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Overview of ASPIRE Internships

The ASPIRE program will facilitate opportunities for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows to conduct internships and gain hands-on experience with a project in a professional work environment.

  • Part-time internships can be up to eight hours per week and must not interfere with a trainee’s research progress in the lab. When a part-time internship is compensated, the compensation must comply with effort reporting requirements by the trainee’s funding source.
  • Full-time internships are also a possibility. If full-time internships last more than two weeks, graduate students will consult their mentor and Director of Graduate Studies to take a brief Leave of Absence from the Ph.D. program. Employers will be encouraged to compensate full-time internships at a rate at, or above, a student stipend and health insurance.
  • Except in very unusual circumstances where a student’s internship relates directly to their dissertation research, internships will not carry academic credit.


  • Students must have completed their qualifying exams
  • Postdoctoral fellows will be eligible throughout their training, pending approval of a leave of absence by their research advisor and funding source.

Students and postdocs who have participated in previous ASPIRE programs (including ASPIRE to Connect, and ASPIRE modules) and BRET Office of Career Development events will be given preference in selection to the internship program.

The ultimate decision to hire an intern rests with the employer who needs to comply with their company’s recruitment and hiring practices. Thus, trainees will apply for internships and negotiate directly with the employer. However, the ASPIRE program will help trainees identify internship opportunities and navigate the internship application and interview process.

ASPIRE travel scholarships are available to trainees to help offset travel expenses that may be associated with doing an internship. Please see the ASPIRE travel scholarship page for application information and policies.


To ensure a high quality learning experience, internship participants will develop an internship project plan describing the intern’s role, project, learning objectives, and dates of participation. The internship plan will be signed by the internship sponsor and the trainee’s faculty advisor and submitted to the ASPIRE program office in advance. Following the internship, the trainee and the sponsor will provide feedback to the ASPIRE program about the internship experience and trainees will be required to participate in the annual “Biomedical Careers Showcase” in which they will “round-robin” through small group discussions to share their experience with their peers.