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How do I go about getting an internship?

  1. Sep 12, 2014 #1
    I'm studying physics and I've just had my first week of second year. I know it's very early, but I'm determined to get an internship next summer. I am not completely sure how to get one. I imagine it's probably similar to finding a summer job, I find the universities who have a research group working on the topic I'm interested on, and I send out letters of application to them detailing my university modules and results so far, as well as any other relevant skills I have acquired. I know that recommendations from professors are useful, however not one of them knows me enough to make such a recommendation meaningful. Hopefully one of the universities accepts me, and I go over to work there for 1/2 months, getting some kind of payment in the end.

    So, if I have any misconceptions about the whole procedure, could someone correct them. Also, how early do I have to apply for the internship. I'm thinking just after I get my results from the first semester, which should be some time in early January. And most importantly, what can I do to maximise my chances of getting one? Thank you.
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 12, 2014 #2


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    Assuming that (i) you are in a US institution and (ii) you are a US citizen or permanent resident.

    The first thing you should do is talk to either your advisor, or a professor that you like. He/she should have a lot of information on where you should look for internships.

    Secondly, go to the Dept. of Energy website. Every year, they offer summer internships in various programs, such as SULI, etc.

    Thirdly, go to the various US National Laboratory websites, and look for their Educational Programs division or department. Each of these national labs also have their own internships programs, in addition to the ones they run as part of the DOE that I mentioned above.

    Lastly, there are several internship programs that are specific to certain areas. The one that I'm familiar with is the Lee Teng internships in accelerator physics that are jointly run each summer by Argonne and Fermilab.


    There are other similar programs, and this is where your advisor and/or instructor might have useful leads.

  4. Sep 12, 2014 #3
    Oh I see. I live in Europe however, Ireland specifically so I think I'd need to find different organisations. Another question, most of these programs would be aimed at a specific type of internship, while I had some specific areas of interests in mind. Is it usually possible to find something close in such a situation? In other words, how restricted is the choice.
  5. Sep 12, 2014 #4


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    Remember that internships are not a given. Regardless of any help you might get, you have to land an interview and get that job. It can be quite challenging if the job market isn't right. So if you don't land one right away, don't be discouraged, life in general is just plain tough....especially as a youngster starting out.
  6. Sep 13, 2014 #5
    Physics is not my field -- A place to start is seeking an internship with a professor in your department; then use that reference for your resume for work placement as an intern in your senior year.
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