PhD Externship Program: Sponsors - Frequently Asked Questions

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What is an externship?

A PhD externship is a chance for Berkeley grad students/postdocs to shadow professionals with advanced degrees and gain valuable exposure to career fields of interest. This fall program is focused on serving those in the humanities and social sciences who want to better understand work in the business, government and nonprofit sectors,  By sharing your expertise and experience, you can help them envision what the the transition from academia can look like, broaden their knowledge of your field, and help them to appreciate your organization and how it operates. The PhD externs can also provide limited assistance with projects or tasks. The program connects you with current grad students/postdocs and also exposes you to possible future employees or interns.

When and how long are the externships?

The PhD externships are are set to take place between Oct 15 and Dec 4, 2017. Each sponsor may choose the length of the externship, typically one to two days, and when it will take place within that timeframe. Ideally the sponsor will choose a time when she/he can maximize the extern's exposure to the thier role and the broader work of the organization. See Important Dates.

How do I apply?

This fall program is designed for humanities/social science grad students/postdocs and sponsors must hold an advanced degree (PhD or Masters) to participate in the PhD Externship Program. If you'd like to be a sponsor, please Contact the Externship Office. See important dates for this year's schedule.  When registration opens, there will be instructions and a link on the main Externships page.

Where are externships offered?

PhD Externships are offered in a wide range of professions and take place in the sponsor's office or place of business. Most are located in the Bay Area, with a few occurring as far away as Sacramento.

What would be my responsibilities as a sponsor?

You are responsible for introducing the extern to the various facets of your profession, showing them what a typical day at your job consists of, and answering questions about your career field and work environment.

How should the externship be structured?

This depends somewhat on your field and the demands of your job. Ultimately, it is up to you and the extern on how structured you would like the externship to be.

In some professions, e.g. advising or journalism, having the extern observe a typical day at work provides a great deal of insight. If the grad student/postdoc will be with you for more than a day, a small project, in which the he/she gathers or analyzes information, may be helpful. It also may be helpful to arrange informational interviews with colleagues to give the extern a larger perspective.

You may also consult with PhD Externship Program staff, if you would like suggestions about how to structure the experience.

What do the externs do?

While shadowing you, students will primarily be observing your day-to-day activities to help them gain a familiarity with their career of interest. The grad students/postdocs may provide very limited assistance, where appropriate, with projects or tasks to help acquaint them with the organization.

Am I expected to pay students for the externship?

No; participants do not receive any pay or reimbursement for expenses for the externship.

Am I responsible for providing housing/transportation?

No; externs are responsible for their own expenses and for arranging their own transportation.

Can I host more than one extern?


How are grad students/postdocs selected?

The PhD Externship Program staff matches candidates and externship opportunities based on their backgrounds and interests. Sponsors will be matched with applicants by the end of September, and once the assignements have been made, you'll be contacted by the extern(s) placed with you to confirm the schedule for the externship. See Important Dates.

Will my personal information be posted in the externships listing?

Your personal information will be kept confidential. Online postings will only contain information about the externship offered.