How to organise an internshipThe best
undergraduate courses provide solid foundations for careers in Science
and other sectors, as well as high quality research experience through
course requirements for research projects and/or placements in external
of the best Postgraduate Schools and Programmes prefer candidates who
have an excellent academic record (typically 2:1 or 1st Class Honours
BSc or MSc degree) as well as internship experience in one or more
provide important insights into how research is done and whether the
internee has the necessary qualities, intellectrual curiosity and
ability, enthusiasm, initiative, independence and ability to work in a
team, self motivation, energy and ability to design and carry out
experiments to be a successful researcher.
undergraduates find their research project one of their most enjoyable
parts of their course, and this leads many to choose a PhD
career. The most successful PhD candidates tend to be those who
have had prior research experience through project and preferably
interships as well, although academically strong candidates with only
undergraduate project experience are also very good candidates.
Those who have done internships might be preferred for some PhD
Studentships for various reasons, e.g. potentially better understanding
of research, increased maturity, experience of a variety of
research methods and experimental approaches, more opportunities to
solve problems, increased confidence, etc.
importantly internships will enable you to decide whether you feel
passionate about and able to succeed in research for at least the next
3-4 years of your career.
should try to organise an internship ideally in the summer
vacation at the end of your 2nd or 3rd year. A good idea might be
to volunteer for 4-6 weeks at the end of 1st and/or 2nd year and to
apply for a vacation studentship for the summer of the 3rd year.
of Biochemistry, University of Oxford, because this is a high quality
research training environment, and you can easily access research labs
- Other research departments in Oxford or in
your Home city or elsewhere in the UK where vacation studentships are
advertised (see back pages of New Scientist and Nature)
- Industrial research laboratories in the UK/abroad
- Abroad, in internationally recognized research universities and research institutes
Sources of Information
- From your courses you will be attracted to some areas of Molecular Biochemistry.
- Review the department's research groups pages and make a shortlist of Principal Investigators (PI's) whose research topics interest you most
to meet the PI's of highest interest to you, and find out whether they
can accommodate a internee in their groups. Be prepared to give
them a copy of your academic CV, which should list the name and contact
details of your tutor(s), who can act as your referee(s) if
necessary. You should find out whether there is any project that
the group needs to investigate, the aims of the research, the
experimental approaches, what research methods you might expect to
learn, and whether there would be direct supevision in the summer.
you find a PI who can accommodate an internee, you will also need to
identify a funding source that will support your living costs.
You will need about £180-£200 per week to pay for your rent and other
costs in Oxford.
- Ideally, your supervisor (PI) will apply for a Vacation Studentship to various funding bodies,
naming you on the application (the link leads to further information).
Funding is a competitive process, so you will need a good academic CV
(usually predicted M.Biochem. with Honours Class 2:1 or higher), and
may need to apply to more than one funding body. From time to
time a PI might have small funds that could be used to support an
- Alternatively you may be able to organise a
part-time internship, where your income for living costs comes from
part-time work in College or in town and an accommodation grant from
college (ask your college if they offer any opportunities for the
summer, e.g. accommodation in return for help with conferences or
office work to support your internship)
- You may volunteer to do research in a lab while living at home, if you don't have to work all summer for income.
(e.g. websites of Univeristies, Research Centres, Industrial
Companies, Research Funding Organisations, Professional Societies)
- Scientific Press
- Your Tutors
- Careers Service
- Direct contact
Page Last Updated: 27/02/2008 by Dr. M. Gregoriou
© 2008 Department of Biochemistry