Harry Ransom CenterThe University of Texas at Austin

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Read stories from undergraduate students and professors about how the Ransom Center sparks the imagination.

Undergraduate Visitor

"One of the reasons I chose to attend The University of Texas at Austin was the Ransom Center."

      —Sonia Desai, undergraduate

Whether an entering freshman or a graduating senior, students can explore and be inspired by the offerings of the Harry Ransom Center.

Through exposure to and interaction with collection materials—whether it be a manuscript, photograph, artwork, or rare book—students can open the door to the creative process.

An undergraduate can read The Grapes of Wrath and then visit the Ransom Center to view the handwritten journal John Steinbeck kept while writing the novel. Undergraduates can attend more than 50 free programs throughout the year to hear a Pulitzer Prize–winning author, view a performance, or watch a film screening. Undergraduates can absorb a semester's worth of material on a given topic in a single Ransom Center exhibition. While sitting in the Reading and Viewing Room alongside leading scholars from around the world, an undergraduate can prepare to write an original research paper based on the archives of such luminaries as poet Anne Sexton, actor Robert De Niro, or writer Samuel Beckett. Undergraduate interns, work-study students, and student volunteers can gain experience assisting with exhibitions, cataloging projects, and publicity campaigns.

Opportunities for Students

Public Programs
Undergraduate Internships
Federal Work-Study Positions
Volunteer Positions
Resources for Professors

Students. Click to enlarge.

Undergraduates visiting the Ransom Center galleries. Photo by Pete Smith.


Visit the current exhibitions and the Gutenberg Bible and First Photograph, which are on permanent display at the Ransom Center.

Admission to the Ransom Center is free. Gallery hours are 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday; 10 a.m.–7 p.m. Thursday; Noon–5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Free public tours meet in the lobby Tuesdays at noon and Saturdays and Sundays at 2 p.m. No reservations are required.

Tony Kushner and students. Click to enlarge.

Tony Kushner chats with students after a public program. Photo by Pete Smith.

Public Programs

Students are encouraged to attend the Ransom Center's free public programs.


Located on the second floor, the Hazel H. Ransom Reading Room and David Douglas Duncan–Cain Foundation Viewing Room serve visitors studying manuscripts, rare books, and visual materials. Each year, approximately 750 undergraduates conduct research in the Reading Room for class assignments, papers, and theses.

To register to access the collections, patrons must first stop by the second-floor reception desk and show a current photo ID (college/university ID, driver's license, passport, etc.). New patrons watch a brief presentation on using the facility and handling collection materials. Patrons then create a research account, which allows them to request materials through an automated system and keep online records of their transactions.

Learn more about research at the Ransom Center

Student. Click to enlarge.

As an undergraduate intern, Albert Palacios worked in the film department. Photo by Pete Smith.

Undergraduate Internships

The Ransom Center supports University of Texas at Austin undergraduates through internships designed to provide experiences in the nature and operation of an internationally recognized humanities research library and museum. We recruit potential interns directly, through departments and partnerships with academic and scholarship programs on campus. Our ideal candidates come from a wide range of experiences, have a desire for learning and mentorship, and a passion for the work done at the Ransom Center.

We support our intern cohort by coordinating monthly professional development meeting which create a space for professional and personal growth. The experience gained by interns will benefit them in their own research projects, in possible graduate studies, and even as a career option in such fields as librarianship, museum studies, archival or curatorial work, as well as public affairs, marketing, public programming and event management.

Learn more about undergraduate internships

Federal Work-Study Positions

The Federal Work-Study (FWS) Program is a government-subsidized student employment program designed to assist students in financing their post-secondary education. Work-study students receive real-world work experience suited to their skills and career goals.

The Ransom Center offers work-study positions when funding is available. Past work-study students at the Ransom Center have worked in the conservation, cataloging, photography, and manuscripts departments. Only students with a work-study award are eligible for a work-study position.

Learn more about the Federal Work-Study Program and how to apply

Volunteer Positions

Undergraduate students are welcome to apply for a volunteer position. Volunteer duties may include, but are not limited to, research service, preservation rehousing, collection material inventory and processing assistance, collection relocation and maintenance, and working with the public as a docent, visitor services volunteer, or special events volunteer. Volunteer assignments are based on the current needs and projects of the Center and on expertise and interests of the volunteer.

Volunteer Application
Learn more about volunteering at the Ransom Center

Students. Click to enlarge.

Students tour the Ransom Center galleries on a class visit. Photo by Anthony Maddaloni.

Resources for Professors

Information about Signature Courses at the Ransom Center, docent-led tours, student self-guided tours, public programs, and scheduling class visits is available.

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Encouraging Discovery: An Introduction to the Harry Ransom Center. Watch the video.

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