A science writing internship is a key part of the non-thesis degree track. In addition, an internship can be done as an elective in the thesis track. The main point of the science and technology journalism internship is to get experience working in a science communication setting, receive mentorship from a professional science communicator, and add to your portfolio. The internship is normally taken after at least two semesters of course work.
Not just any internship will do, however. The internship must be approved by the program coordinator and must meet the following requirements:
- The internship must include a substantial amount of science writing or science editing.
- The intern’s supervisor should be an experienced science communicator who is ready to guide the intern.
- The internship must be at least 300 hours.
Additionally, each intern must give an oral presentation about the internship, submit a portfolio, and be evaluated by their supervisor at least twice during the internship. To allow ample time to prepare the portfolio, students typically register for VIBS 684 (Professional Internship) for the term after the internship. However, students graduating immediately after the internship register for VIBS 684 for the internship term.
There are two sections of VIBS 684: VIBS 684.628, which is for internships in College Station, and VIBS 684.654, which is for internships elsewhere. Students taking the latter section won’t have to pay some of the fees a locally enrolled student would.
The internship portfolio includes the following:
- A paper about the internship experience. Typically about 5 double-spaced pages
- Daily journal entries about activities and work completed
- Examples of work done during the internship
Finding an Internship
Finding a science journalism internship can be competitive, especially for internships outside of the university. A major venue for finding an internship is the internship fair held by the National Association of Science Writers at each year’s AAAS meeting.
We also have a list of possible internships with contact information.
QuintCareers.com has a page titled “How to Find Your Ideal Internship” that covers some of the basics of the job search, including links to advice on resumes and cover letters.
AAAS and IBM have joined forces to provide a “how-to” guide for phone interviews.
Articles providing guidance regarding internships also appear in The Open Notebook.