The line between an internship and research can sometimes be gray.
Internships and research are both valuable experiences that can build your resume, and students often ask about the differences between these two options.
Both research and internships are supervised experiences that allow you to gain knowledge, skills, and abilities in a particular field. Each offers the opportunity for reflection and evaluation of the information learned. These experiences will allow you to build your resume, explore your interests, and build connections that may be important for your future career. They can also help you develop “soft” skills, like critical thinking and problem solving, flexibility of mind, as well as allowing you to gain “hard” skills, such as grant writing, using databases, manuscript creation, using GIS, or printmaking.
Here’s where they differ:
An internship is experiential learning that combines classroom learning with work in a professional setting. Internships:
- Are career-related work experience
- Can be in nearly any field
- Apply classroom theory to real world applications
- Allow you to learn career related skills
- Can be a chance to “try out” at a company or organization, which may decide to hire you after graduation
In contrast, The Council on Undergraduate Research defines research as, “An inquiry or investigation conducted by an undergraduate student that makes an original intellectual or creative contribution to the discipline (www.cur.org)”. Research:
- Allows a student to be involved in the planning, conducting, and (ideally) reporting of a research project that leads to the creation of original knowledge in the discipline
- Can happen in any academic field
- Can be good training for graduate or medical school, getting your first job or the one after that
- May allow you to publish a paper, have your own art show, or write a thesis
- Can let you strengthen connections with faculty mentor (which may also lead to a letter of recommendation)
Interested in learning more? Come to the Internship Hop on October 8 from 1:30-4pm to hear about both research and internship opportunities. You can also check out the internship page on our website, or take a look at the website for the Office of Undergraduate Research.