Doing research instead of internship when hoping to go to grad school?

I'm a Computer Sciences major (along with another humanities major, this is kinda relevent), and it is typical for CS majors to do internships after their 3rd year at university (or before).

I personally don't like the idea of a coding internship, but I do see their value. 

I've done research in my humanities major before, and I'm generally involved in the research community at my university through my student job. I wanna go to grad school directly after undergrad to do a program that combines my CS and humanities major.

I didn't have much luck applying to programming internships, and started applying to summer research programs instead, and got accepted into a program run by the CS dept at my university (this program also offers mentorship and other activities).

Is it okay to do that summer research program instead of doing the internship? I feel like one of the benefits is possibly getting to know a professor, which would help me with grad school applications.

There's a lot of pressure to do programing internships, and I wonder if it will hurt my future to not do one?


Just to clarify, I'm asking about doing an internship during undergrad, not during grad school.

2 Answers

  • 1 month ago
    Favorite Answer

    Since you're planning on going to graduate school immediately after undergrad, I think the summer research program would be beneficial. 

    The benefits of internships include getting work experience in the field and networking: even if the place you work doesn't have a job available for you when you graduate, they can recommend you to other employers they may be aware of. If there is a couple of years' gap between when you intern and when you're ready to start work, however, they've pretty much forgotten you in favor of more recent interns. 

    So go ahead with the summer research program (it sounds like you're a lot more enthusiastic about that anyway). But if it doesn't continue into the school year (ask! they might say yes), consider doing an externship (work for credit) during the fall or spring term, if your field thinks intern experience is so important. But if that's the case, there will likely be additional opportunities when you're in graduate school. 

  • 1 month ago

    These days you usually are required to have 2 internships, one non paying, to earn a master's degree. That is NOT universally true, but research assistantships usually come from professors who have grants and you need to do teaching assistantships before you would be considered for a research assistantship..

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