The internship begins when students return from Friday Harbor Labs and typically runs through the summer semester and fall semester of the second year. The program coordinator provides guidance during the internship and both the program and graduate coordinators assist students in locating internship opportunities the previous fall.

During their internship, students will participate in supplementary tutorial seminar (not a course in and of itself), designed to complement learning during and after the internship placement. Students will participate in activities to integrate academic learning and experiential learning including reflecting on their own and with their peers.

The internship is designed to move students closer to their eventual career goal. Although we provide examples of past internships elsewhere, we work with students on an individual basis to pursue an internship experience specific to their career and research interests. With that general goal in mind, there are not many set rules, as we allow the student and internship advisor to negotiate directly to determine the parameters of the internship. Here are some guidelines and factors to consider:

Time frame: The internship is generally held following the Friday Harbor session in mid-May through the following fall semester into mid-December. Past students have elected to do multiple internship opportunities during this six-month period. Some students are now permanently employed, many years later, exactly where they completed their internship!

Hours: Weekly work hours can vary among internships and even within a given internship (e.g. field time vs. lab or writing time). However, students should approach the internship as a short, intense period where weekly hours well in excess of a 40 may occur, as they are receiving valuable career training. If the internship is unpaid and financial limitations exist for the student, the advisor will consider that a student working 20 hours per week in their lab (similar to research fellowship requirements at Northeastern University) may also be working 20+ hours per week to meet expenses for room and board.

Pay: Internships can be paid or unpaid. However, paid internships opportunities may not be directly aligned with a research area most applicable to a student’s career goals. Therefore, we also encourage our students to pursue unpaid internships, with both the student and advisor understanding that if financial concerns exist, the student may need to split time between their internship and a paid job to make ends meet. We leave this subject to negotiation between the student and their potential advisor.