How long has this program been in place?
The BCI Internship Program first received funding in 2013 and was launched in April 2014. The first internships started in the summer of 2014.
In which fields do you facilitate internships?
BCI facilitates internships for Ph.D. students in fields outside academic research, such as R&D in biotech or pharmaceutical companies; technology transfer; science policy; science administration; science education; and scientific writing. Our goal is to provide students the opportunity for hands-on experience in their field of interest.
Will I receive a stipend and health insurance during the internship?
Yes. BCI or the host organization will cover your stipend and health insurance during the internship. Neither your PI, nor your graduate program will be responsible for these costs.
Will the internship count toward the student’s time-to-degree?
The standard procedure for the BCI internship program involves Leave of Absence (LOA), for the duration of the internship. This way, the time away from the lab will NOT count toward a student’s time-to degree. International students are not eligible to take LOA for internships, and therefore the duration of the internship would count for their time-to-degree. International students should consult with their program director before applying.
What is the purpose of the “Intent to Apply” Form?
The Intent to Apply form is a way for students to obtain approval to participate in an internship before begining the applicaiton process. Signatures from the PI and the graduate program director are needed to indicate their support in the student’s pursuit of an internship opportunity.
Within the current opportunities, how many positions are available in each company?
The number can vary! Typically, there is one position available for each internship opportunity. Some companies may offer multiple internship types (e.g. one internship in science writing and one in public outreach), and others may extend offers to multiple students for the same internship. In the past, when two students were offered the same internship, the students completed the internship sequentially.
Can I do a part-time internship?
Many of the host sites are flexible, so please contact us if you have questions as to whether a host site will consider a part-time intern.
What if I am not interested in the current opportunities but would be interested in other companies or different timelines?
Please contact BCI and we can discuss potential opportunities to target your interests and timeline.
Can I apply for multiple internships?
If you have the approval and support of your PI and program director, yes, you may apply for as many as you would like. However, we would advise you to read and think carefully about the different careers and associated tasks before applying for multiple internships. You might consider selecting one or two internships that seem to be a good fit, and applying to those positions.
Are all stipends the same amount?
The stipend will be equivalent to the stipend you receive as a graduate student.
Who is eligible for these internships?
Biomedical PhD candidates from across the university are all eligible to apply. In some cases, postdoctoral fellows from the school of medicine are also eligible. If you have questions about your eligibility, please contact us!
Can I graduate shortly before starting or while interning?
No. You must have student status in order to receive the student stipend and benefits during the internship. If you are close to graduation, you may take leave of absence for the duration of the internship and then return to complete any outstanding matters.
Can I do multiple internships?
BCI does not limit the number of internships per student. If you have your PI’s and graduate program director’s consent, you may apply for an internship opportunity even after completing one.
I am currently on a fellowship. Am I eligible to participate?
You will have to contact the funding agency to find out their rules regarding internships. You may not be able to participate in an internship while being funded by the fellowship agency, and you may or may not be able to interrupt that funding.
I am currently on a training grant. Am I eligible to participate?
You will have to contact the funding agency to find out their rules regarding internships. You may not be able to participate in an internship while being funded by the training grant and you may or may not be able to interrupt that funding.
As an international student, I am ineligible to take LOA for an internship. Is there another way to participate?
International graudate students may participate if they have approval from their graduate program director. The process involves an application for Curricular Practical Training (CPT) and registration for the Biomedical Sciences Practicum course. Please note that since this internship is optional it cannot be used as a reason to request an I-20 extension. Under the above requirements, international students would be eligible to do the internship during the academic year or during the summer.
What is the application process?
- Submit an Intent to Apply Form & application: Students will be required to submit a resume and cover letter by the indicated deadline. The cover letter should make reference to their accomplishments, why they are interested in the particular opportunity, and why they would be a good fit. The potential student supervisors at the internship sites will review these documents and may request interviews before deciding whom to accept. If you would like to be considered for more than one internship, you will need to tailor your resume and cover letter for each internship opportunity.
- Interviews: BCI will submit your application on your behalf. If a company is interested in interviewing you, they will contact you directly to set up an interview.
Do you select the applications you submit to the companies?
No, all complete applications will be submitted to the companies and they will decide whom to invite for interviews.
How can I get help preparing my application?
We encourage you to take advantage of the PDCO resume workshops and individual appointments while preparing your application.
If I have not worked in my field of interest, should I not apply?
You are not required to have direct experience in your field of interest prior to the internship. However, you should read the internship announcement carefully to identify any required skills that are listed. Students are strongly encouraged to take elective courses related to their field of interest and/or get involved in relevant extracurricular activities before they pursue an internship opportunity. Please check the BCI website for related information.
Do you need to visit the location to do your interview?
It depends on the company. Some do virtual and phone interviews, while others may want you to come in person.
What happens if I am selected?
Students who are invited for an internship will be asked to submit a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed by the mentor, the director of the graduate program, and the Associate Dean for Graduate Biomedical Education, ensuring that all parties are in agreement. The internship hosting company/organization or the BCI program will cover the stipend and health insurance for the duration of the internship. Before the start of the internship, students will be asked to participate in the company’s on-boarding process, which may include a criminal background check and possible signing of a confidentiality agreement.
Does BCI provide any resources or information to help me prepare for my internship?
The Professional Development and Career Office (PDCO) hosts numerous workshops that will help prepare you for your internship! From tipcs on conflict management, communication, and leadership to guidance on crafting application materials to one-on-one counseling sessions, the PDCO is here to help. Visit the PDCO calendar for event details or schedule a one-on-one meeting.
If my internship project takes an interesting turn, could I extend the time?
In principle, the internship can be extended for a maximum of 6 months full-time or a year part-time (1,040 hours if registered for the Biomedical Sciences Practicum). This is contingent to available funding, and the agreement of the PI and the graduate program director.
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