Internships During the PhD

Graduate Students in the Harvard Biophysics Program are allowed to conduct one external internship (limited to up to a 3 month period) after successful completion of the Preliminary Qualifying Examination (PQE), fulfilling the one semester Teaching Requirement, and after having held at least their 1st Dissertation Advisory Committee (DAC) meeting.

The internship should be an experience that is relevant to career development.  Students should be able to justify how the internships will support their dissertations or career development and how they may benefit from the experience. It should be discussed with the student's research advisor and Dissertation Advisory Committee (or program advisor, where applicable) prior to approval. Students interested in an internship during their graduate training are encouraged to discuss the possibilities as early as possible with their advisor and DAC, who can be great resources for information about internship opportunities.

Appropriate internship experiences meet certain criteria:  The internship needs to include a level of mentoring, guidance, and feedback that is structurally built into the duration of the internship.  There must be a specific person who is responsible for a student's internship experience and who supervises the student's role at the organization in which the internship is taking place.

Also, the student's dissertation advisor must agree that the timing for conducting an internship would be appropriate for the student in light of the student's progress and research work in the laboratory.

Some students may not receive approval for internships due to program requirements, academic standing, or advisor input.  Stipend support for students engaging in an internship period may go "on hold" during the duration of the internship, thus primarily paid internship opportunities are encouraged.

Biophysics Requirements:

To be considered eligible, students must be in good academic standing, and must have completed specific Biophysics requirements (PQE, Teaching, 1st DAC Mtg), as confirmed by the Program Administrator and Program Co-Chairs.

  • The student completes an Internship Approval Form no less than two months prior to the intended start of the internship.  This form requires approval from the student's Dissertation Advisor and the DAC chair.
  • The internship is limited to 3 months or less.
  • A copy of the internship invitation letter, or offer from the sponsoring organization that includes a description of the intended internship, the length of internship, and the salary, should be submitted to the Biophysics Program Office along with the Internship Approval Form.
  • Students should provide a description of the work to be done during the internship and how it integrates with the student's program of study.  In addition, a brief statement of the academic plan upon return to graduate school at the end of the internship (ie: return to dissertation lab) should be provided by the student.
  • Details on the sponsoring institution's compensation package. For paid internships, students must receive at least the current Biophysics standard stipend rate.
  • The internship is expected to be a full-time endeavor for the duration of the internship. Vacations are not to be scheduled during the internship period.
  • An Internship Evaluation Form from the organization must be provided to the Biophysics Program at the conclusion of the internship period.
  • Students are required to complete a Student End-of-Internship Reporting Form reflecting on the experience at the conclusion of the internship.
  • International students wishing to engage in an internship period are required to apply for Curricular Practical Training (CPT) approval through the Harvard International Office in order to verify eligibility.

Forms are attached in both PDF and Word format below.


biophysics_internship_approval_form.docx224 KB
biophysics_internship_approval_form.pdf170 KB
student_end_of_internship_reporting_form.docx215 KB
student_end_of_internship_reporting_formprotect.pdf171 KB
organization_end_of_internship_reporting_formprotect.docx221 KB
organization_end_of_internship_reporting_formprotect.pdf167 KB