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.

Select from the links below to find internships and learn more:


Internship Fast Facts


Eligibility and Requirements

How to Apply


Food Science Program – Food Fraud Risk Analytics

The candidate will contribute to the continued evolution of the USP Food Fraud Database (FFD) through close collaboration with the technical lead and other staff to research and innovative new ways to review, acquire, and analyze potential new data sources to better anticipate food supply chain risks related to food fraud. The candidate will also contribute to the development of automated processes for collecting and monitoring information for FFD records. Students with a food science, data science, or health-related background, strong computer skills, and literature review experience are encouraged to apply. The candidate must be able to work in a team environment and independently. Language skills (such as French, Spanish, or Chinese), technical writing skills, and data analysis experience are preferred.

Foods Strategic Marketing and Program Operations

The candidate will contribute supporting the Foods program strategic marketing and program operations team with increasing the awareness in the industry of USP’s Food Safety and Integrity Solutions. The position will be working in close collaboration with the marketing director and other staff to research marketing automation tools and lead management systems and best practices and report back to the team. The candidate will also be involved in conference management and the management of the overall marketing calendar.  Students with a science background with an interest in marketing/business or a marketing/business background with strong computer skills are encouraged to apply. The candidate must be able to work in a team environment and independently. 

Foods Program Market Research - Market and Key Stakeholder Landscaping

To provide insight into future areas of expansion for the USP Foods Program including areas such as food verification, fraud surveillance, non-targeted detection, functional foods, medicinal foods. In addition, this effort will assess key global stakeholders and USP’s current and proposed future engagement with this stakeholder group. Candidate qualifications could include someone with a foods or marketing focus in their education.

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Dietary Supplements & Herbal Medicines

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

The incumbent will perform a review of the literature related to safety of an article for which USP dietary supplement monograph is 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.

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Healthcare Quality & Safety

Healthcare Quality and Safety – Strategic Marketing and Program Operations

The candidate will work very closely with the Strategic Marketing to assist in the development of healthcare oriented awareness campaigns for USP Compounding Standards. The purpose of this project is to increase awareness and adoption of USP Compounding Standards that guide practitioner best practice. The intern will assist in biomedical and healthcare related research, identify and profile priority stakeholders, develop collateral and programs associated with increasing awareness and adoption on USP Compounding Standards. Students with strong science, clinical knowledge (pharmacy, nursing, allied health) and interest in communication are encouraged to apply.

Healthcare Quality and Safety - Nomenclature and Labeling - Creating Unique Substance Identifiers using Global Ingredient Archival System (GInAS)

The GInAS is a collaborative international effort to develop a global mechanism for substance information exchange spearheaded in the US by NCATS-NIH, FDA and USP. One of the key goals of the project is to develop the software called Global Substance Registration System (G-SRS). This software will be used to register and provide common identifiers for all the medicinal substances and products. G-SRS will be open source and will replace FDA’s current Substance Registration System (SRS). The beta version of this software (G-SRS v1.2.06-beta) has been developed and is ready to be deployed in the last quarter of 2016.

USP being a member of this global consortium is interested in registering and creating unique identifiers (UNII) for all Pharmacopeial substances, including drugs, biologics, dietary supplements and excipients.

The intern will explore beta version of the G-SRS software and its usefulness in registering pharmacopeial substances. Students with background in Information technology, database development and Chemistry are encouraged to apply.

Heathcare Quality and Safety - Compounding

The intern will assist in the development of compounded preparation monographs. The intern will review analytical data evaluating stability of compounded formulations, summarize the analytical data, and draft monographs for the Compounding Expert Committee to consider. The intern will also conduct literature research to identify high priority formulations to guide monograph development priorities. The intern will participate in the development and revision of general chapters for compounding including review of public comments submitted and participating in subcommittee meetings.

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Global Public Health

Global Health Standards Program

The intern will assist in the search, compilation, and review of comprehensive information related to availability of public standards for essential medicines and medicines used to treat neglected diseases, particularly for medicines not approved for marketing in the US. The data will serve as a resource for Global Health Standards (GHS) program. The project involves first identifying the medicines from sources such as the WHO Model List of Essential Medicines and guidelines for treatment of diseases; then conducting an extensive search for information on the identified medicines. This will include the regulatory approval status, monograph availability, specifications provided in the available monograph - including whether the technologies employed are up-to-date, and availability of the required reference standards. The intern will also draft a paper for publication that summarizes the current situation of public standards for these high public health impact medicines, with particular focus on medicines approved for marketing outside the US. 

Desired candidate will have experience with analytical techniques such as chromatography, spectroscopy, etc. is required; and familiarity with pharmacopeial monographs (USP, BP, EP, Ph. Int., JP, IP, ChP) is preferred.

Promoting the Quality of Medicines

The intern will assist in the search, compilation, and review of comprehensive information related to technical services findings and activities in support of FY17 work plans.  Data will be sourced from the assessment reports that are generated from auditing manufacturers and laboratories.  The data will serve as a resource for Global Health Standards (GHS) program.

The project involves first identifying the data in various assessment reports and other tools such as Excel spreadsheets or databases.  Harmonizing the data requires excellent attention to detail.  Analyzing the data requires familiarity with statistics and validation methods.  The intern will draft a paper or presentation summarizing the findings to date, with a focus toward identifying gaps in capacity and areas for further concentration of resources.

Desired candidate will have familiarity with the pharmacopeial / laboratory environment is preferred.  Keen attention to detail and strong language skills are required.

Development of a Stability-Indicating Analytical Method for Related Substances for Artemether and Lumefantrine Fixed-Dose Combination

As part of a larger effort to generate critical data to support shelf-life extension of essential medicines, the USP PQM program supported an accelerated stability study on Coartem tablets. The results of the study indicated the need for a stability-indicating method for related substances for the product.

Each of the two active ingredients in Coartem (artemether and lumefantrine) has associated known related compounds. Stability-indicating HPLC methods for the assay exist, however currently there is no stability-indicating method for the related substances. The absence of stability-indicating method means that reliable quality control testing of Coartem remains incomplete at best, and represents a quality risk for patients particularly in malaria endemic countries.

The intern will work with a senior staff in the analytical laboratory services group and scientists in USP reference standard labororatory to develop and validate a simple, fast, and robust stability-indicating HPLC method for related substances of Artemether and Lumefantrine FDC tablet. The method will separate all peaks of interest to enable quantitation of degradants associated with Lumefantrine and Artemether. The new method will be optimized and validated for specificity, linearity, accuracy, precision, limit of detection, limit of quantitation, range, system suitability, and solution stability.

Desired candidate will have an advanced undergraduate or graduate student in Analytical Chemistry, Medicinal Chemistry, Biochemistry, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Chemical Engineering or related fields, with hand-on experience developing analytical methods for HPLC is preferred.

Africa Country Planning

The intern will assist in examination, accumulation and evaluate of comprehensive information for various African countries, which will contribute to our current FY17 work plans and future activities in continent.  This data will be sourced from various research engines and from interacting with several partners and stakeholders.

The projects involves exploring and collecting country data, developing country profile, identifying potential in-country partners, researching possible funding opportunities, appraising and recommendation on current programs (PMI, TB, MCH, etc.).  This individual will also work on revising and updating Pharm Sector documents, WHO materials, and country records.  Additionally, this individual will also review pharmaceutical regulations for each country to document any revisions or missing components.

Desired candidate will be familiar with pharmacopeial has a profound attention to specifics, possess a strong language skill set, is able to conduct extensive independent detail research.  Requesting an applicant that is a MPH Graduate or a Science degree student and having a working knowledge of the French language is desirable.

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Reference Standards

Global Reference Standards Laboratory -  EPE

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.

Global Reference Standards Laboratory - NMR

The summer intern candidate will work towards method development of reference materials using NMR spectroscopy. The project involves working with both JEOL and Bruker NMR’s. Ideal candidate will be able to develop, complete and report the assigned NMR method development work. 

The internship offers opportunities to contribute to solving real-world scientific projects using NMR. Gain hands-on experience in collection, and interpretation of NMR data.  Learnings include good documentation practices in electronic format. Technical reporting writing skills.

  • Provides hands-on NMR sample preparation, multinuclear as well as multidimensional NMR data acquisition and processing. Focuses on assessing data interpretation and analyzing the structures of small to large molecules
  • Evaluates USP reference standards using NMR methods including the preparation of detailed, professional reports prepared internally
  • Provides NMR analysis, specifically structure verification and confirmations
  • Demonstrates strong skill and expertise in specific laboratory methods
  • Takes personal ownership of work assigned

Strong verbal and written communication skills. Experience working in structure confirmation, verifications by NMR strongly preferred. Must adhere to lab safety policies, and good documentation practices.  Working knowledge and must have demonstrated success in using NMR techniques. Experience working with organic samples, physical characterization of small to large molecules by modern methods of NMR. Relevant experience in preparation of organic and polymer samples for NMR data collection, as well as data interpretation as applied to structural elucidation studies. Experience in Quantitative NMR preferred. Good understanding of other general analytical chemistry principles. Ability to maneuver and handle projects between two instrumental platforms (JEOL and Bruker) is essential. Takes personal responsibility to ensure work is delivered on time and is the highest possible quality. Skills to anticipate, troubleshoot, and solve technical problems. Doctoral candidates who are advancing towards graduation and or in the last year of their graduate program are highly encouraged to apply.

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To further improve and enhance USP’s transparency in the harmonization efforts through the Pharmacopeial Discussion Group (PDG) for excipients and general chapters, this project will focus on updating the harmonization- Pharmacopeial Discussion Group (PDG) webpage on website. The webpage has recently been updated to provide a revision history for each monograph/chapter posting for stage 4 public inquiry, stage 6 harmonized text and its sign-off cover page for excipient monographs and general chapters on the PDG workplan and any subsequent revisions that have occurred in the history of the harmonization process. Through this update, however, significant gaps in the revision history have been uncovered that need to be addressed. Duties will include a review of historical revision files and past publications of Pharmacopeial Forum to locate the complete revision history of each monograph/general chapter on the PDG workplan. Duties will also include building a revision history by locating stage 4, stage 6 and its sign-off cover pages and their subsequent revisions and prepare for loading onto the newly updated harmonization webpage. Duties will also include working with excipient scientific liaisons and web team members. Although this is not a laboratory-based position, the applicant should have an interest in organic, physical and analytical chemistry.

Duties will also include building a revision history by locating stage 4, stage 6 and its sign-off cover pages and their subsequent revisions and prepare for loading onto the newly updated harmonization webpage, in addition to performing the Stage 6 Indication review step for select PDG workplan items. 

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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 30, 2017 – August 18, 2017
  • Compensation: Participants receive an hourly rate for each hour worked. Interns are responsible for travel, housing, and living expenses.
  • Application Deadline: February 3, 2017
  • Contact: OnaLee Dougherty, Talent Acquisition Specialist, at, for more information.

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The program provides interns the opportunity to 

  • 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

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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.

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How to Apply


  • Resume or CV
  • Academic transcript(s)
  • Letter of recommendation
  • Essay (no more than 300 words) describing your interest and aspirations in one or more of the project summaries

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:

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