Park, North Carolina).

Predoctoral IRTA and Visiting Fellow Stipend Ranges for All Localities

Program Requirements | Application Process | Housing | Stipend

Program Requirements

(Source: The Graduate Partnerships Program (GPP))

Eligibility: There are many NIH-University partnerships available to U.S. citizens, U.S. permanent residents, or international graduate students. Review the partnership descriptions to determine which pathway, partnerships, and online application form are most appropriate for your admission consideration. Most individuals who conduct a predoctoral fellowship at NIEHS do so through an individual partnership with an area university.

Background Check: Please note any fellowship offer is contingent on your ability to successfully pass a federal background check, which is required for logical and physical access to NIH facilities and systems. As part of the clearance process, you will be asked “In the last year, have you used, possessed, supplied, or manufactured illegal drugs?”  This question pertains to the use of controlled substances or drugs as defined under federal law. Please be aware that while marijuana may be legal or decriminalized within your home jurisdiction it remains illegal under U.S. federal law. The use, possession, supply, or manufacture of marijuana may preclude you from obtaining the necessary clearances to participate in NIH intramural training programs, even if you were initially offered a position. If you have questions about this policy or would like guidance on the clearance process, please reach out to the Office of Intramural Training & Education (please put eligibility inquiry in the subject line).

Application Process

The GPP utilizes an Application Center to help prospective students navigate to the appropriate application for admission consideration.


NIEHS is located between Raleigh and Durham in the Research Triangle Park. Public transportation is limited to the services provided by RTP Connect, which subsidizes up to $10 per Lyft trip to get from the Regional Transit Center in RTP to NIEHS. As a government agency, we cannot endorse specific housing arrangements or advise on where to live. However, we have put together a guide about moving to the RTP area for informational purposes only.

Moving to RTP

Here you will find a 9-page guide containing a wealth of information about living in and moving to the Research Triangle region of North Carolina.


The stipends for graduate students at NIH are adjusted yearly; the level depends on prior research experience and number of years at NIH as a graduate student.

Predoctoral (Graduate Student) IRTA and Visiting Fellow Stipend Levels - effective May 1, 2023

Postbaccalaureate Education or Training Completed Upon Activation of Award*Initial StipendSecond YearThird YearFourth YearFifth Year
0-1 year$46,100$55,400$57,300$59,300$59,300
1-2 years$48,300$55,400$57,300$59,300$59,300
2-3 years$50,400$55,400$57,300$59,300$59,300
> 3 years$50,400$55,400$57,300$59,300$59,300

* Postbaccalaureate education or training completed upon activation of award can include relevant full-time/equivalent postbaccalaureate research experiences, professional, medical, and graduate school enrollment. If someone has, e.g., 1 year plus 3 months of education or training, he/she should receive the 1-2 year stipend.

Resources for Current Graduate Students

Graduate Student Handbook

This handbook has important information about the program. Note: some of the information in this handbook is specific to trainees located at the main NIH campus in Bethesda, Maryland.

Office of Fellows’ Career Development (OFCD):

OFCD staff are located at NIEHS and offer programming and training for NIEHS graduate students. We typically have new fellow orientation the first Thursday of every month, be on the lookout for information in your email. OFCD can help you with career planning and any NIEHS- specific questions that may come up. The director of the OFCD is Mercedes Arana, Ph.D.

Office of Intramural Training and Education (OITE):

OITE staff are primarily located in the Bethesda, Maryland area but travel to NIEHS often and offer videocasts and webinars of their programming. In addition, OITE provides an on-site career counselor to NIEHS twice per month. OITE has a webpage devoted to FAQs for Graduate Students at NIH.

NIEHS Trainees' Assembly:

The NIEHS Trainees Assembly (NTA) is an organization coordinated and governed by NIEHS scientists-in-training and was created through the support of the NIEHS Office of the Scientific Director in order to foster the professional development of NIEHS trainees. The membership is comprised of all non-tenured/non-tenure track, non-permanent scientists training at the institute. Due to the diversity of scientists in training at the NIEHS and the broad range of training needs, the NTA organizes and sponsors a variety of activities.

NIEHS Biomedical Career Symposium:

The NIEHS Career Symposium is one of the largest assemblies of biomedical organizations and young scientists in Research Triangle Park, NC. Targeting postdoctoral fellows and graduate students, the Career Symposium provides young scientists with an opportunity to explore a myriad of career options and create a contact network as they plan for their future careers in the biomedical sciences. The symposium features workshops and career panels that showcase the wide variety of career path options available to current and prospective PhD-holders. The event also features up to 100 CV/resume review sessions, along with time for networking with company representatives in the afternoon.

Annual NIH Graduate Student Research Symposium:

Each year the OITE hosts a symposium to highlight NIH graduate students which gives them a platform to showcase their research to their peers and to the greater NIH community. They Symposium takes place at the main campus of NIH in Bethesda, Maryland. The Symposium hosts keynote and opening talks from world-renowned scientists, policymakers, and senior NIH leadership. Over 100 students present their dissertation projects during the poster session. Additionally, several students are selected to present their research in the form of a short talk.