FAQs for Students

Who can apply?

To be eligible for the programme, students must be enrolled at a New Zealand university at the time of application.

When over summer does the internship take place?

You must be available for training on 21 and 22 November. The internship will start on 25 November and finish on 14 February. In a few cases, interns have negotiated slightly different dates but this is unlikely. Most (but not all) organisations shut down over the Christmas period so you will get a holiday then. If you need more time off than this, please mention it in your application.

Can I hold a part time job at the same time as the internship?

Unless you like working 60 hour weeks then no, probably not. Almost all our placements expect you to be available during the usual working week for the whole period. If you are planning to study at the same time, please mention this on your application and be aware most people would find that quite difficult.

What background and skills do successful applicants have?

Successful applicants have a good GPA (usually above 6) in a scientific or numerate subject and good communication skills. This includes political science, social sciences, ecology, computing and engineering. They have usually completed at least 200 level study and, in some cases, are studying for a postgraduate qualification. We also value cultural competencies, communication skills, computing and statistical literacy, and a can-do attitude.

How do I calculate my GPA?

Your GPA is a number between -1 and 9 that reflects your average grade. These guidelines are those followed by most New Zealand universities, in particular the University of Auckland and the University of Canterbury.

A+ 9 points; A   8 points; A-  7 points; B+ 6 points; B   5 points; B-  4 points; C+ 3 points; C   2 points; C- 1 point; D  0 points; E -1 points.

Courses should be weighted by their credit points (eg, a 30-point course has double the weight of a 15-point course).

In some areas my GPA is high enough but my overall GPA is lower. Can I still apply?

We appreciate that for many students tertiary education is not straightforward. However, we know that many students bring other skills to their placement that can be very useful. If you think this could be you then please apply, but make sure you highlight your relevant skills in your application so we can give you credit for them.

Can international students apply?

International students are welcome to apply but you must be currently enrolled at a New Zealand university. It is the responsibility of the student to check the internship does not contravene the terms of their visa. We ask you to state your citizenship on the application as we sometimes have a small number of placements that require NZ citizenship or permanent residency

Where would I be based? Do you cover relocation costs?

We have projects all over New Zealand. In a few cases we are able to assist with relocation costs but in most cases we place students in an area where they have said they could live without relocation costs. Interns must arrange their own travel and accommodation for the period of the internship. Most interns find accommodation through the local university’s halls of residence.

What support will I get?

Most of our partner organisations have internal support for interns. They know that to get the best from you, you will need guidance and support. We also give all interns an academic supervisor that you will meet during the summer. They can help with any problems you are having.

Interns attend a two-day workshop at the beginning of the internship. The workshop is an opportunity for students to meet each other. There are sessions on professional skills including expectations of the partner organisations, the academic supervisors and the interns; professional relationship skills; attitude and work ethic; and ethical use of data. We also run sessions on software carpentry, which introduces the core computing skills needed to be productive in a small research team.

How much will I get paid?

All interns will receive a $7,200 stipend, to be paid in fortnightly instalments. In most cases this stipend is tax-free.

Can I express a preference for a specific project in the application process?

Yes, we give candidates an opportunity to express a preference for a particular programme or project in their application.

Who can I contact for more information before I can apply to the programme?

If you need further advice to help with your application, please send us a brief email outlining your query.


Timeline 2019-20


  • Jul/Aug – applications open
  • 6 Sep – applications close
  • 23 Sep – 4 Oct – interviews for some projects
  • Mid to late Oct – successful candidates informed
  • 21-22 Nov – training days
  • 25 Nov – internships start
  • 13 Feb – internships end
  • 14 Feb – intern feedback workshop