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?
- 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
Recommended Books (Available at CaPS):
- Work experience, placements and internships
- All work, no pay: Finding an internship, building your resume, making connections, and gaining job experience
- Your last day of school: 56 ways you can be a great intern and turn your internship into a job
- Landing the internship or full-time job during college
- Internship books & e-books (Available in the McGill Library)
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.
- myFuture - Once you are logged in: Click the "Jobs" menu link -> In the “Position Type” field, choose “Internship” to see the listings.
- 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.
- ION has compiled a list of on-campus internships offered by organizations based at McGill: Internships
Internships for Graduate Students
- ION has compiled a list of organizations offering internships to graduate students: Internships
- 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 banks: AnyIntern | Workopolis | TalentEgg
- Search for internship programs in these directories:
- Internship Providers (no fee)
- Internship Provides (with a fee)
Internship Review Websites
- If you are not sure which internship provider to choose from, visit RankMyInternship for internship reviews from recent graduates and students.
If you are looking to intern abroad, consider these resources:
- McGill ION International Internships
The ION website provides a list of international internship programs and providers.
*(VPN is required. Registration with your McGill email is highly recommended)
If you have an idea which country you would like to intern abroad, this database if for you. The database provides a list of local job resources by country, including work permit information, sample resumes by country, and cultural advice.
- MyWorldAbroad (Registration with your McGill email is required)
If you are not sure what to do or where to look for an internship, visit the link What Do You Want To Do? -> Intern Abroad on this website to find ideas and a list of internship providers.
- Vault Career Insider (Registration with your McGill email is required)
Vault offers many Internship programs, international internships and job opportunities in the USA.
- Internship opportunities with international organizations (French only)
The Relations Internationales et Francophonie Québec office provides many international internship opportunities. This brochure explains how the program works.
- AIESEC Canada
AIESEC is a student-run organization that provides on-campus info sessions on global opportunities throughout the year.
- 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
Verge has a comprehensive listings of organizations and placement agencies offering international internship programs and work abroad opportunities.
- 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
- 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.
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 returning undergraduate and graduate students.
- SSA - 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.
- 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.
- Pivot *(VPN is required)
Claims to be the largest scholarship and funding database in the world.
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