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PhD Externship Program: FAQ's

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When Can I Apply?

When will PhD externship listings be available to view?

Externship listings will be available September 1st, with new positions added, potentially, through the last week of the month. Refer to the Externship Timeline for exact dates.

Before You Apply

How does a PhD externship differ from an internship?

An externship is a job shadowing experience, designed to explore a career field. It is not a job or internship, rather a short term exposure to a “day-in-the-life” of an advanced degree professional working in the business, government, nonprofit, or academic sector. These experiences can lead to ongoing mentoring/networking relationships that can be of great benefit moving forward.

Who are the sponsors?

Sponsors are advanced degree holders (mostly PhDs and many are also Cal alumni) in the Bay Area who have forges successful careers and are willing to help the current cohort of Berkeley graduate students and postdocs identify and clarify, potential post-Berkeley career paths.

When do PhD externships take place? How long are they?

PhD Externships take place from November 6– Dec 15 , 2017, and most are a single day. Participants must commit to the dates indicated in the PhD Externship listing. See also Externship Timeline.

Where do PhD externships take place? How long are they?

PhD Externships take place in the sponsor's office or place of business. Most are located int he Bay Area, with a few located as far away as Sacramento.

Who pays for transportation and/or meals?

Participants are responsible for all expenses related to the externship: travel, and potentially, meals, etc.

The Application Process

Who is eligible to apply to a PhD externship?

All currently enrolled UC Berkeley Doctoral students and postdocs registered with the VSPA Program are eligible to apply.

How do I apply to an externship?

Application instructions will be provided in late August. See Externship Timeline for specific dates.

Can I apply to more than one externship?

You can apply for up to three PhD externship positions, but will only be granted one externship opportunity. Although we generally try to match students to their first choices, we cannot guarantee that you will receive your first choice. Please make sure that you are interested and willing to follow through with your second and third choices. Once you have been matched you will no longer be considered for your other choices. 

What is the selection process for the PhD externships?

PhD Externs and sponsors are matched by the Cal Externship Program Staff based on the individual’s career interests and availability.

When will I be notified of the externship placement?

Participants will be notified of their placement via email during the last week of September. See Externship Timeline for specific dates.

If You Are Selected

What if I cannot or no longer want to do the externship?

Participants who decline or cancel an externship offer that they have been placed will not be allowed to reapply and will not be re-matched to another opportunity during that year's program.

If an emergency arises and you absolutely cannot participate in the externship, please email xxx

Tips for having a great externship

  • Read through all the listings before you apply - you may find an unexpected gem.
  • Research the organization before you begin your externship.
  • Keep an open mind at all times.
  • Be actively engaged and ask questions during the assignment.
  • Ask for contact information from your sponsor when you finish your externship.