About the Summer Internship Programme | The Careers Service About the Summer Internship Programme – Oxford University Careers Service
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Update: April 2020

In light of the global coronavirus pandemic we are working hard to change as many of our summer internships as possible to remote working opportunities, while others have been postponed.  Some hosts however, want to see if the situation improves before making any significant changes, just in case there is an opportunity to proceed. This will largely depend on the country the internship is based in, and the country where the student is usually resident.

In all cases it is essential that communication between students and hosts remains open and transparent. We have reminded both hosts and students taking part in our programmes that it is their responsibility to check the official guidance that relates to their location.Please avoid spending money on flights, vaccinations or visas at this time, due to the uncertainty surrounding international travel.

If you are in any doubt about the viability of an internship that you are planning to take part in, please contact your host employer, or email internships@careers.ox.ac.uk.

About the programme

The Summer Internship Programme provides access to hundreds of internship opportunities during the long (summer) vacation. They are offered by our international alumni, by multi-national corporations, by world-leading NGOs, by cutting-edge research institutions and many other organisations, and all are exclusively available to Oxford University students. Since the programme’s inception, students have completed internships in over 40 countries, and have gained valuable work experience while travelling to exciting and exotic locations. The Summer Internship Programme also offers the chance to explore work experience options in a variety of sectors in the UK. The programme is open to all current, matriculated Oxford University students (both undergraduates and postgraduates), including those in their final year of study. Visiting students are not eligible to apply.

The internships are advertised on CareerConnect from the beginning of Hilary term each year.

What do the internships offer?
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Although every internship is unique, we try to ensure that they provide the following common elements:

  • Full-time work for 2-12 weeks during the summer vacation
  • A defined project, which creates real value for the host organisation and a valuable learning experience for the student
  • Interaction with an assigned supervisor or mentor within the host organisation
  • A stipend, or some assistance with travel or accommodation
  • Payment at the national minimal wage or above, if the internship is in the UK and in the for-profit sector
  • An international experience or access to an internship placement in the UK that is not readily available through alternative internship programmes

From first year undergraduates to DPhil researchers, students in all areas and at all levels of study enjoy the benefits of undertaking an internship.

What are the benefits of an internship?

Don’t just take our word for it! Students who’ve taken part in the programme have told us that internships can help in the following ways:

Develop your career goals

“This internship has had an incredibly strong lasting impression on me and leaving was very emotional. It has made me far more passionate about the accessibility of education and educational reform”. – Intern at UWC Adriatic, Italy

“The internship has definitely made me more open to a career in the third sector and it has also encouraged me to consider jobs that involve an element of research – it is exciting to be constantly learning while working”. – Intern at Arts at the Old Fire Station, Oxford

“I had a lot of fun and genuinely enjoyed my work. I felt valued and think that I contributed to the company, and I was able to learn a lot and expand my skill set. I am now more certain that this is the area of engineering I want to work in, and believe that I was able to develop many skills that will be valuable for my career.” – Intern at Archangel Imaging, Oxford

Experience a new location and culture

“I had a fantastic time on this internship. I absolutely loved the area of China (Yangshou) in which I was placed, it was the most incredibly beautiful scenery and a really fun town to be in. This internship has taught me so much, I feel much more independent as well as more confident. I have met some brilliant people doing this and learn a lot about myself, my lasting impression will be many happy memories”. – Intern at Gotoco, China

“I had one of my best summer experiences during my stay in Geneva. There was such an inclusive atmosphere at CERN and I have made very good friends. Living in Geneva is very different to Oxford or even my home country Hong Kong. I would love to return to Geneva and work there in the future. Before this internship I was unsure if I would enjoy living in Switzerland or France but now it has completely changed my mind and I would certainly look into options for future studies in these places.” – Intern at CERN/John Adams Institute for Accelerator Science

Develop your confidence and professional skills

“This insight has been extremely useful in helping me to improve my professional skills and shape my CV for future applications. I have also learned a lot about myself in how I approach new challenges and unknown situations, which has given me more confidence and certainty in myself.” – Intern at Montana Science Center, USA

“Overall, I had a fantastic experience. I learned a great deal of widely applicable skills- the internship certainly built my professional confidence”. – Intern at the Heritage Alliance, London

Past interns' experiences
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Each year we publish feedback from students who take part in the Summer Internship Programme. This gives you a great idea of what you might be doing on the programme, and many of the internships will be offered by the same organisations next year. You can browse the experiences of last year’s participants in our 2019 Summer Internship Programme Yearbook (pdf).

The Internship Insights video, made by a Crankstart scholar, gives a great quick introduction of what you might do on the programme.

See the internships through our interns’ eyes…

Each year we run a competition for The Summer Internship Programme interns’ photographs of what they saw and experienced during their placements. Each year we run a competition for The Summer Internship Programme interns’ photographs of what they saw and experienced during their placements. Here are some highlights from previous years.

  • Cristina Conde, Courtauld Institute of Art (London), Through an intern's eyes WINNER
    Cristina Conde, Courtauld Institute of Art (London), Through an intern's eyes WINNER
  • Hannah Lovell, Intern at St Hugh’s College Burma Summer School, Yangon, Burma
    Hannah Lovell, Intern at St Hugh’s College Burma Summer School, Yangon, Burma

Photo 1: Cristina Conde interned at the Courtauld Institute of Art in London, was the 2019 winner of the category ‘Through an intern’s eyes’. Depicts a bird eye view of a library with two people reading at a table surrounded by red books.

Photo 2: Hannah Lovell interned at St Hugh’s College Burma Summer School, Yangon, Burma. She sent this picture of a girl seated against rice sacks, working at a pottery wheel, with light falling on her from a nearby window.

Frequently Asked Questions
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Is there an advantage in making an early application?

No. While applications will not be considered before the closing date, if you apply early we will be able to check that your application documents have been uploaded correctly.

How do I know whether my application has been uploaded successfully?

If your application has been successfully uploaded, you will receive an automated confirmation email from CareerConnect. If you do not receive this then you can check your applications list (if your application does not appear then unfortunately your application has not been submitted so please try again, if you have any further problems contact reception@careers.ox.ac.uk). If you do not receive a confirmation email within 24 hours of submitting your application, please email internships@careers.ox.ac.uk as it may not have been properly submitted. We will then be able to process your application.

How long is the internship for? What are the exact start and finish dates?

Details relating to the duration of an internship are specified on the description on CareerConnect. More exact information such as start and finish dates are usually discussed during the interview directly with your employer. If your time over the summer is restricted by a particular date or event, you are welcome to ask us whether this will affect you being selected for a placement (we will email the employer on your behalf). Sometimes internships are extended but this is arranged between the employers and the interns directly.

Will you give advice for my application?

Yes. You can have your application checked at an Internship Office application support session, which run throughout Hilary Term and can be booked on CareerConnect. You can also ask a Careers Adviser for help (Our webpage on Advice Appointments explains how to make an appointment to see a Careers Adviser). Please check your application and documents thoroughly before submitting them, as once submitted, you cannot change them (however you can view them to check).

Will my application be acknowledged?

You will receive an automated confirmation email when your application is uploaded to CareerConnect. Once we have gathered and checked all the application documents, the Internship Office will send you an email acknowledgement letting you know your application has been forwarded to the employer, with some additional information on the selection process.

How will I know if I have been called for an interview?

After we have sent your details to the company, it is then up to them to contact you regarding an interview. They are asked to complete the selection process by specific dates. We follow up on all applications so you will either hear directly from the employer or from the Internship Office as to the outcome of your application.

Will I get paid?

All internships within the UK will offer the equivalent of National Minimum Wage or above. Some internships abroad offer a stipend; others offer incentives such as accommodation and flights. Each internship will detail the remuneration attached to the placement. Some internships are advertised with additional funding. Please note that you are responsible for assessing whether you are eligible for the funding by checking our funding pages. If you are not eligible for the funding attached to an internship, you may still apply, but you will have to consider how you intend to fund the placement.

What happens if I am offered an internship?

First, congratulate yourself on your achievement for having been selected. In 2019 1,300 students made over 2,900 applications – for over 500 places – so if you have been offered an internship, you’re doing really well. Before accepting an internship offer, please think very carefully about whether you are genuinely committed to seeing the internship through. If you are offered an internship and you are not sure whether to accept, please get in touch with the Internship Office or a Careers Adviser to chat confidentially about why you might be hesitating; we really don’t mind if you’ve had a better offer, or just got cold feet – but we, you and the employer would all rather know, rather than you just don’t show up. Besides looking unprofessional, it’s a waste of time and resources, and can damage the relationship between you, the Internship Office, the University and the employer.

Can I accept more than one internship through the Summer Internship Programme?

You may accept up to two internships through the programme within any given year. If you choose to accept two placements, it is up to you to arrange suitable dates with the host employers, and ensure that you have sufficient time to complete both projects, and any other commitments. If you are unsure whether to accept more than one placement, please get in touch with the Internship Office or a Careers Adviser to talk through your options. If you accept more than two internships, we will contact you to ask which you would like to complete.

If I am offered an internship through the programme, does this mean I am automatically rejected from the others I applied for?

No. Employers conduct their selection process individually. Any offers you receive will be independent from each other and you should expect to communicate directly with each employer. If you have made multiple applications through the Summer Internship Programme, you may receive a first offer from an internship which is not your first choice. If you would prefer to wait to know the outcome of other applications before accepting, restate your enthusiasm for the placement and ask the employer for more time, maintaining clear and responsive communication throughout.

How can I find out about what interns have done in the past?

Each year the Internship Office publishes a yearbook outlining the experiences of interns who take part in the programme. The yearbook is a great resource for those wanting to find out more about the Internship Programme and the types of experiences available.

You can also use the yearbook to find out if we have worked with an organisation in previous years, and identify which students interned with them. If you wish to get in touch with a student who has previously taken part in a particular placement, please email internships@careers.ox.ac.uk and we will contact the student on your behalf to ask their permission for you to contact them. Please be aware that interns do not commit to providing advice to future interns, so you are not guaranteed a response.

Can I contact the internship host employer directly?

No. Should you have any questions relating to an internship, please ask the Internship Office team by emailing internships@careers.ox.ac.uk.

Links to further information on summer internships
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More information about applying for opportunities on the Summer Internship Programme is available on our webpages:

Stay up to date
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Like and follow the Internship Office Facebook page to keep updated with deadlines and new internship opportunities. To sign up to our email alert list, fill in the form below.

Please see the Careers Service Privacy notice for details on how the personal data you enter on to this form is stored and used.

  • Please enter a number from 2015 to 2025.

Contact us
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The Internship Office

Address: The Careers Service, University of Oxford, 56 Banbury Road, Oxford, OX2 6PA
Email: internships@careers.ox.ac.uk
Telephone: 01865 274 646

This information was last updated on 14 May 2020.
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Recent blogs about About the Summer Internship Programme

Apply now for new September cycle of the Micro-Internship Programme

Blogged by Corina Lacurezeanu on 09/07/2020.

Applications for this term’s micro-internship opportunities are now open and will take place 7-11 September or 14-18 September.

All placements will last 2-5 days and will be completed remotely from your home. Sign-in to CareerConnect to see what’s on offer this September, or browse the full list of opportunities. Remember, you can make up to two applications until 12 PM on Monday 3 August.

Browse the full list of opportunities and apply on CareerConnect >>

Who can apply?

Placements are open to all matriculated undergraduate and postgraduate students (both Taught and Research).

Can I apply even though I have completed my course/due to complete my course over the coming weeks?

Please note that the September cycle is also open to all finalists (UG & PG) who have completed their course this academic year (2019/20) – even if your course ends or you graduate before the application period. Finalists, please note that many of you have received an email from CareerConnect when your course finished recently. This will have made you aware that your account has been switched to an Alumni account and it asked you to update your email. Please be sure to do this, as it will allow you access to the September micro-internships.

Workshop – Micro-Internships: What are they and what should I cover in my application?

If you are interested in learning more about the Micro-Internship Programme and how to draft your applications, attend one of our virtual workshops to hear all about the Programme and how you should structure your application.

Apply for the workshop on Monday 20 July (10:00 AM) >>

Apply for the workshop on Thursday 23 July (10:00 AM) >>

Top tips for undertaking a remote internship

Blogged by Corina Lacurezeanu on 27/06/2020.

Make the most of your remote internship with the following tips from the Internship Office.

Tip 1. Dress up for work

Many people believe that working from home means being able to wear pyjamas all day. However, the slogan ‘dress for success’ is key, even if you are not working from an office building. Getting dressed up for work as you would if you were going into the office can help shift you into “work mode” and get you ready to start your workday; which will likely also involve video meetings.

Tip 2.  Find an adequate workspace

To prepare effectively for a remote internship, you need to make sure that your workspace is at least as good as, if not better than, an on-site work environment. Ideally, this would include a flat surface, a comfortable chair, proximity to the window or other natural light sources, and a door that closes. You also need to make sure that you have appropriate equipment, operational systems and good internet connection.

Tip 3.  Be punctual

Start on time and complete your tasks by their deadlines. All employers appreciate the punctuality of their staff, including interns. Being late tells others that you don’t value their time and that signals that you are not well-organised and cannot manage your own time.

Tip 4.  Identify your supervisor and ask questions

On the first day of your remote internship, identify who your supervisor is. This person will guide you through your internship, define your projects, give you feedback on your progress, and be a bridge to professional networks and learning opportunities. You can set up regular short meetings with your supervisor to catch up and ask questions about your role and the organisation.

Take any opportunity to learn more and don’t be afraid to ask questions – your supervisor expects you to. Asking for clarifications and finding out more about tasks will prevent you of making mistakes.

Tip 5.  Treat it as a real job

Despite being a short remote internship, you should treat this opportunity as a real job. This is a chance for you to put into practice your existing competences and to gain new skills. Work not only independently, but as part of the team as well. Be on time, work hard and be professional. This will go a long way towards getting a good reference for your future job applications.

Tip 6.  Make notes of your duties and responsibilities

To make the most of your remote experience, you will need to remember the detail of what you have done. So, make notes of your duties and responsibilities throughout your remote internship to then include on your CV and in future applications and interviews.

Tip 7.  Network as much as you can

The internship is also an opportunity for you to cultivate contacts with professionals in your sector of interest. They could provide valuable insights into the various roles or career paths that you are interested in pursuing. It is also a chance for you to ask questions, gather information, learn about job options and career paths, and ask them for help in identifying opportunities in their fields.

Tip 8. Stay in touch

It’s good practice to stay in touch after your remote internship. Therefore, as the internship ends, send personalised thank you emails to the people you have worked with and express your gratitude for any guidance they have provided, and give them your contact details. If an opportunity opens up, you could be at the top of their hiring list.

PLUS

Tip 9. Enter the Internship Office Photo Competition 2020

We are inviting all University of Oxford students who take part in internships facilitated or funded through the Internship Office in the 2019-2020 academic year to submit original and interesting photos that best represent their internship experience, accompanied by a short description. Find out more about the Internship Office Photo Competition 2020.

Internship application deadlines approaching and new Black Lives Matter internships

Blogged by Paloma Campos Da Silva on 24/06/2020.

Don’t forget that the Internship Office team are still working hard to offer remote internship opportunities as part of the Summer Internship Programme, exclusively available to Oxford students.

We are excited to announce new exclusive internships this week, involving collecting stories on Black Lives Matter/Rhodes Must Fall in Oxford, researching historic buildings, and recording academic resources on racism in the USA. Please note these have much shorter deadlines!

Check out all our remote summer internships now open for application!

Blogged by Paloma Campos Da Silva on 17/06/2020.

As Trinity term ends and the summer vacation starts, we still have new remote summer internships available exclusively to Oxford students as part of the Summer Internship Programme.

Despite the unprecedented circumstances due to Covid-19 this year, the Internship Office team has worked hard to guarantee that existing internships could go ahead, converted internships to remote opportunities whenever possible, and offered a wide range of new remote internships.

Remote summer internships now open for applications are the following:

Important notice: please note that due to the high demand for internship funding following the Internship Newsletter on 2 June 2020, the Internship Office is unable to accept any further applications.

The Internship Office Photo Competition 2020

Blogged by Corina Lacurezeanu on 15/06/2020.

We are pleased to announce that the University of Oxford Internship Office Photo Competition will be taking place once again in 2020.

We are inviting all University of Oxford students who take part in internships facilitated or funded through the Internship Office in the 2019-2020 academic year to submit original and interesting photos that best represent their internship experience, accompanied by a short description.

Show us what your internship looks like

We want to see your internship experience through your eyes, but we are especially looking for images depicting you as the intern. Please submit original entries that show a visual representation of your working environment during your internship. We recognise that many students are taking part in remote working internships this year, which means that creativity is key!

Describe your experience

Along with your photo entry, please submit text of up to 50 words explaining the image, and giving us some context of your internship experience. Images sent without the accompanying text will be discounted.

Rules and tips

  • To enter the competition, please send your original photos by email to internships@careers.ox.ac.uk with the items as a file attachment or using a file transfer service such as WeTransfer or Dropbox.
  • There is no limit to the number of photos that you can send.
  • The winning entries will be decided by a selection panel at the Careers Service.
  • For information on copyright and usage permission, please see the terms and conditions.
  • The winner will be awarded with a high street voucher worth £100, and two runners up will be awarded a voucher worth £50, each.
  • We are looking for photographs that communicate your internship experience in an interesting way. Creativity and imagination will be rewarded!
  • Photos sent without the accompanying explanatory text of up to 50 words will be disqualified.
  •  The closing date for this competition is 17:00 (BST) on Monday, 14 September 2020.
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