2015 USP Summer Internship Program

NOTE: We are no longer accepting applications for the Summer 2015 internship cycle.
The United States Pharmacopeial Convention (USP) offers paid summer internships to students of chemistry, pharmaceutical sciences, and related disciplines.  Graduate students with a business or non-profit management focus will be considered for the Member and Professional Relations internship.
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:

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.


The candidate will assist the Compounding Expert Committee’s work in developing compounded preparation monographs based on stability-indicating assays and stability studies conducted by contract analytical laboratories. They will assist in supporting the work of the Expert Committee in developing and revising practice and quality standards for compounding. Duties include evaluation of laboratory work, literature research and review, and participating in working meetings. The candidate will gain increased professional knowledge of pharmaceutical compounding including understanding the regulatory framework around compounding as well as greater insight into USP processes and standards development.

Over-The-Counter Medicines – Prioritization of Strategies for Developing Modern Quality Standards

Assist with the development of strategies for covering over-the-counter (OTC) drug products with USP drug product quality standards.
Duties include researching medicines defined under the therapeutic categories described in the FDA OTC Monograph System and analyzing applicable approaches to developing compendial quality standards. Currently, official USP monographs cover less than 25% of the total OTC medicines marketed. FDA has indicated the potential for safety risks for several cold and cough ingredients due to their sales volume, high exposure per dose, and oral route of administration of most dosage forms. A portfolio of OTC medicines will be evaluated and this information matrixed against both common standard setting approaches and “out-of-the-box” approaches.

Method Development Project-PQM

The candidate will work closely with Promoting the Quality of Medicine (PQM) scientists who are developing chromatographic procedures for analyses of fixed-dose combination medicine products of interest to the PQM program such as anti-malarial, anti-retroviral, and anti-tuberculosis medicines. Duties include literature search for published HPLC procedures for specific medicines, assisting PQM scientists working on method development projects, performing sample preparation studies, and optimizing HPLC conditions for analysis of specific product(s). The candidate will be performing laboratory work using HPLC and the experience will help enhance their analytical method development skills.

Member and Professional Relations (MPR)

Member and Professional Relations (MPR) seeks an intern to support the USP Council of the Convention and Governance Committee for the 2015-2020 cycle. Qualified intern candidates are preferrably at the graduate student level and have degree focus in the business or non-profit management areas.
Internship duties will include but are not limited to the following: managing the call for volunteers for the the Convention committees; researching important stakeholder relationships for USP; assisting MPR staff in the establishment and orientation of volunteer Convention committees for  the 2015-2020 cycle; other duties as needed.
Learn more about USP's three governing bodies by visiting here.
For additional information please contact Joseph Moerke, Convention Affairs Manager, at jhm@usp.org or 301-230-7448.

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 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: Applications are no longer being accepted for 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.

Graduate students with a business or non-profit management focus will be considered for the Member and Professional Relations internship.

Application Procedures

NOTE: We are no longer accepting applications for the Summer 2015 cycle.


  • 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