Social Sciences DTC | The Careers Service Social Sciences DTC – Oxford University Careers Service
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About the Doctoral Internship Programme

The Doctoral Internship Programme enables University of Oxford doctoral students to undertake internships for up to 3 months during the course of their DPhil. It is managed by the Internship Office, who are equipped with trained advisors to guide and support doctoral students towards appropriate placements.

The programme was established in 2012 and was initially part of a BBSRC funded PIPS scheme (Professional Internships for PhD Students), however the ongoing success has seen the programme develop and it now supports 3 doctoral training centres and 3 different funding councils.

Why do an internship

There are many positive reasons for doctoral students to undertake internships. Whether staying in academia or aiming for a non-academic role, employers are increasingly looking for postgraduates with a well rounded skill set. An internship can provide evidence to use on CVs and in interviews to demonstrate a broad range of skills and experiences which are not solely related to a narrow area of research. An internship can be an opportunity for postgraduates to understand their research in a wider context and consider new career ideas. They can also be a chance to travel, experience different cultures and trial living in new areas of the country/world.

A key component of an ESRC funded internship is to engage in knowledge exchange. Placements are within a professional environment where doctoral students can build bridges between academia and external organisations to influence policy and practice. Ultimately an ESRC funded internship will embody a two-way flow of information that provides benefit to both parties.

Some sectors to consider:

  • Law
  • Government and Policy
  • Finance
  • Education
  • Publishing
  • Media and Advertising
  • Arts and Heritage
  • Communications and Marketing
  • International Development and Charities
  • Natural Resources and the Environment
Finding an internship

All students who enter the Doctoral Internship Programme are eligible to receive assistance in finding an internship. We can help students find the right organisation and project to suit their exact needs, but applicants may also want to consider the following options:

  • The Internship Programme provides access to hundreds of internship opportunities in the UK and abroad which are open exclusively to University of Oxford students
  • Internships offered by national and international corporations for students from all universities; many of these are listed onCareerConnect

ESRC guidelines

Only students funded by the ESRC are able to join the Social Sciences DTC Doctoral Internship Programme. Both full award and fees-only students can apply.

Students are able to undertake an internship at any time during their DPhil studies, but the internship must start at least three months prior to the official DPhil funding end date. Students following a 1+3 or 2+2 Masters/MPhil followed by a DPhil may undertake the internship during the summer before their DPhil starts.

Internships can last from 1 – 3 months; they can be done on a full or part-time basis, and with more than one placement provider.

Due to the knowledge sharing component of this internship programme, students cannot undertake a placement within a university or research institute. However, approval may be given for internships that aim to increase the impact of the research, for example through communication and policy-related activities. It is important that students source placements that are relevant to their DPhil subject, so that a demonstrable level of knowledge exchange can take place.

Internship funding

Students can apply for funding to do an internship at any point during their DPhil but it is not a compulsory requirement.

Students will receive an extension to their studentship for the same duration as their internship. Students who are holders of a fees-only studentship would be entitled to a fees-only extension.

Travel and accommodation expenses can be claimed during their internship, up to a maximum of £1000 per month. All claims for expenses must be supported by appropriate documentation. Students can request an advance payment of predicted expenses by completing the Expenses Advance Form and submitting this to the Internship Office with the Internship Plan (see below).

Please see the university finance pages for information on claiming mileage expenses.

How to enter the programme

In order for a student to receive internship funding they have to enter the Doctoral Internship Programme.  Applications are accepted for the Doctoral Internship Programme throughout the year; however, we recommend applying at least 4 months before the internship would be due to start.

  1. It is imperative to start considering the type of opportunity you are seeking before entering the scheme. Many students undertake internships to gain insights into a particular career. If you want to explore ideas around what area to do your internship in why not book an appointment with a Careers Adviser.
  2. The Internship Office need to have an up-to-date copy of your CV in order to contact different organisations on your behalf. We are fortunate to have a wide range of services available at the Careers Service to help you prepare your CV.
  3. When you have some ideas about the type of organisations you would like to intern with and are happy with your CV, please complete the Application Form and email this to:
  4. The internship team can then arrange further discussion where necessary to aid us as we contact potential organisations on your behalf.

During this process it is vitally important that you speak with your supervisor about suitable times to undertake an internship, they may even have ideas or contacts you can use.

  1. Once a placement has been found you will need to get a Letter of Support signed by your supervisor. This must highlight that there are no objections to you spending up to 12 weeks as an intern during the specified period.
  2. You will then need to work with your placement provider to create an Internship Plan which will be signed by you and the employer.  The form will be reviewed by the DTC Director before funding is approved.

If you have already secured a placement independently all you need to do is email your Application Form, Letter of Support and Internship Plan to so we can get the placement application considered for funding.

CV support

Having an up-to-date CV is a vital starting point in securing an internship. If you are applying for internships through the Doctoral Internship Programme then we require a one or two page CV.

The Careers Service has written an extremely helpful information sheet on CVs which is a great starting point CV Information Sheet. This can be used in conjunction with the CV creator tool which can be found on CareerConnect.

The Careers Service run CV Career Lounges every week during term time, details can be found on CareerConnect or in our term planner. CV Career Lounges are informal group discussions on CVs. They are led by an adviser, but anyone can ask a question and anyone can offer an answer. Career Lounges help you learn things you weren’t aware of from hearing other people’s questions, and the discussion uses the whole knowledge of the group to help answer queries.

Once you have used the resources to create a CV, we advise booking a 15 minute one-to-one appointment to get it checked by a Careers Adviser. Please see below for details on how to book a session.

Career support

You can arrange a 15 minute career or CV discussion via CareerConnect by selecting ‘I want to make an appointment’ and then choose ‘OCS – A short discussion at the Careers Service with a Careers Adviser’.

All Careers Advisers can help you with advice on CVs and industry ideas, however the Careers Advisers each have specialist areas of interest and if you are looking specific advice you might like to talk to a particular adviser. To find the appropriate Careers Adviser read theCareers Advisers’ Profiles and consult the Careers Advisers’ Timetable. Appointments are released 48 hours in advance.

If you have any problems booking an appointment please ring the Careers Service Reception on 01865 274646 and they will be able to find you the next available appointment (there are often last minute cancellations).

After the internship

A condition of receiving ESRC funding is that students provide feedback on their internship experience. Students will be required to give detailed feedback on their placement and demonstrate from a knowledge exchange perspective the skills they gained and shared through the experience. Considerable value is placed on the feedback as it helps to develop and improve the programme.

If you have any queries please contact us:

This information was last updated on 22 June 2017.
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