Expand your professional networks and strengthen your research and transferable skills through a research internship.
What is a research internship?
A research internship is defined as a position with a research end-user (an organisation external to academia), where a graduate researcher engages in research and development (R&D) activities broadly related to their degree.
Research internships are typically 3 to 6 months but must involve a minimum commitment of 60 full-time equivalent days. Research internships may be undertaken on-site at the host organisation (in Australia or overseas), online, or in a hybrid attendance mode. They can be full-time or part-time.
While research internships can be undertaken at any point during your academic journey, we strongly recommend that candidates begin exploring these opportunities in their first year and secure an internship within the first 18 months of candidature.
Hear from University of Melbourne PhD Dr Amanthi Thudugalage about her experience undertaking a research internship through APR.Intern
1. Check eligibility
To participate in a research internship, you must:
- Be enrolled (or under examination) in a graduate research course and remain enrolled for the entire period of the internship.
- Be able to complete the internship before the completion of your degree.
- Have the approval of your supervisor.
- Be making satisfactory progress in your candidature.
- Have completed Research Integrity Online Training (RIOT).
2. Find an internship and secure an offer
APR.Intern is a national research internship service provider that supports industry-funded internships ($3,000 studentship per month) across all sectors and disciplines. Through the APR.Intern website you can:
- search and apply for advertised internships
- submit an expression of interest to be considered for future opportunities
- subscribe to an internships alert bulletin to be notified when new opportunities arise
Shortlisted candidates will be invited to an interview with APR.Intern and the host organisation.
Source your own
Leverage your existing professional and industry networks, along with your supervisors', to negotiate a custom internship opportunity. Candidates are encouraged to share this flyer with potential host organisations when proposing a research internship.
Once you, your supervisor and the host organisation are satisfied with the internship proposal, complete the Internship Registration Form and submit it to the GR Internships team. The team will (in collaboration with APR.Intern) work with you, your supervisor, and the host organisation to develop a project plan and Internship Agreement.
Internship Agreement: Once you have received an offer, an Internship Agreement will be created. It must be signed by the host organisation and the University before the internship commences. The Agreement will outline the roles and responsibilities of all parties and covers matters such as insurance, health and safety, intellectual property, publications, and confidentiality.
You will be required to sign a Student Deed, linked to the Agreement. If you have any questions about the legal implications of these documents, we recommend that you obtain independent legal advice. The UMSU Legal Service provides free and confidential legal assistance to all currently enrolled graduate researchers at the University of Melbourne.
Study Away: You must abide by University travel policies during your internship, including applying for Study Away if required at any point.
Enrolment: From 1 January 2024, all graduate researchers who undertake a research internship will be enrolled in Research Internship (SKIL90005). This subject will formally recognise the completion of a research internship on your academic transcript.
Note that you cannot use Leave of Absence to undertake your research internship.
4. During your internship
During your internship, you will report directly to your host organisation supervisor. Your University supervisor (or academic mentor) and APR.Intern will maintain regular contact with you to ensure the internship is running smoothly. It is essential to maintain your enrolment for the duration of your internship.
At the end of your internship, you must complete a final report (utilising an APR.Intern template) summarising the research's purpose, objectives, methodology, and outcomes.
Graduate researchers receiving a stipend will continue to receive their standard stipend throughout the internship.
Industry-funded internships through APR.Intern: In addition to existing stipends, you will receive the $3,000 monthly internship studentship (paid fortnightly) for the duration of the internship. This studentship is funded by the host organisation. The project fee for host organisations is detailed here.
Unfunded internships: Candidates may, with the approval of their supervisor, undertake a self-sourced unfunded internship.
Candidature and late submission for internships
Internships must be undertaken during candidature or during the examination period. Candidates who undertake an internship that meet the criteria outlined below will be approved for late submission of 3 to 6 months (pro-rated according to the duration of the internship).
To be eligible for late submission, candidates must complete an internship for which:
- A fully executed Internship Agreement* is lodged with the Graduate Research Internships team no later than the 3-year (FTE) candidature mark (at or below 3.0 EFTSL) for doctoral candidates, and no later than the 18-month (FTE) candidature mark (at or below 1.5 EFTSL) for masters by research candidates; and
- The Internship Project Plan and Final Report** has been signed off by the principal supervisor.
To apply for late submission:
- Discuss the thesis plan and reasons for late submission with your advisory committee so arrangements can be made to start the late submission application process.
- Complete the form with your advisory committee chair (by 3.5 years for PhDs and 1.5 years for Research Masters)
- Select ‘Research Internship’ as the primary reason for the delay in thesis submission.
- You must attach the internship completion certificate provided by APR.Intern as supporting evidence.
*A fully executed APR.Intern Agreement or UoM Graduate Research Intern Agreement only
**Project plans and final reports must be in the format as specified in the intern agreement.
Intellectual property will be addressed in the internship agreement prior to the commencement of your internship and will depend on the circumstances of each internship.
The University provides liability, accident, and travel insurance coverage during approved research internships.
If you are an international candidate on a visa, you are responsible for ensuring that any internship is appropriate for your individual visa type and visa conditions. Candidates who are unsure of their conditions or obligations are encouraged to seek advice from a registered visa agent or visa lawyer.
How long is a research internship?
Most research internships run for 3 months (or 60 full-time equivalent days) but can run for as long as 6 months (or 120 full-time equivalent days).
Can I do an unpaid research internship?
Yes, you may undertake an unfunded internship with your supervisor’s approval. However, you would not receive the $3,000 monthly internship studentship.
Can I do a research internship remotely or in a hybrid location mode?
A research internship may be undertaken on-site at the host organisation (in Australia or overseas), on-campus at the University, in a hybrid attendance or online-only mode. The internship location will be negotiated with the host organisation before commencement.
Does the research internship have to be related to my area of study?
Research internships are course activities that must broadly relate to your area of study. They must make use of, or contribute to, the research skills you develop during your candidature, but do not have to be closely related to your thesis topic.
I am a masters by research candidate; can I do a research internship?
Yes, but please note that some advertised internships may only be available to doctoral candidates.
When should I start planning a research internship?
It is important to plan ahead. Discuss internships with your supervisor in the lead-up to your confirmation milestone and prepare for an internship well in advance. Please note that you need to register an internship by completing the Internships Registration Form as early as possible; preferably 12 weeks (and at least 8 weeks) before the proposed internship commencement date.
When can I start my research internship?
Usually when you are a confirmed candidate, but it may be possible to undertake an internship at an earlier stage. All internships must be endorsed by your principal supervisor, and you must be making satisfactory progress in your candidature. You can commence an internship post submission, however, it must be completed prior to the conclusion of your degree.
Can the outcomes of my research internship be included in my thesis?
Generally, the outcomes of the internship will not form part of your thesis. However, this depends on factors such as intellectual property rights (determined in the internship agreement) and the type of research activity undertaken during the internship.
If I am approved for late submission due to an internship, can I access additional late submission for other reasons?
Candidates who seek late submission due to an internship would not be precluded from applying for late submissions for other research related, or compelling or unexpected personal or medical reasons.
Graduate Research Internships team