Internship at RSMAS
As a Master student in the OEM program, you can spend your 2nd year internship in the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences (RSMAS). RSMAS is one of the leading oceanography research institutes in the US. An internship there is therefore an opportunity to work in a very rich scientific environment.
As part of the partnership between UPMC and RSMAS, we can provide a stipend to facilitate your internship at RSMAS. This stipend should be about 3000€ (depending on exchange rate between Euro and Dollar and on the number of applicants). This should cover your airfare and visa expense as well as provide you with the equivalent of the usual 436€ per month that you would get in a French lab. This will not cover all your expenses there but should make them comparable to what you would have paid in Paris or another large city in France.
RSMAS professors know about this opportunity and may have already provided projects on OEM's website (secure access).
However, Master's degrees in the US are quite different from those in Europe and RSMAS professors are not used to preparing an internship subject. They expect students to develop their own topic. The best way to get and internship there is therefore to directly contact researchers whose interests intersect with yours, and ask for an internship. RSMAS' website presents its research activities from various angles. Another way to tackle it is to focus on a division of RSMAS that suits your interests best. In the context of the OEM Master and of this program, focused on physical-biological interactions at mesoscale in the ocean, the most relevant divisions are probably Marine Biology & Fisheries, Applied Marine Physics, Marine & Atmospheric Chemistry, and maybe Marine Affairs & Policy. Within each of these divisions, you will find the list of affiliated personnel and, on each person's page, a description of his/her research activities.
Here are a few elements of language to facilitate the contact with RSMAS personnel:
- You are a "Master" or "MSc" student; you have "a year and a half of graduate-level academic training in oceanography"
- You are looking for an "internship"
- This project (PUF) will provide you with a "stipend", so "your traveling and living expenses are covered, you do not need a salary, you just need a working environment and a project"
- Personnel in RSMAS is divided into
- "faculty" = chercheurs et professeurs (they are the ones to contact about an internship)
- "research staff" = ingénieur de recherche
- "staff" = personnel administratif
Preparing the internship project
You should discuss the project with the RSMAS faculty you contacted. He/she will probably expect you to write most of it and do the bibliographic work associated with the project, because this is the way Masters theses work in the US. Be aware of this and do not expect a day to day supervision from your advisor at RSMAS. Once you have come to a satisfactory project, you or your future advisor should put the proposal through the usual channels:
register the subject on OEM's website
provide a one or two pages description of the project, preferably as a PDF. It should containing the following information:
- Internship title
- Name(s) and contact information of supervisor(s)
- Scientific objective of the internship + a few literature references if needed
- Technical means available to the student
- Whether there would be an opportunity to continue the project as a PhD
You can download examples of previous internship proposals in english to guide you in the redaction of your proposal.
The project is then reviewed by the board of the OEM master and advertised on OEM's website (secure access).
As any international internship, substantial paperwork will be required and we encourage you to start preparing for it as early as possible.
You will need to prepare 3 original copies of an international internship convention. Fill it, sign it, have it signed by the department chair of your internship director at RSMAS and send it to Sylvie Sitruk who will get it signed by UPMC.
You must choose a UPMC tutor ("responsable pedagogique"), whose role is to follow up on your progress while abroad. Jean-Olivier Irisson (firstname.lastname@example.org, coordinator of the PUF program) can play this role if you cannot find someone else with a skillset more appropriate for your subject.
To receive the stipend, you need to fill this form to be created as an "agent" in UPMC's database and send it to email@example.com, together with the RIB of the account you want the money transferred to.
You need to have insurance for usual life risks ("responsabilité civile" in French) and health care when in the US. You will need to check with your insurance provider and "mutuelle" that you are covered in the US and, if not, extend your coverage. You might also be required to get a full medical history (vaccines, ongoing illnesses, etc.) from your usual doctor.
Because you will be staying more than 90 days in the US, you need to apply for visa. You will need help from your advisor and you can direct him/her to the page describing these internships for the advisors.
The procedure is fully explained on the website of the International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) of the University of Miami. Please refer to this website as the prime source of information.
We also outline the procedure below, giving instructions specific to your situation:
The RSMAS department which will be hosting you must complete the form DS-2019 Request from Coral Gables and RSMAS Campuses and have it signed by your advisor, the chairman of the department and David J. Birnbach, MD, MPH, Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs. The department will ask you for information; here are a few pointers:
- You must justify of $2000 of financial support per month. You will not be paid by RSMAS but the PUF project can guarantee that you have enough money to sustain yourself. This will fall in the category "All other organizations providing support" (case "f" of point "5"), with a support of $10.000.
- You will be asked for a current working address in France. Form DS-2019 will be sent via FedEx to this address. This form is necessary for your appointment at the US embassy (see below). Provide an address where you know you will receive it (if at a marine station, make sure the postal office knows you are expecting a FedEx), or where someone can receive it and send it back to you in time for your appointment.
Help prepare attachments to form DS-2019 (all in english):
- Write your curriculum vitae. Baccalauréat is "baccalaureate", Licence is "Bachelor degree", Master is "Master" or "MSc".
- The RSMAS department should prepare a courtesy invitation letter following this template and have it signed by your advisor, the chairman of the department, Roni Avissar (the dean of RSMAS) and David J. Birnbach, MD, MPH, Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs.
- Get a letter of financial support from the PUF program from firstname.lastname@example.org.
- A copy of your passport
The department should submit all 5 items (DS-2019 request, CV, invitation letter, copy of passport, and letter of financial support) to International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS), 5600 Merrick Drive, Bldg. 21-F, Coral Gables, FL 33124-5550 no less than three months before the start of the internship (i.e. by the end of October for a start in February).
In five business days, ISSS will process the documents and send you form DS-2019, pre-arrival information, Health Insurance Requirement Certification, Exchange Visitor Immunization Form, and Form I-901 (SEVIS). These will be needed for the following steps.
Pay the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) fee (form I-901). The easiest is to fill and pay it online at: https://www.fmjfee.com/i901fee/
Make an appointment at the US embassy in Paris. You will need to go there in person to fill your visa application and meet with an U.S. immigration officer. More information on the procedure (including the required documents) is available on the US embassy's website.
The typical waiting time to get an appointment can be checked on this page. You will fall in the "Student/Exchange Visitors Visas" category. Beware that these wait times are often underestimated. In addition, they only account for the time before the appointment, not for the time needed to process you application and send you back your passport with the visa. So book you appointment as early as possible.
If the US embassy in France is fully booked, you should be able to apply for the same visa in another EU country (Belgium, Italy, Spain, etc.) where the delay may be shorter. Check that this agreement is still valid before making the appointment.
Once in the U.S. with your visa, you must attend an exchange visitor orientation with ISSS on the main campus of the University of Miami, within 30 days of the start date of your program mentioned on form DS-2019 (item 3). Failure to do so will make you out-of-status with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. You won't be able to start your internship and will be subject to expedited removal from the U.S.
You must leave the U.S. at most 30 days after the expiration date of Form DS-2019 or the end of the J-1 activity, whichever comes first. Staying in the U.S. past this date has serious consequences; it will, in particular, make it impossible for you to apply for any kind of visa (including the tourist visa waiver program) for a long period of time, essentially preventing you from entering the U.S.
Plan your trip to RSMAS using the travel information on this website.
Try to arrive a couple days early for your internship because you will need to go through some paperwork, get settled, and attend an "orientation" presentation on the main campus of the university of Miami. This usually takes a full day or two. You cannot start your internship before going through the orientation with the International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS). Schedule this appointment well in advance, with the help of your supervisor. After this orientation day, you need an appointment with Juliann Houston at RSMAS who will give you your access card and set up your computer account.