Summer Systematics Institute 2014

The Summer Systematics Institute and the Biological Illustration Internships will be offered June 16 to August 8, 2014.  The 2014 SSI and BI application period is now open.  Deadline to apply is Friday February 21st 2014.


Now in its 18th year, the California Academy of Sciences Summer Systematics Institute (SSI) with support from NSF's Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) initiative and the Academy's Robert T. Wallace endowment addresses critical issues such as, world-wide threats to biodiversity, the origins and diversification of life, phylogenetic systematics and evolutionary biology, which have become critical components of undergraduate education. 


SSI is an 8-week paid research internship at our state-of-the-art research facility and museum in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco. This world renowned venue continues to offer undergraduates important insights into the contributions that museum-based research can make to issues facing society today.  The program accommodates up to ten undergraduate students.  This internship is made possible by the National Science Foundation and a generous gift from the Robert T. Wallace Endowment for undergraduate research experiences. One internship in Biological Illustration is integrated with the SSI program. Applications to Biological Illustration use much of the same application procedures and forms as the SSI.


Program Curriculum: Participants will conduct research with their chosen adviser on a project relating to the discipline of the adviser and student. Participants also receive instruction while taking part in a museum-based curriculum that includes tours, lectures, and lab exercises on phylogenetic systematics, molecular techniques, biodiversity, evolutionary biology, global change, and other contemporary issues in the natural sciences. One-day field trips highlighting the local natural history include tidepooling and hiking. Participants are also invited to attend, fully funded, a scientific meeting (such as the annual meeting for the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology) following their summer internship to present their findings in the form of a talk or poster.


Duration:  The Summer Systematics Institute and Biological Illustration Internship will be employment opportunities for 8 weeks, from June 16 through August 8, 2014, 40 hours per week.



How to Apply:

1. The application process is now almost entirely online. You will need to complete the Application Form.  Note that this Form serves for both SSI and Biological Illustration internships offered in the Academy's summer undergraduate program, so please be sure to indicate clearly the internship for which you are applying on the form and in your statement of interest. Please note: If you are applying for both SSI and BI internships, a complete application (including transcripts and letters of recommendation) is required for each.
2. The online form will ask you to prepare a statement of interest in working at the Academy, as well as some background information that tells us how you became interested in evolutionary biology.

3. Complete the adviser selection portion of the application form after consulting the Adviser List 2014.
4. Arrange for two electronically sent letters of recommendation.  At least one must be from a science professor or academic professional (such as an instructor or teaching assistant) who knows your school work well enough to address that in their recommendation.  Please have them sent to the email address provided:  

5. Arrange for transcripts to be sent to the Academy.  These need not be official, and must come electronically to the email address indicated.

6. For the Internship in Biological Illustration, provide examples of your artwork, as outlined at the link at the above right. Applicants for this internship need not provide an adviser selection)"


Recommendation Form 2014


Deadline: February 21st, 2014

Notification: Applicants will be notified by email sometime in mid-March or early April and should note that because of the schedules of potential mentors reviewing applications, and the possible need to contact applicants on reversion lists, there cannot be a firm deadline on our part. Due to the volume of applicants, we cannot give individual confirmation for application materials received.  We hope that applicants can be patient as we make our final decisions.  In general, successful applicants will know earlier in the process.


If you have questions regarding our undergraduate internships, please email (do not phone)


Eligibility: Any U.S. citizen or resident alien (green card) who is an undergraduate student, and who will not have graduated before fall of 2014, is welcome to apply. That is, you must be enrolled in an undergraduate program at the time of the internship.  We encourage applications from groups under-represented in the sciences. An excellent academic record and participation in a wide range of campus activities are highly regarded, but not the sole criteria for the selection process.


Stipend: A $3,600 stipend will be awarded to each intern. In addition, most travel costs will be reimbursed and a $2,100 subsistence allowance is given for housing and food. Because the Academy does not have access to dorm facilities, housing is not provided by the Academy.  However, we do assist successful applicants in finding local housing. Support of research projects and publication of results as well as funded opportunities to return to the  Academy after the end of the program are available. We can also provide financial assistance to attend a conference to present results from the participants’ research during the SSI.  Personal stipends may be subject to Federal and/or State income taxes.


You can discover more about the kinds of research projects that past interns have done by exploring the links at the right, or downloading this article about our program: SSI Wraps Up its 11th Year


This internship is made possible by the National Science Foundation and a generous gift from the Robert T. Wallace Endowment for undergraduate research experiences.


Snapshots from SSI 2011

Summer Systematics Institute

The Summer Systematics Institute (SSI) is a hands-on, collections-based, summer research program in evolutionary biology and an internship in biological illustration for undergraduate college/university students who are U.S. citizens or resident aliens.  SSI and Biological Illustration internships will be offered in summer of 2014.  The 2014 SSI and BI application period is now open.  Deadline to apply is Friday February 21st 2014.    


Biological Illustration Internship 2014

The internship is open to currently enrolled undergraduate students interested in developing illustration techniques related to biological specimens.



Please consult this listing to indicate which adviser you would be interested in working with as a part of the Summer Systematics Institute. You do not need this information if you are applying to the Biological Illustration internship. If you have more than one choice of adviser, please rank your choices in order of preference.


Advisers and Projects 2014

Abstracts and Past Lecture Series from the Program



View abstracts from 2012 Interns 


View abstracts from previous years

View abstracts from 2011


Example of program lecture series

Lecture series 2012