What is an internship?
Generally speaking, 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.
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? Researching a company (PDF)
- 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.
Steps to find an internship (Internship Offices Network)
Links to the following guides: A Guide to Internships, Writing a cover letter for an internship, and Writing a CV for 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.
Books about Internships
Does my faculty/school offer internship opportunities?
Most faculties offer both undergraduate and graduate students internships, co-op programs, practicums and field studies. For a list of available programs: Faculty Internship Programs. Please contact the program coordinators of each faculty/school to participate.
If you study with the Faculty of Arts, visit the Faculty of Arts Internship Office for assistance to students pursuing a short-term (8-12 weeks) internship opportunities: Arts Internship Office. For a list of internships: Internships Postings.
Is there an internship database that I can use to search for opportunities?
There are 3 databases to find internship opportunities. You must login with your McGill username and password to see the listings:
- myFuture - CaPS job and internship search tool. After you logged in: Click the "Jobs" menu link -> In the “Position Type” field, choose “Internship” to see the listings.
- McGill Internship Offices Network has a compilation of 700+ organizations offering internship opportunities. This database is searchable by study field, area of interest, study level and location: ION Internship Database
- McGill Agricultural and Environmental Sciences has compiled a list of companies who have hosted Mac student interns: Industry Database
- CaPS' Career Periodicals & Databases has a list of employment bulletins and databases offering both jobs and internship opportunities.
Where can I find on-campus internship opportunities?
For a list of internship postings with offices, organizations and programs based at McGill: On-campus Internships
I am a graduate student, where can I find internship programs open to graduate students?
McGill Internship Offices Network has compiled a list of organizations offering internships to graduate students: Graduate Student Internships and Awards
Where can I find a list of companies in Montreal offering internships in the past?
Faculty of Arts Internship Office has compiles a list of organizations in Montreal region that offer internships for students and recent graduates. The organizations in this PDF is grouped by interests: Host Organizations in Montreal (PDF)
Where can I find more internship opportunities?
- Sign up for the ION Internship Listserv to receive updates with information on: internship opportunities, information sessions, CV & cover letter writing workshops ION Internship Listserv
- Check out the link TalentEgg Challenges for real challenges from real companies that allow you to win some money and/or opportunities for an internship or contract.
- Search internship postings with these job banks: Workopolis | TalentEgg | Idealist
- Search for an internship with these Internship Providers that provide internship programs to students – paid, unpaid, or with a fee.
If you are looking to intern abroad, consider these resources:
- Going Global
*(VPN is required. Registration with your McGill email is highly recommended)
16 million worldwide job and internship listings, work permit information, sample resumes by country, and cultural advice.
- MyWorldAbroad (Registration with your McGill email is required)
4,000+ resources, 300+ expert articles and inspiring student stories. Visit the link What Do You Want To Do? -> Intern Abroad for opportunities.
- Vault Career Insider (Registration with your McGill email is required)
Internship programs, international internships and job opportunities. Many opportunities are in the USA.
- International Career Employment Weekly (E-Newspaper)
International jobs and internships. To obtain the full access of this e-newspaper, follow the instruction on this page - Career Databases & Periodicals
- Relations Internationales et Francophonie - Stages
Click "Consultez" to see internship opportunities. This brochure explains how the program works.
- AIESEC McGill
Global internship provider (124+ countries and 8000 organizations). A fee is required.
- International Experience Canada
IEC offers three types of opportunities (working holidays, young professional, and international co-op internship) for both Canadians and non-Canadians to gain international experience, skills and knowledge for future employment.
- Canada World Youth
CWY offers community-driven development projects to Canadians. Time length range from six weeks to one year. CWY covers the costs of some programs.
- Verge Magazine - Overseas Program Search
Listings of organizations and placement agencies offering international internship programs and work abroad opportunities.
- Abroad Reviews
Not sure which is the best abroad program? Check out their reviews before joining any organization.
- International Internship Providers | International Internship Providers - with a fee
Organizations offering international internships, some of them require a fee.
Articles of Interest
Financing Your Internship
Preparing for an unpaid internship requires financial planning. In addition to having to pay most, if not all, your expenses, some internships even charge fees. The following are links to a variety of funding sources:
- Faculty of Arts Internship Awards
Funding for both undergraduate and graduate students.
- Faculty of Arts Undergraduate Research - Arts Research Internship Awards (ARIA)
Financial support to undergraduate students who undertake research during the summer under a faculty member.
- ION - Graduate Student Internship Awards
Awards and funding opportunities for graduate interns.
- ION - Internships Awards
Listings of internship awards - from Rio Tinto to external funding.
- Charity Village - Sources of Funding
Provides a list of Canadian and US funding sources.
- CaPS - External Scholarships Database
Look for the link "Study Abroad" for a list of scholarships.
- COS Funding Opportunities *(VPN is required)
Claims to be the largest scholarship and funding database in the world.
- Links to more financing websites: Recommended websites
Most universities provide short-term or summer accommodation. You may search for the nearest universities of your desired location and visit their summer housing websites for more information.