Find an Internship Before Finishing PhD

Yes. Even at doctoral level (at least prior to finishing PhD), there are internship opportunities.

I remember asking people around me and on career webinars about internship opportunities for PhD students. And the answers I used to get were all big NOs. So after graduating I did some searches and found that while there are not too many opportunities around, there are a handful of them out there. If you are geographically close to them and can have your adviser give you the time off (or reduce hours in the lab for a few months), this is a golden opportunity to get your foot in the door.

  1. https://www.looksharp.com/
    • Looksharp is a website where you can put up your profiles and also look for available internships at all levels. I know there are not too many but this is one of the few places that I found that would post internship opportunists for PhD students.
  2. https://www.mitacs.ca/en
    • Mitacs is a national, not-for-profit organization that helps the partnering between academia and industry in Canada.  This organization offers internship opportunities for PhD students and postdocs but the caveat here is that you have to be currently working at a Canadian university in order to apply.
  3. Looking for an Opportunity at Your Local Biotechs: This is something that I heard from a colleague who actually called a biotech (or an industry that you hope to work in) and asked for an internship/ volunteer opportunities. Luckily, for him, it worked out and he ended up getting a job there when he graduated. I know this sounds like a fairy tale but this might be worth a shot.

And as for postdocs, I was not able to find any programs for internships (other than industry postdocs, which doesn’t really count) but I know of a program that may help postdocs with their entry to industry.

Postdoc Professional Masters from Keck Graduate Institute : This is a masters program that promises its students (PhDs and MDs) an industry internship as a part of the education. I’ve been to their information seminar and it sounded pretty interesting. They claim that 87% of their graduates get an industry job within 6 months of graduation, which is pretty good. But of course, this program roughly costs $15,000 plus cost of living in Irvine, California. Here are pages where you can check out the program info and tuition.

Finding an internship isn’t easy. But I think anyone who wants to get into industry should try to get one because it can really help one’s entry into industry.  So, why not check out these websites or write an email (or call) to a local company today?

* I know that what I listed here is by no means exhaustive. So if you know of a website where PhDs can look for internships, please let me know and I’ll add them to this post.

** For international students in the U.S., F/J visa does not allow work outside of the university, so some of what I wrote here may not apply to you. I will do a post about working opportunities as a foreign national on F/J visa.

 

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