What is an internship?

An internship is a pre-professional work term that provides students, recent graduates and those seeking to change career paths, with an opportunity to gain experience in a particular field.

McGill University and CaPS encourage students to pursue experiential learning opportunities during their studies. As such, we provide many resources and opportunities for you to find meaningful work and develop and enhance your skillset.

At CaPS we believe students should be remunerated for productive work, and we recommend that all employers offer compensation to interns.  CaPS does not post unpaid internships/opportunities unless the organization is not for profit. We may post unpaid internships for NGOs / NPOs, and these must be indicated as unpaid. CaPS follows the ethical recruitment guideline of the Canadian Association of Career Educators & Employers (CACEE) Statement on Unpaid Internships

It is particularly important to do your research when evaluating potential internship opportunities. Below are some sample questions to consider during the application process.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding an internship opportunity, don’t hesitate to get in touch with CaPS!

Sample Questions to Evaluate Internship Opportunities

  • Can I articulate my goals for this internship?
  • If work authorization is required (i.e. for international internships), who is responsible for obtaining this?
  • Do I need approval from McGill to participate?
  • Is there a fee associated with this internship? If so, what is included?
  • Have I thoroughly researched this company/organization?
  • Has the company hosted interns previously?
  • Is this a hands-on internship or would I primarily be observing people/processes?
  • Are there clear objectives/goals for this internship? (Is there an outline/structure in place?)
  • Are there particular projects on which I would be working?
  • Is there a defined start and end date?
  • Is this internship related to my field of studies/future career goals?
  • What kind of supervision/feedback would I receive?
  • Does my supervisor have relevant qualifications/training?
  • Are there additional mentoring opportunities provided?
  • Will I have a physical office space to work in?
  • Is the internship paid or unpaid?
  • Is there a stipend?
  • What kind of training will I be receiving?
  • Will this internship help me develop skills and experience relevant to my future career goals?
  • Will this internship help me make contacts and expand my network in this field?
  • Is there the opportunity for credit/recognition through McGill/my program?

Steps to Finding the Right Internship

Securing an internship should be treated in the same way as obtaining a full-time job. The foundation of successful career planning is sound exploration of your interests, values, skills, and goals. Internships can be competitive and the recruitment process should be taken seriously. Finding the internship that is right for you requires patience, research and a plan of action. Before looking for an internship, visit the Internship Offices Network's steps to find an internship guide for useful tips on how to prepare a cover letter for an internship and steps to find an internship.


Internship provides the following benefits:

  • Gaining hands-on experience and build marketable/transferable skills to get a job in the future.
  • A chance to test the waters and decide if this is the right career for you.
  • Learning what your dream industry or field or company is like.
  • Providing opportunities to network, link with mentors and people in your field.

Regulations & Protections for Interns and Student Interns

As an intern or student intern, you receive protections under the federal labour standards for interns and student interns. All federally regulated employers are required to follow the Canada Labour Code and meet the labour standards regarding occupational health and safety, standard hours, wages, vacations and holidays.

Interns (definition): Individuals seeking to obtain knowledge or experience through a temporary placement in a workplace that is not part of an educational program. They will have the same labour standards protections as employees, including the right to be paid at least the minimum wage.

Student interns (definition): Students undertaking a temporary placement in a workplace that fulfills the requirements of an educational program. They may be unpaid and will be entitled to certain labour standards protections set out in the new regulations.

Please note that CaPS and McGill do not endorse any particular websites/services; the listing is for your information only.
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