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What Is An Internship?

What is an internship? What are the benefits of an internship? This article covers the internship definition and why you should do one.

Feb 8, 2024
  • Student Tips
  • Education
What is an internship? Internship definition

Graduate internships definition

What is an internship?

An internship is a structured, temporary position offered by companies and organizations to students or young professionals, allowing them to gain practical experience in a specific industry.

Internships are a great way to gain valuable hands-on experience of working with other professionals, develop your hard and soft skills, network and explore different career paths available to you.

What is a graduate internship?

Graduate internships are designed for individuals who have completed their graduate degrees, such as a Master's or PhD.

They are typically full-time, paid or unpaid work opportunities that usually last between three months and a year.

Graduate internships can be found across a breadth of industries, providing deep learning experiences and professional growth.

What is an intern?

An intern is a person who works for a limited period of time at a company, organization, government agency, or non-profit to gain practical experience in a particular field of interest.

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The purpose of an internship and the benefits of an internship

So, why even pursue a graduate internship? The purpose of an internship is to gain:

  • Real-world experience
  • A strengthened resume or CV
  • Opportunities to build a robust network
  • Guidance from industry experts
  • Academic credits or allowances (subject to availability)

You can read more about why internships are important in our article on the importance of summer internships.

Types of internships

Internships for graduates come in various forms and can be tailored to suit different career goals.

Industry-specific internships

These internships are focused on a particular industry and give you a concentrated experience in that field.

They may be with a private company, where you can contribute directly to business operations and strategy, or with professional associations that provide unique exposure to industry challenges and best practices.

Here are a few examples of industry-specific internships:

  • Business administration internships offer practical work experience in the field of business, with a focus on learning about the administrative and operational aspects of running a business, including strategic planning, project management, and organizational behavior.
  • Psychology internships provide practical experience in the field of psychology, offering exposure to various specialties such as clinical psychology, counseling, social psychology, or industrial-organizational psychology.
  • Communications internships focus on building effective communication strategies, enhancing brand awareness, and engaging with target audiences. These internships are great for students interested in media, journalism, marketing, or public relations.
  • Consulting internships allow you to get work experience in a consulting firm or the consulting department of a larger organization. Interns work alongside consultants on various projects, helping clients solve complex business challenges, improve performance, and maximize growth.

Research internships

Postgraduate research internships provide opportunities to work on ongoing research projects.

These internships are common in academic settings, but can also be found within private and non-profit sectors that value innovation and inquiry.

You can find these kinds of opportunities on university's website, or regular job posting sites like Glassdoor, LinkedIn and Indeed.

Non-profit and government Internships

Interning with a non-profit organization or government agency is a rewarding way to apply your skills towards public service goals.

These internships are often designed to address social issues and public policy, and can be particularly meaningful for those looking to make a positive impact through their work.

That said, they're often very exclusive, and not very common. To find one, keep a lookout for these opportunities on the official governmental site of your country/state.

Internship requirements

Internship requirements

Academic qualifications

Most postgraduate internships require a relevant and completed degree or other specialist qualifications.

Some internships might have specific educational backgrounds that they're looking for, so it's important to match your credentials with the internship requirements.

Read more about academic qualifications:

Application process and deadlines

Start your application early.

The application process for graduate internships is similar to that of regular jobs and can be quite competitive. It's essential to research and apply to your desired internships well in advance.

Internship duration and commitment

The length of graduate internships often ranges from a few months to a year, with the potential for extensions or a permanent position.

Be prepared to make a serious commitment and fully engage with your internship responsibilities.


Graduate internships are a cornerstone for career advancement. They offer a wealth of experience and networking opportunities that can't be replicated in the classroom.

Whether you're considering post graduate internships to explore new career paths or to enrich your existing skills, the benefits of such experiences are immense. As you transition from academia to the professional realm, remember that internships are powerful tools that can illuminate your career trajectory and open doors to new opportunities.

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