Cover Letter Samples

Compelling Cover Letter For Research Internship: Example & Tips

research intern

Are you in the middle of your graduate or postgraduate studies? If so, it’s probably time to look into research internships. As you know, competition can be fierce for the best opportunities. You’ll increase your odds of being selected if you reach out early with a compelling cover letter.

Let us help you with that. We’ve got an excellent sample cover letter example for a research internship. Check it out first. Then, go over our cover letter writing tips.

Cover Letter Example For Research Internship (Word)

cover letter example for research internship

Download example (.docx)

Cover Letter For Research Internship (plain text)

Dear Dr. Charles,

My name is LeeAnne Jackson. I am a second-year graduate student pursuing a Master of Science in Wildlife Biology at the University of Delaware, pursuing a Masters of Science in Wildlife Biology, and looking for an internship opportunity with Marine Labs. 

I have spent significant time discussing my options with my advisor, Dr. Eileen Stevens. She’s spoken highly of your organization, especially the current wild bird conservation program, you’re running in Florida.  Now that I have reviewed your internship opportunity, I concur with her that this would be mutually beneficial for myself and the Marine Labs research team. 

To provide you with some extra context: In 2020, I graduated with a BS in Wildlife Biology and Marine Science. After a 12-month research opportunity in the Mississippi River basin, I returned to UofD to begin my graduate studies. My main research focus is on Wildlife Conservation, specifically the impacts of habitat loss on regional biodiversity. 

In addition to benefiting personally and professionally from this internship, I am confident that I will be able to make a significant contribution to your research efforts. I have significant experience working on river research vessels. My core competencies include:

  • Biological sample collection and analysis 
  • Documentation of animal behavior and health
  • Research and laboratory equipment operation 
  • Statistical data analysis and data science 

I believe my research on the adaptability of various ibis species will be beneficial to you and your team.

I will be able full-time from June 1 through August 12 of this year. I also have my own PPU, PADI dive certification, and other necessary equipment. If travel is a requirement, I can make arrangements for that as well.

I believe your team is doing valuable research that aligns with my own expertise and educational pursuits. Could we arrange a meeting in the next week or two?


LeeAnne Jackson

How to Write a Cover Letter for Research Internship 

A cover letter for a research internship should be to the point. Remember: You’re competing with dozens of other applicants. To stand out, you should clearly articulate your advantage over others — be it highly-relevant coursework, transferable skills from other industries, or relevant job experiences in the field. These will make up the main body of your cover letter. In the cover letter opening, you should focus on your interest in the institution, as well as some background data on their work (to show that you did your research). 

Below are some extra actionable tips you can use when you make a cover letter with our free online app.

List Your Most Relevant Skills First 

Even as a graduate student, you have many important skills — critical thinking, analytical and conceptual skills among others.  Separately, you have honed research skills and perhaps even some hard skills, related to your field of study. 

All of these should be included in your resume. However, when it comes to your cover letter, it’s best to be a bit more discerning. Choose three to five of your most relevant skills to place in the limelight. One way to make these stand out is to use a bulleted list. This was done in our sample letter above.

Connect The Dots For the Reader 

You have the qualifications that the person running the internship needs. The entire purpose of your cover letter is to show that you can meet those needs. What you need to do is make that important connection evident. As you write, think from their perspective. What skills, experience, and personal attributes are they looking for in a research intern? Try to paint a mental picture for them with words. 

Make a Plan to Follow Up

Unfortunately, plenty of qualified interns never get the research opportunities they deserve. That’s because they’re application packets end up lost and forgotten by internship program leaders who are simply too busy to get back to them. So, you have to ensure that doesn’t happen to you.

Notice that the example letter ends with a request to meet. This is an excellent technique. However, it is most effective if you follow up with an email or phone call.

Read about other actionable techniques to close a cover letter

Show Your Work Qualifications

Have you done relevant work before? This is great and can help boost your chances of landing an internship. Use a paragraph or two in your cover letter to talk about that work experience, your passion for the research discipline, and what you want to gain from the program.

Final Tip: Keep It Short

Finally, edit your letter for length. It should be about a page long and only contain a succinct presentation of your skills, qualifications, and research interests. Remember to save something for your resume. 
For even more tips, browse our extensive collection of cover letter examples.


  • Elena Prokopets

    Elena runs content operations at Freesumes since 2017. She works closely with copywriters, designers, and invited career experts to ensure that all content meets our highest editorial standards. Up to date, she wrote over 200 career-related pieces around resume writing, career advice... more

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