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.
Faculty Internship Programs
- 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.
Once you are logged in: Click the "Jobs" menu link -> In the “Position Type” field, enter "Internship” in the search box to see a list of internships.
- ION - Current Internship Opportunities
A list of internships and fellowship opportunities administered directly through ION.
- ION - Other Internship Opportunities
A list of other internship and fellowship opportunities listed on the ION website.
- ION - Internship Database
ION has a compilation of 700+ organizations offering internship opportunities. This database is searchable by study field, area of interest, study level and location.
- Institute for Health and Social Policy Internship Program
Both undergraduate and graduate students can apply. 7 to 11 policy-related paid internship projects (2-4 months) are offered in both Fall and Winter terms.
- GPS offers opportunities to doctoral students at the end of their degrees: Doctoral Internship Program
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
- 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 boards: LinkedIn | Workopolis | TalentEgg
- For more internship programs/organizations:
- Internship Providers (no fee)
- Internship Providers (with a fee)
Internship Review Websites
- If you are not sure which internship provider to choose from, visit Rank My Internship for internship reviews from recent graduates and students.
Convention de stage / Internship Confirmation Form
CaPS is not authorized to sign the "convention de stage" (internship agreement/confirmation) form. Please consult your faculty's Internship Office for this type of request.
If you are looking to intern abroad, consider these resources:
Accessible to McGill students only. (VPN is required for off-campus access. Registration with your McGill email is highly recommended)
If you have an idea which country you would like to intern abroad, this database is for you. The database provides a list of local job resources by country, work permit information, sample resumes by country, and cultural advice.
- First Hand
Accessible to McGill students only. (Registration with your McGill email is required)
First Hand offers many Internship programs, international internships and job opportunities.
- Internship opportunities with international organizations (French only)
The Relations Internationales et Francophonie Québec provides many international internship opportunities. This brochure explains how the program works.
- 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.
- Abroad Reviews
If you are not sure which is the best internship abroad program, check out reviews on this site before joining any organization.
Articles of Interest & Books about Internships
- Top Tips: Intern Abroad (MyWorldAbroad)
Register with your McGill email to obtain the full access of the resources. Topics include: Positions in international development, Development job profiles, American vs. Canadian NGOs, etc.
- Most popular types of international internships (Go Overseas)
List popular types of internships in another country and where to find them.
- Books & E-Books on Internship (Available in the McGill Library)
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:
- Enriched Educational Opportunities (EEOs)
This is a need-based bursary for field study, unpaid work, research internships, research abroad and certain music competition/invitational events.
- Faculty of Arts Internship Awards
Funding for returning undergraduate and graduate students.
- ION - Funding
Listings of external funding and internship awards.
- Pivot Funding Database (VPN is required for off-campus access)
This is one of the most comprehensive sources of funding for McGill students, faculty, staff researchers. You can search for funding in any discipline and country.
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.
- McGill: Summer Accommodation