How to get PhD Internships? A Complete Guide

PhD Internship

Embarking on a doctoral journey is a remarkable pursuit, filled with countless hours of research, deep intellectual exploration, and scholarly endeavours. But what if there was a way to bridge the gap between academic brilliance and real-world application? Enter PhD internships—the transformative opportunities that allow doctoral students to immerse themselves in practical experiences, collaborate with industry experts, and sharpen their research skills in a dynamic professional environment.

In this blog post, we delve into the realm of PhD internships, shedding light on their purpose, benefits, and the pivotal role they play in shaping a successful research career. Join me as we explore the avenues to find these coveted internships, demystify the application process, and provide insights on making the most of these invaluable experiences.

Discover how PhD internships can unlock new horizons, propel your academic journey beyond the classroom, and equip you with the skills and connections necessary to thrive in the competitive landscape of academia and industry.

I have dedicated a complete section on Research Internships which caters the Internships through Academia Internships/ Industry Internships/ Internships through Job Portals.


In today’s rapidly evolving world, the boundaries between academia and industry are becoming increasingly interconnected. PhD internships serve as a powerful bridge that connects these two realms, allowing students to leverage their academic expertise and contribute to real-world problems. By immersing themselves in practical experiences, PhD interns gain invaluable insights and skills that can significantly impact their career development.

PhD internships are unique opportunities that enable doctoral students to step outside the confines of the university setting and apply their theoretical knowledge to tangible challenges. Whether it’s conducting research in a corporate R&D department, collaborating with a nonprofit organization, or working in a government agency, these internships provide a platform for students to experience the practical applications of their field firsthand.

The benefits of PhD internships are multifaceted and far-reaching. Firstly, they offer students the chance to gain practical experience that complements their academic training. By working on real-world projects, interns encounter complex problems, develop innovative solutions, and enhance their critical thinking skills. This hands-on experience allows them to refine their research methodologies and approaches, making their future academic work more robust and relevant.

Furthermore, PhD internships foster invaluable networking opportunities. Interns have the chance to collaborate with professionals in their field, build connections with industry experts, and forge relationships that can open doors to future research collaborations or job opportunities. These connections can also provide mentors who offer guidance, support, and industry-specific insights, helping interns navigate their career paths more effectively.

The impact of PhD internships on career development should not be underestimated. Engaging in an internship exposes students to different industries, sectors, and organizational cultures. This exposure broadens their perspectives and equips them with a diverse skill set that is highly valued in today’s job market. Additionally, internships allow students to explore potential career paths and make informed decisions about their future trajectories.

For example, a PhD student specializing in renewable energy might secure an internship with a clean energy company. Through this experience, they may work on cutting-edge projects, collaborate with experts in the field, and gain exposure to industry trends and challenges. This hands-on involvement can solidify their passion for the subject, provide a deeper understanding of the practical implications of their research, and potentially open doors to job offers or further collaborations in the renewable energy sector.

The Purpose and Benefits of PhD Internships

PhD internships serve a primary purpose: to bridge the gap between the theoretical knowledge acquired during doctoral studies and its practical application in real-world settings. These internships provide a platform for PhD students to translate their expertise into tangible solutions for practical problems, gaining invaluable real-world experience along the way.

Applying theoretical knowledge to practical problems

PhD interns have the opportunity to put their academic knowledge into action by working on real-world projects. For example, a computer science PhD student might intern at a technology company, where they can apply their expertise in machine learning algorithms to develop innovative solutions for data analysis or natural language processing. This practical application not only validates the relevance of their research but also hones their problem-solving skills in a practical context.

Practical experience

One of the significant benefits of PhD internships is the hands-on experience they offer. Interns are exposed to the day-to-day realities of their field, gaining insights that go beyond what can be learned from textbooks or research papers. They learn to navigate the complexities of project management, interact with diverse teams, and adapt their skills to meet real-world challenges. This practical experience enhances their understanding of the subject matter and equips them with a broader skill set.

Networking opportunities

PhD internships provide an excellent platform for networking and building professional relationships. Interns have the chance to collaborate with industry professionals, researchers, and experts in their field. These connections can lead to future research collaborations, recommendations, or even job opportunities. For instance, a PhD intern working in a pharmaceutical company may interact with senior scientists and executives, establishing relationships that could result in co-authored publications or future employment prospects.

Skill development

PhD internships offer a fertile ground for skill development and enhancement. Beyond the technical expertise gained during their doctoral studies, interns acquire a range of transferable skills that are highly valued in both academic and industry settings. These skills may include project management, teamwork, communication, problem-solving, and adaptability. Engaging in practical projects during internships allows students to develop and showcase these skills, making them well-rounded professionals.

Career exploration

Another significant benefit of PhD internships is the opportunity to explore diverse career paths. Doctoral students may enter their programs with a specific career trajectory in mind, but internships can expose them to alternative options they might not have considered. For example, an intern in a policy think tank may discover a passion for science communication or science policy, leading them to pursue a career in that field. Internships enable students to make informed decisions about their future career directions based on firsthand experiences.

In summary, PhD internships serve the purpose of applying theoretical knowledge to practical problems, fostering real-world experience. The benefits of such internships include gaining practical experience, networking opportunities, skill development, and the chance to explore diverse career paths. By participating in internships, PhD students enrich their academic journey, acquire valuable skills, and position themselves for successful careers that blend academia and industry.

Finding PhD Internships

Finding the right PhD internship opportunity can be an exciting yet challenging endeavor. Here are different methods and strategies to help you navigate the process and maximize your chances of securing a valuable internship:

University programs

Many universities have established partnerships with industry or research organizations that offer internships exclusively to their students. Check with your university’s career services department or academic advisors to explore any internship programs available specifically for PhD students. These programs often have dedicated resources and connections to help match students with relevant internship opportunities.

Research institutions and companies

Research institutions, both public and private, often offer internships to PhD students. Explore renowned research institutions in your field of study and inquire about any internship programs they may have. Additionally, reach out to companies or organizations that align with your research interests and inquire about internship opportunities. These organizations may have ongoing projects or initiatives that require the expertise of doctoral students.


Building and leveraging professional networks is a powerful tool in finding PhD internships. Attend conferences, workshops, and seminars in your field to connect with researchers, industry professionals, and potential internship hosts. Engage in conversations, express your research interests, and inquire about any internship possibilities. Networking platforms such as LinkedIn can also be valuable for connecting with professionals and staying updated on internship opportunities.

Online platforms

Online job boards, internship websites, and professional networking platforms can be excellent resources for finding PhD internships. Websites like Indeed, LinkedIn, Glassdoor, and ResearchGate often list internship opportunities across various industries and research fields. Use specific keywords related to your research area and regularly check these platforms for new internship postings. You can also set up job alerts to receive notifications when relevant internships become available.

Tips for effective searching and applying for internships:

  • Research extensively: Take the time to thoroughly research organizations, research institutions, or companies that align with your research interests. Understand their work, ongoing projects, and internship programs they offer. This knowledge will help you target your search and tailor your applications accordingly.
  • Customize your application materials: Tailor your resume/CV, cover letter, and any other required documents to match the specific internship opportunity. Highlight relevant research experience, technical skills, and achievements that demonstrate your suitability for the position. Make sure your application materials showcase your unique strengths and how you can contribute to the organization.
  • Seek guidance and recommendations: Reach out to your academic advisors, professors, or mentors for guidance and recommendations. They may have valuable insights, connections, or recommendations for internship opportunities. Their support and endorsement can strengthen your application.
  • Follow application instructions: Pay close attention to the application instructions provided by the internship host. Follow the submission guidelines, format requirements, and deadlines precisely. Attention to detail and adherence to instructions demonstrate professionalism and attention to quality.
  • Prepare for interviews: If you are shortlisted for an interview, prepare by researching the organization further, reviewing your own research and experiences, and anticipating potential interview questions. Practice articulating your research interests and goals concisely and confidently.

By combining various methods of searching, leveraging networking opportunities, and following effective application strategies, you can increase your chances of finding and securing a valuable PhD internship. Remember to be proactive, persistent, and adaptable in your approach, as the internship landscape can be competitive. Good luck with your search!

The Application Process

The application process for a PhD internship typically involves several components that showcase your qualifications, research experience, and potential contributions to the internship host organization. Here are the typical components of a PhD internship application, along with the importance of tailoring your materials and the potential stages of the selection process:

  1. Resume/CV: Your resume or curriculum vitae (CV) provides an overview of your academic background, research experience, skills, and accomplishments. Tailor your resume/CV to highlight relevant research projects, technical skills, publications, presentations, and any other achievements that demonstrate your suitability for the internship. Emphasize experiences that align with the specific internship opportunity, showcasing your ability to contribute to their objectives.
  2. Cover letter: A cover letter is your opportunity to express your interest in the internship and explain how your skills and research background align with the organization’s goals. Tailor your cover letter to address the internship’s specific requirements, research focus, or projects. Clearly articulate your motivations, research interests, and how your expertise can benefit the internship host. Demonstrate your understanding of their work and convey enthusiasm for contributing to their initiatives.
  3. Research papers: Some internship applications may require the submission of research papers or writing samples. Select papers that showcase your research capabilities, methodology and the relevance of your work to the internship opportunity. If possible, choose papers that align with the research interests or focus areas of the internship host. Emphasize the significance of your research findings and their potential impact.
  4. Recommendation letters: Recommendation letters provide insights into your academic abilities, research potential, and personal qualities. Select individuals who can speak to your research capabilities, work ethic, and potential contributions as an intern. Seek recommendations from professors, research advisors, or professionals who have directly supervised your work. Request letters well in advance and provide your recommenders with the necessary details about the internship and your research interests to help them tailor their recommendations to the opportunity.

Tailoring application materials is crucial to stand out from the competition and demonstrate your genuine interest in the internship. By customizing your resume/CV, cover letter, and research papers to match the specific internship opportunity, you show the selection committee that you have taken the time to understand their organization and are genuinely motivated to contribute to their objectives. This level of personalization increases your chances of being shortlisted for further evaluation.

The selection process for PhD internships may involve multiple stages, including:

  • Initial screening: The organization may conduct an initial review of applications to shortlist candidates based on the relevance of their qualifications and experiences.
  • Interviews: Shortlisted candidates may be invited for interviews, which can be conducted in person, over the phone, or through video conferencing platforms. Interviews provide an opportunity for the internship host to assess your fit for the organization and discuss your research interests, skills, and potential contributions.
  • Technical assessments: Depending on the nature of the internship, you may be required to undergo technical assessments, such as coding tests, research simulations, or case studies. These assessments evaluate your technical competencies and problem-solving skills directly related to the internship.
  • Reference checks: The organization may reach out to your listed references to gain further insights into your qualifications, work ethic, and research capabilities.

The selection process varies among organizations and internships, so be prepared for different stages or variations in the process. It is essential to remain responsive, professional, and prepared throughout the selection process, showcasing your expertise and enthusiasm for the internship opportunity.

Remember to carefully follow the application instructions, meet the deadlines, and present yourself as a well-qualified candidate who is genuinely interested in contributing to the internship host organization. Good luck with your application!

Funding and Support

PhD internships can provide financial support through various avenues, including paid internships, stipends, grants, scholarships, or a combination of these. Here’s an elaboration on the availability of funding for PhD internships and the importance of researching funding options:

  1. Paid internships: Some internships offer monetary compensation for the work performed during the internship period. These paid internships often provide a stipend or salary, which can help offset living expenses and contribute to the financial well-being of PhD students. Paid internships are typically offered by industry organizations or well-funded research institutions that have the resources to support intern compensation.
  2. Stipends: In some cases, PhD internships may provide stipends to cover living expenses during the internship period. Stipends can vary depending on the internship host, location, and duration of the internship. Stipends can be particularly common in research-focused internships, where interns work on specific projects or contribute to ongoing research initiatives.
  3. Grants and scholarships: There are various grants and scholarships available to support PhD internships. These funding opportunities may be offered by universities, government agencies, nonprofit organizations, or private foundations. Research and identify relevant grants or scholarships that align with your research area, career goals, or the specific internship opportunity you are pursuing. These funding options can provide financial assistance and alleviate the financial burden associated with the internship.

When considering a PhD internship opportunity, it is crucial to research funding options and carefully consider the financial implications. Here’s why it’s important:

  1. Financial support: Internships that offer paid positions or stipends can provide financial stability during your internship period. This support can help cover living expenses, transportation costs, and other necessary expenditures, ensuring that you can fully focus on the internship without worrying about financial constraints.
  2. Cost of living: Keep in mind that the cost of living can vary depending on the location of the internship. If you are considering an internship in a different city or country, research and evaluate the cost of living in that area. Consider factors such as housing, transportation, healthcare, and daily expenses to assess the financial feasibility of the internship.
  3. Impact on personal finances: Assess how participating in an unpaid or low-paying internship may impact your personal finances. Consider your existing financial commitments, such as tuition fees, rent, or loan repayments. Evaluate whether you have the financial resources to support yourself during the internship period or if you need to explore funding options to alleviate potential financial strain.
  4. Long-term career benefits: While financial considerations are essential, also consider the long-term career benefits and potential impact of the internship on your research trajectory. An internship that aligns closely with your research interests and career goals may offer valuable learning experiences, networking opportunities, and future career prospects that can outweigh the short-term financial constraints.

By researching funding options, applying for relevant grants or scholarships, and considering the financial implications of an internship, you can make an informed decision that aligns with both your research aspirations and financial circumstances. Remember to explore all available resources, such as university funding offices, scholarship databases, or external funding opportunities, to maximize your chances of securing financial support for your PhD internship.

Making the Most of a PhD Internship

A PhD internship can be a transformative experience that offers numerous opportunities for personal and professional growth. To maximize the benefits of your internship, consider the following tips:

  1. Set clear goals: Before starting your internship, establish clear goals and objectives. Define what you want to achieve during the internship in terms of research experience, skill development, or networking opportunities. By setting specific goals, you can focus your efforts and make the most of the available resources and opportunities.
  2. Establish good communication: Communication is key to a successful internship experience. Maintain open and proactive communication with your internship supervisor, mentor, and colleagues. Regularly update them on your progress, seek guidance or feedback when needed, and express your enthusiasm for the work. Good communication helps build strong working relationships and ensures that you are on track with your internship objectives.
  3. Seek mentorship: Actively seek out mentorship opportunities during your internship. Identify individuals within the host organization who can provide guidance and support in your research and professional development. A mentor can offer valuable insights, share their experiences, and provide advice on navigating the internship and future career paths. Building a strong mentor-mentee relationship can be instrumental in your growth and success during and beyond the internship.
  4. Network strategically: Take advantage of networking opportunities within the host organization and beyond. Attend company events, seminars, and team meetings to interact with professionals in your field. Engage in conversations, ask thoughtful questions, and express genuine interest in their work. Networking can lead to valuable connections, future collaborations, or even job prospects. Remember to maintain and nurture these connections even after the internship ends.
  5. Learn from experienced professionals: Make an effort to learn from experienced professionals in your internship organization. Observe their work processes, techniques, and problem-solving approaches. Seek opportunities to collaborate or shadow them on projects. Engaging with experienced professionals allows you to gain insights, broaden your perspectives, and acquire valuable skills that can enhance your research and professional abilities.
  6. Seek feedback and growth opportunities: Actively seek feedback on your research and professional skills throughout the internship. Regularly check in with your supervisor or mentor to discuss your progress and areas for improvement. Embrace constructive criticism and use it as an opportunity for growth. Additionally, seek out additional training or learning opportunities offered by the organization, such as workshops, seminars, or professional development programs. These experiences can further enhance your skill set and knowledge base.
  7. Reflect and document your experience: Take time to reflect on your internship experience and document your learnings. Maintain a journal or a reflective log to record your achievements, challenges, and lessons learned. Reflecting on your experiences can help solidify your understanding, identify areas of improvement, and serve as a valuable resource when updating your resume/CV or discussing your internship experience in future interviews.

By setting clear goals, establishing good communication, seeking mentorship, networking strategically, learning from experienced professionals, and actively seeking feedback, you can make the most of your PhD internship. Embrace the opportunities for growth, both personally and professionally, and use the experience as a stepping stone towards your future career endeavors.

Template for a PhD internship resume/CV

Here’s a template for a PhD internship resume/CV:

[Your Name] [Contact Information: Phone Number, Email Address, LinkedIn Profile]

Objective: A motivated and dedicated PhD student seeking a challenging internship opportunity to apply theoretical knowledge and gain practical experience in [research field]. Committed to contributing to innovative research projects and acquiring valuable skills in [specific areas of interest].


  • [Degree] in [Field of Study], [University Name], [Year of Graduation]
  • [Thesis/Dissertation Title]: [Brief description of research topic and key findings]
  • Relevant coursework: [List any relevant coursework or specialized training]

Research Experience:

  • [Research Assistant/Associate], [University/Research Institution], [Dates]
    • Participated in [specific research project], assisting with data collection, analysis, and interpretation.
    • Developed and implemented research methodologies, ensuring accuracy and reliability of results.
    • Collaborated with multidisciplinary teams, contributing to the successful completion of project milestones.
  • [Intern/Researcher], [Company/Organization], [Dates]
    • Conducted [specific research tasks] related to [research focus or project].
    • Analyzed data and prepared comprehensive reports, highlighting key findings and recommendations.
    • Presented research findings at team meetings and conferences, engaging in discussions and knowledge exchange.


  • Technical skills: [List relevant technical skills, methodologies, software/tools, programming languages, etc.]
  • Analytical skills: [Highlight your ability to analyze data, interpret results, and draw conclusions]
  • Communication skills: [Include oral and written communication skills, presentation experience]
  • Problem-solving skills: [Mention your ability to identify and solve complex problems]


  • [List any published research papers, conference papers, or presentations]
    • Title of Publication, Journal/Conference Name, Year

Professional Associations:

  • [Membership in relevant professional organizations or associations]
    • [Association Name], [Year-Present]
    • [Association Name], [Year-Present]

References: Available upon request.

Additional Information:

  • [Include any additional information that is relevant to the internship or showcases your achievements, awards, or extracurricular involvement]

Remember to tailor the resume/CV to the specific PhD internship opportunity you’re applying for. Customize the sections, highlighting relevant research experiences, skills, and accomplishments that align with the internship’s requirements. Keep the resume/CV concise, well-organized, and visually appealing, and proofread it carefully to ensure there are no errors. Good luck with your PhD internship application!.

Hypothetical Filled Resume for PhD Research Internship

Here’s a hypothetical filled resume/CV for a PhD internship:

John Doe 123 Main Street, Anytown, USA | (555) 123-4567 | [email protected] | LinkedIn:

Objective: A motivated and dedicated PhD student seeking a challenging internship opportunity to apply theoretical knowledge and gain practical experience in computational biology. Committed to contributing to innovative research projects and acquiring valuable skills in data analysis and genomics.


  • Ph.D. in Computational Biology, University of XYZ, 2023
  • Dissertation Title: “Computational Approaches for Genomic Data Analysis”
  • Relevant coursework: Advanced Genomics, Statistical Modeling, Data Mining, Machine Learning

Research Experience:

  • Research Assistant, Center for Genomics and Bioinformatics, University of XYZ, 2021-2023
    • Participated in a large-scale genomics project, assisting with data collection, quality control, and analysis.
    • Developed and implemented computational methodologies for genomic data analysis, including differential gene expression analysis and pathway enrichment analysis.
    • Collaborated with a multidisciplinary team of biologists and statisticians, contributing to the successful completion of project milestones.
  • Summer Research Intern, ABC Research Institute, 2020
    • Conducted computational analyses on RNA-seq datasets to identify differentially expressed genes in cancer cells.
    • Analyzed data using R programming and bioinformatics tools, performing statistical tests and visualizing results.
    • Presented research findings at an internal research symposium, engaging in discussions and receiving feedback.


  • Technical skills: R programming, Python, Unix/Linux, Bioconductor, Genomic Data Analysis, Next-Generation Sequencing (NGS) analysis
  • Analytical skills: Proficient in statistical analysis, data interpretation, and visualization techniques
  • Communication skills: Strong oral and written communication skills, experienced in presenting research findings
  • Problem-solving skills: Able to identify and solve complex problems in computational biology


  • Doe, J., Smith, A., & Johnson, R. (2023). “Identification of Differentially Expressed Genes in Breast Cancer using RNA-seq Data.” Journal of Bioinformatics, 12(3), 45-60.

Professional Associations:

  • Member, International Society for Computational Biology (ISCB), 2021-Present
  • Member, American Statistical Association (ASA), 2022-Present

References: Available upon request.

Additional Information:

  • Awarded the Outstanding Research Assistant Scholarship for excellence in research contributions.
  • Organized and presented at the university’s Computational Biology Seminar Series.
  • Fluent in English and Spanish.

Remember, this is a hypothetical filled resume, so feel free to modify and adapt it based on your own qualifications, research experience, and skills. Tailor the resume to the specific internship you are applying for, emphasizing the most relevant aspects of your background.

Research Internships for PhD Students in Top Organizations

To help you discover exciting internship programs, we have compiled a list of 20 research internships specifically designed for PhD students. From prestigious technology companies to renowned research institutions, these internships offer a range of opportunities across various fields.

Explore the table below to find potential internships that align with your research interests and career aspirations. Remember to visit the respective websites for more information and application details. Embark on an enriching internship journey that can shape your future in academia, industry, or research.

Here is a table of research internships for PhD students:

PhD Internship ProgramWeb Address
Google AI Residency Program
Microsoft Research Internship
Facebook Research Internship
IBM Research Internship
Adobe Research Internship
Amazon Science Internship
Intel Labs Research Internship
NVIDIA Research Internship
Apple PhD Internship Program
OpenAI Research Internship
MIT Lincoln Laboratory Internship
NASA Internships
National Institutes of Health (NIH)
National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)
Bosch Research Internship
Siemens Research Internship
Samsung Research Internship
Toyota Research Internship
General Electric (GE) Global Research Internship
Qualcomm Research Internship

Please note that the availability and application deadlines for these internships may vary. It’s recommended to visit the respective websites for detailed information on each program, including eligibility criteria and the application process.

Research Internships Worldwide @ Your Finger Tips

Visit our interactive world map! This map is a powerful tool for exploring research internships available worldwide. With it, you can easily find information about research opportunities in different countries. Click on the map or the Button below to visit our Research Internship Worldmap.


PhD internships serve as a crucial bridge between academia and industry, offering numerous benefits and opportunities for students’ career development. Throughout this blog post, we have explored the concept of PhD internships, their purpose, and the ways in which they can shape a student’s future.

PhD internships allow students to apply their theoretical knowledge to practical problems, gaining real-world experience in their chosen field. By immersing themselves in industry or research environments, interns have the chance to tackle challenging projects, collaborate with professionals, and contribute to cutting-edge initiatives. This hands-on experience not only enhances their technical skills but also cultivates essential transferable skills such as teamwork, communication, and problem-solving.

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Dr. Vijay Rajpurohit
Author: Dr. Vijay Rajpurohit
Dr. Vijay Rajpurohit is a researcher in Computer Science. He loves to educate researchers and research scholars on Research Paper Writing, Thesis Writing, Research Grants, Patenting Research Work and the latest Research-related issues. You can reach him @ [email protected]