USP Summer Internship Program

Spend your Summer Improving Global Public Health

USP offers paid summer internships to students of chemistry, pharmaceutical sciences, and related disciplines. Selected applicants spend 12 weeks at USP–U.S. in Rockville, Maryland, working on defined projects that expand and enhance USP's core strategic initiatives focusing on the following areas:

Global Legal Affairs

The legal intern will work closely with lawyers and other staff in the legal department on general business and health law issues. The candidate will review USP’s website terms of use and privacy policy, and determine whether they are up to date, and whether they require localization. Legal intern will also be working with attorneys at the USP sites to help determine whether USP’s current policies adequately address use of social media.  Assist in compiling a Labor and Employment Manual that captures key laws pertinent to the field offices.  Perform research on legal, regulatory and policy issues arising from USP’s standards-setting activities and role in U.S. federal law.  Survey international laws related to nonprofit organizations and other specific areas.

Healthcare Quality Standards–Two Opportunities

Assist in developing a classification schema for all US marketed drug products that may be utilized by health plans offering insurance as defined by the Affordable Care Act. 
Internship 1
The purpose of this project is to provide support for the health information technology initiatives by providing a Unique Ingredient Indentifier (UNII) for substances in drugs, biologics, food and devices based on molecular structure, identifying nomenclature and/or identifying descriptive information.
The intern will assist in developing unique global identifiers of substances, including impurities, metabolites and excipients present in USP reference standards using FDA substance registration system/ Ingredient dictionary (SRSID) and Global Ingredient Archival System (GInAS) developed by  National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATs). Students with background in database development, Chemistry and Pharmacy are encouraged to apply.
Internship 2
Assist with updates to the Medicare Model Guidelines, a list of categories and classes of drug products that may be used by prescription drug plans. The updates will reflect changes in therapeutic uses of covered Part D drugs and the additions of new covered Part D drugs.
Assist expert committees in developing standards related to patient safety including, but not limited to revisions to USP pictograms, addressing emerging medication safety issues and performing related research.
Internship 3
Assist with development and  execution of strategic marketing activities, stakeholder engagement, and educational program development related to USP Healthcare Quality Standards, such as Compounding Standards, Handling of Hazardous Drugs, Patient Centered Prescription Container Labeling, and other topics.  Assist scientific marketing director in execution of stakeholder roundtables, educational campaigns, social media and website activities.  There may also be attendance at local stakeholder meetings over the summer.  Students with background in Pharmacy are encouraged to apply. 

Reference Standards Laboratory

The candidate will work very closely with the early procedure evaluation (EPE) group in the Reference Standards Laboratory (RSL) to evaluate analytical procedures for new monographs or modernization/harmonization of monographs in USP/NF. The candidate will also assist in the evaluation and qualification of USP reference standards and the continued suitability for use program. Duties include performing laboratory testing using analytical techniques such as Karl Fisher, UV-Vis, FTIR, liquid and gas chromatography, and NMR to analyze pharmaceutical active ingredients, excipients, dietary supplements, biologics, and food ingredients. The candidate will generate and analyze analytical data and spend most of his/her assignments working in the laboratory. 

Stakeholder Surveillance Project

Intern would conduct online research on the top priorities, activities, and programs of 30 stakeholder organizations and develop 2 page reports on each as a view of the moment of these organizations. The intern would develop a comprehensive view of how other organizations function in relation to a global standards-setting organization. The intern may have to attend the meetings of some of these organizations with staff as appropriate. Research capabilities, familiarity with social media, understanding of the global healthcare landscape is a plus, business courses are a plus.

Promoting the Quality of Medicines (PQM): Data Availability - Medicines Quality Database Framework Redesign

The candidate would work closely with PQM managers to review the framework of PQM’s Medicine Quality Database will reviewed to generate standards that can be applied to high quality data available in the literature. This data will be incorporated into the MQDB and subsequently used to improve the dynamism and multi-variable dependency of the MQDB. Students with regulatory or life sciences background with literature review experience, and ability to work in a team environment with nationals from various backgrounds and cultures but also operate independently are encouraged to apply.

Global Health Impact Programs (GHIP): Quality Assurance Solutions – Product Design and Attributes

The candidate will work closely with GHIP staff to define design variables that constitute an ideal, effective field-based quality assurance solution. This work will complement USP’s new emerging quality assurance solutions program and stimulate targeted investment by solution manufacturers. Students who are innovative thinkers with an engineering (preferably chemical or mechanical) background and ability to work in a team environment with nationals from various backgrounds and cultures but also operate independently are encouraged to apply.

Global Public Health (GPH) Development - Partnerships – Mapping of global health programs

The candidate would conduct desk-based research and re-purpose an existing report to identify and map global health programs that are related to the portfolio of solutions within GPH program units. The internship will also involve outreach to relevant NGOs, IGOs, multiplier groups, and bilateral and multilateral donor agencies. Student with background in public health, health economics, international development of international relations and policy background (or related field of study), are logical, innovative thinkers with excellent organizational skills and an attention detail, and ability to work in a team environment with nationals from various backgrounds and cultures but also operate independently to deliver a final product to support strategic decision making for 2017 are encouraged to apply.

Dietary Supplement Admission

The purpose of this project is to provide support for Admission Evaluations of dietary supplement (DS) articles proposed for USP DS quality monograph development. Admission Evaluations precede monograph development and determines whether or not a DS articles under consideration for monograph development is admitted into the monograph development process.

The intern will assist by performing a review of the literature related to safety of two articles for which monographs are proposed. The review will entail critically evaluating information from peer-reviewed literature and synthesizing the information to determine whether an article may present safety concerns based on the available information. Students with background in Pharmacology, Toxicology, Pharmacognosy, and Pharmacy are encouraged to apply.


Internship Fast Facts

  • Duration: 12 weeks, 37.5 hour work week
  • Location: USP–U.S. is walkable from the Twinbrook Metro Station, and a short Metro ride from Washington, D.C.
  • Dates: May 31 - August 19, 2016
  • Compensation: Participants receive an hourly rate for each hour worked. Interns are responsible for travel, housing, and living expenses.
  • Application Deadline: February 9, 2016.
  • Contact: OnaLee Dougherty, Talent Acquisition Specialist, at, for more information.


  • Enhance appreciation and understanding of USP's activities in standards-setting, core compendial activities, and global public health
  • Advance scientific and/or practice knowledge
  • Contribute to USP's research and standards knowledge base in a tangible way

Eligibility and Requirements

Undergraduate sophomores, juniors, or seniors and graduate students majoring in chemistry, biology, biochemistry, or pharmacy are eligible. Graduate students in pharmaceutical sciences are also eligible.  

You must have completed basic chemistry courses, including quantitative chemical analysis. International students must possess the appropriate visa. Applicants must demonstrate self motivation, independent work habits, excellent oral and written communication skills, computer competence, and an ability to apply education and experience.

Application Procedures


  • Resume or CV
  • Academic transcript(s)
  • Letter of recommendation
  • Essay (no more than 300 words) describing your interest and aspirations in the pharmaceutical, quality of manufactured medicines, excipients, and healthcare quality standards sciences

Applications may be mailed to:

United States Pharmacopeial Convention
c/o OnaLee Dougherty
12601 Twinbrook Parkway
Rockville, MD 20852-1790, USA

Applications may be e-mailed to: