What is a Research Internship?

Troy Holmes

Most science and research organizations offer internships as a form of work experience for college students. A research internship is typically available in the most academic science programs. This internship includes studies in the areas of physics, marine biology, and earth science.

Research internships can offer training that may not be available in a university lab.
Research internships can offer training that may not be available in a university lab.

A research internship is a special program designed for students who aspire to become scientist or medical professionals when they graduate. These programs are typically designed for undergraduate students, who get the opportunity to work with scientists in their chosen major of study. This internship provides work experience and networking opportunities that can be used after graduation.

Many medical universities offer research internships for undergraduate students.
Many medical universities offer research internships for undergraduate students.

An internship is typically a volunteer program. Most of these programs offer valuable research training that is not available within the labs of university campuses. This research is typically performed in real-world locations, which gives the student a better understanding of his future work environment.

Marine biology is the study of marine wildlife. Most marine biology research is performed by non-profit entities including universities and government agencies. These organizations study the natural habitat of marine mammals based on specific research programs. A research internship is a program that teaches student how to prepare and manage specific testing experiments.

Many universities offer summer undergraduate research fellowship (SURF) programs. These research internship programs teach students laboratory research in the areas of biochemistry, microbiology and physics. This is a very competitive program, which offers student’s hands-on experience with many of today’s leading scientist.

California is a state with an unusually large amount of seismic activity. This is because of the San Andreas Fault in the center of the state. There are several earth science internship programs that provide research and study of earthquakes. The Southern California Earthquake Center (SCEC) offers research internship programs that are based on earth science research.

The research internship in science and engineering (RISE) is an international internship that focuses on scientific study. This German internship focuses on the fields of biology, earth science, engineering, and chemistry. Students work on the RISE programs through grants funded from the European recovery program (ERP) and other large organizations throughout the world.

Many medial universities offer research internships for undergraduate students. These programs focus on medical research in biochemistry and medicine. The research for these programs is typically performed in the medical laboratories of the universities. Students work with university scientists to study medical research on many human diseases.

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Discussion Comments


@ysmina-- I think you certainly can. I don't see why not.

Internships are certainly experience and research internships are even better. Usually, the student has hands-on experience and assists in many significant projects. These are not internships where the intern is just expected to answer phones and make coffee.

This is why students should always request their employers for more responsibility during internships. Because at the end of the day, when you graduate and are looking for jobs, all of your experience will be from internships and assistantships. So the more you do and learn, the higher the chances of being hired.


Can I add research internships as experience on applications? I've heard that some employers do not accept internships as work experience.


Research internships aren't just available in sciences like physics and biology. They're also available in social sciences like political science.

I had research internships all through my graduate studies and I learned a great deal through them. I was basically a research assistant and conducted research on various topics and prepared reports and summaries. Research is actually a lot of fun, I enjoy it.

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