How to Apply to the Museum Research Traineeship (MRT) Program


Step 1. Contact Potential MRT Faculty Advisors or Program Coordinator
We encourage you to contact potential MRT faculty mentors to inquire if they are accepting new students and/or have funding opportunities, prior to submitting a formal application. You should try to match your own areas of interest with those of your potential faculty advisor. A listing of MRT faculty mentors is here.

If you wish to participate in the MRT Program and work with a faculty advisor who is not on the list, please contact the Program Specialist for additional information on how to apply (we welcome participation by outside students and faculty).


Step 2. Complete an Application through UNM Graduate Studies 

  1. Review the Application Instructions by Program - Core participating Departments are Anthropology, Biology, Earth & Planetary Sciences, and Geography & Environmental Studies (select either MS or PhD). Follow the application deadlines for those programs.*
  2. Go the UNM Graduate Studies Application Link 
  3. On the Program of Interest section of the application, you will choose your degree program (i.e. Ph.D. Biology, M.A. Anthropology, etc.). After making your selection, there is a free text box where you can indicate your interest in the Museum Research Traineeship by simply adding MRT to your list (see example below). 

     App Field

    After you have submitted your complete application for your specified degree program, you will see an Addendum section when you log back in to your application. You may use this section to upload a document expressing your interest in participating in the Museum Research Traineeship (if you already submitted your application and weren’t able to list MRT on the Program of Interest section, you are still able to attach your interest in the Addendum section). Additionally, you should also be contacting mentors with whom you are interested in working. 

If you are applying to a program outside of the core departments, please contact the Program Specialist. We encourage participation from many departments, schools and colleges at UNM.


Step 3. NRT Faculty Advisor Selections & Review
Once your application for admission to graduate school and the  MRT assistantship is complete, it will be reviewed by the MRT program selection committee. We will verify that an NRT faculty has agreed to be your advisor. Then we will evaluate your undergraduate (and graduate, if applicable) grade point averages, three letters of recommendation, relevant training and experience in conservation or environmental sciences, and individual potential for achievement.


Step 4. Admission & Funding Decisions
We attempt to make admission and funding decisions regarding NRT assistantships within 6-8 weeks of the department’s application deadline. Admission and funding decisions are forwarded to the participating department, which will send you an official letter of admission.



Deadlines and Timing
Most applications are for admission during the fall semester. While we may accept applications at any time, priority is given to those who apply by departmental deadlines for full consideration for the fall.


*Please note that the participating departments may still be finalizing their applications for the MRT. If you cannot access the application for your department, please contact us at or contact your faculty mentor directly for additional information.