2015 USP Summer Internship Program

The United States Pharmacopeial Convention (USP) offers paid summer internships to students of chemistry, pharmaceutical sciences, and related disciplines.
Selected applicants spend 12 weeks at USP global headquarters in Rockville, Maryland, working on defined projects that expand and enhance USP's core strategic initiatives focusing on the following areas:

USP Food and Drug Informatics Database (Spectral Library)

As the leading global standard-setting organization for medicines, foods, and dietary supplements, USP is expanding and enhancing its activities to fight counterfeit and substandard food and drug substances and products, as well as its research and innovation capabilities.

USP Spectral Library Project is a new initiative to explore the feasibilities and establish an authoritative and comprehensive collection of spectral information and pertinent information on medicine, food and dietary supplement quality. USP Spectral Library can be a useful tool for regulatory authorities, law enforcement agencies, hospitals, pharmacies, manufacturers and distributors around the world.

Reference Standards Laboratory

The candidate will work closely with the early procedure evaluation 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.

Healthcare Quality Standards

Assist in provision of drug information to support the Healthcare Quality Expert Committee.  Assist in creating drug reviews and maintaining health informatics database to support the USP Medicare Model Guidelines classification of marketed drugs.  Assist in the development of standards related to patient safety including, but not limited to electronic health records allergy/intolerance reporting,  the content and format of screen display on electronic media used in healthcare,  revisions to USP pictograms and other standards to improve health literacy, and research related to electronic environments that promote safe medication use.  Other topics related to the National Quality Strategy may also be identified by the April 2015 Convention that may shape the agenda of the Expert Committee.  Read about USP's Council of Experts and Expert Committees

Seeking PharmD candidates with drug information experience, and preferably in the last two years of professional training.

Internship Fast Facts

  • Duration: 12 weeks, 37.5 hour work week
  • Location: U.S. Pharmacopeia Headquarters is walkable from the Twinbrook Metro Station, and a short Metro ride from central Washington, D.C.
  • Dates: May 25, 2015–August 14, 2015
  • Compensation: Participants receive an hourly rate for each hour worked. Interns are responsible for travel, housing, and living expenses.
  • Application Deadline: February 3, 2015
  • Contact: OnaLee Dougherty, Talent Acquisition Specialist, at ocd@usp.org, 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: ocd@usp.org

Applications must be received no later than February 3, 2015.  USP will contact applicants quickly following the deadline to schedule interviews.