SPUR: APL/WSE-Summer Program in Undergraduate Research

In 2014, the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) and the Whiting School of Engineering launched the APL/WSE-Summer Program in Undergraduate Research (SPUR), a prestigious and competitive summer internship program that provides a select group of WSE undergraduates with the opportunity to conduct research at the Applied Physics Laboratory on APL-sponsored projects.

The APL/WSE Summer Program in Undergraduate Research, also called “SPUR,” enables 10 highly qualified rising sophomore, juniors and seniors to work as paid summer interns at Johns Hopkins’ Applied Physics Laboratory.

In the program’s first year, Whiting School undergraduates worked on projects that included ballistic missile systems, prosthetics, computer vision, and secure mobile communications.

“APL is a unique national asset dedicated to solving critical problems,” said Ed Schlesinger, Benjamin T. Rome Dean of the Whiting School of Engineering. “It’s one of the premiere engineering research organizations in the world, and the engineering science there is done at an incredible level, unique in the world. So having the opportunity to take on internships at this place and with these people is very special.”

In addition to the opportunity to work closely with APL mentors on a wide variety of projects, interns will also have access to enrichment and social activities. Free shuttle service between the Homewood campus and APL also is provided.

SPUR Scholars apply to work on specific projects in APL Mission Areas. Click below for a sample of the internships to be offered in the summer of 2014.


Summer 2015 positions will be posted in late January 2014.


A stipend:

  • Completed Freshman Year: $900/week ($22.50/hour)
  • Completed Sophomore Year: $1,000/week ($25/hour)
  • Completed Junior Year: $1,200/week ($30/hour)
  • Completed Senior Year: $1,340/week ($33.50/hour) available only to seniors continuing at JHU in fall 2015 for an engineering master’s degree in one of the full-time programs.

Examples of enrichment and educational opportunities:

  • A trip to an Orioles baseball game
  • Special tours of local area points of interest
  • Opportunities to present your summer project results to APL staff
  •  Insider tours of a variety of APL laboratories/facilities
  • A Lab-wide summer intern reception
  • A technical staff mentor assigned to each SPUR scholar who will provide guidance and assistance throughout the summer assignment
  • Free shuttle service between the Homewood campus and APL

For more information about the program, please contact Stacy Murphy, College Relations Coordinator at APL.



  • Application Access:
    Applications, which will be available shortly, must be submitted through J-Connect by 11:59 p.m. on Wed., December 31, 2014 . There, you will log in to your account and search reference number, 57753. If you have trouble accessing the posting, contact recruit@jhu.edu.

    SPUR Calendar:
    Application Deadline for Summer 2015: Wed., December 31.

    Notification of SPUR Scholars: on February 23

    SPUR Internships Dates: Internships last for a minimum of eight weeks and a maximum of ten weeks between June and August 2015

  • 1. Resume: Resume should include relevant coursework, description of technical skills, computer skills, lab skills, and demonstrate the student’s ability to work in a team and research setting.

    2. Letter of recommendation: The letter must be from a Hopkins faculty member. The letter should discuss the student’s research ability and/or his/her skills in working as part of a team or group. Letters of recommendation may be uploaded directly into J-Connect or, if preferred by the recommender, emailed directly to Stacy Murphy.

    3. Unofficial transcript (print from ISIS)

  • Student Eligibility Requirements

    1. Students who have completed their freshman, sophomore, and junior years at the Whiting School of Engineering and are are returning to full-time undergraduate studies at Johns Hopkins. Seniors returning to JHU for an engineering master’s degree in one of the full-time programs in the fall 2015 semester may also be considered for this opportunity.

    2. U.S. Citizenship /Eligibility for Security Clearance (required)

    3. We are looking for students who have outstanding academic performance, demonstrated ability to work both independently and in a team setting, and demonstrated ability to succeed in conducting high-level research.

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