Significant key features and types of IIT internship programs

Are you considering enrolling for an internship program at an IIT? This article provides an informative insight into various major aspects of internship opportunities at Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), giving a comprehensive checklist on what are the significant features that you need to know about.

There are 23 Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) all over India to which admissions are applied for by lakhs of students every year through the Joint Entrance Exam (JEE). Once you bag a coveted IIT seat and start your academic years on campus, there comes the time when you would like to enrol for an internship program at the same IIT or at another one. There are various aspects to such an internship program and this article will provide some informative details based on facts available at official websites of IITs. A later article will provide a sample email letter for contacting IIT faculty with useful tips on applying for an IIT internship program. Of course, keep in mind that currently due to the pandemic crisis, you should not be going anywhere unless really essential and, in fact, campuses are not open for the internship programs. Some IITs did take up the initiative to manage it online, while others cancelled them altogether.

General information on IIT internships

At the outset two misconceptions should be cleared about IIT internship programs. One is that it is a Degree program; it is not. Secondly that if you enroll in the internship program of another IIT then you can take part in the campus recruitment process of that IIT; you cannot do so.

So what exactly are the salient features of IIT internships?

Types of IIT internships

An IIT may provide exclusive internship programs for its students and others that are also open to students of other IITs or other recognized institutes/universities. Some IITs offer internships only for the summer, that is, in the months of May-June, while others offer winter internships in December-January as well. In addition to an IIT putting up internships that are available on their websites, you can take the initiative to approach a faculty member, communicating via email. An internship program may or may not have a stipend, depending on whether or not it is faculty-funded or Institute-funded, or not.

While there may be the option to put forward your own proposal (project topic) for an internship, this may not be the case most times. You will generally have to enroll for the internship for specific topics that are offered by the IIT itself.

Keep in mind that an internship may not be just for an ongoing project of a particular Department or of an individual faculty member. You can look out for an internship that may be announced at any time of the year that is related to working on documentation and analysis of data, trying out new software to test its ease of use before being installed for academic-related or administrative purposes, and the like. These may not have a stipend, but don't hesitate to take it up as you will surely get a letter of recommendation for it that will enhance your C.V.

Duration of IIT internships

The duration of an internship can range from a minimum of three weeks and go up to a maximum of six months and perhaps more, depending on the type of internship work. Further, it is not necessary that there are fixed hours for the internship. Quite a few internships are so intense that you generally work on it beyond the scheduled hours.

As for looking for part-time internships, forget about it. Generally it is expected that you dedicate yourself full-time to the internship that you are enrolled in and not have anything else ongoing at that time, such as being in the midst of some course-work requirements or taking up some other internship simultaneously.

And, no, you cannot bunk! An attendance register is maintained for internship programs and you are required to sign it on a daily basis.

Accommodation for IIT internship programs

Wondering about campus hostel accommodation while enrolled for the IIT internship? Well, don't take it for granted that you will get it when applying for an internship at another IIT. A few IITs may have hostel rooms available for an extra fee that could range from Rs.3000/- to Rs.6000/- per month with a mess fee at an additional cost (this is about Rs.150/- to Rs.200/- per month). However, it is advisable to check out paying guest accommodation/students' hostels near the campus beforehand, prior to applying for an internship. That way, in case you do apply for the campus accommodation and you do not get it (it will be on a first-come-first-serve basis), you know of the options that you have and are prepared to stay elsewhere. If you do get the campus accommodation, you will be required to pay the fees in advance for the full term of your stay.

Fees and extra expenses for IIT internship programs

Generally, if you are applying for an internship at an IIT in which you are not enrolled, you are required to pay an application fee. There will also be a fee towards the use of the library, computer labs and other campus facilities that are associated with the internship, which is usually Rs.5000/- per month. There may be an additional charge for using equipment in a workshop/engineering lab which could be as high as Rs.10,000/- per month. While you can avail of medical facilities available on the campus, that is, consulting the campus resident physician, you will have to bear the costs of medical tests, medicines, etc as applicable.

Important certificates

Don't forget that all-important certificate to indicate that you worked in, and successfully completed, the internship program. The training certificate will be given by the faculty supervisor only after satisfactory completion of the training. Before obtaining that, though, don't overlook the requirement to submit what is called a 'No dues' certificate. Where this is required, the application of this will be provided by the IIT at its portal. It states that you have paid all the fees, such as for the internship program itself, lab or hostel fees if any, etc.

Eligibility requirements for an IIT internship program

Naturally, eligibility criteria for a particular IIT's internship program will depend on the kind of internship project, but let's have a look at what is generally the uniformly applicable criteria.

Internship programs at an IIT are generally given to students who are, at the time of the application for the internship, in the fourth year of a Bachelor's Degree course or in the second year of a Master's Degree course. It is not necessary, though, that only those who are studying in engineering or technology streams are eligible, namely, B.Tech. or B.E. students. For some internship programs, students from Arts, Science and other streams can also apply. Thus, for example, B.Arch., B.A. and B.Sc. students who have completed their second year may also be eligible, as per the application criteria of the IIT and the discipline of study that is part of the internship program.

There may also likely be very strict minimum criterion of the Cumulative Grade Points Average (CGPA). At IIT Roorkee, for instance, this year's internship program required minimum: CGPA > 7.5 for IITs/IISc, CGPA > 8.0 for NITs/ IISERs/ NISER/IIEST/UM-DAECBS, and CGPA > 8.5 for students of other institutes.

Some IITs are also having the additional stringent criteria that you should be one of the top-ranked students of your institute/university with an excellent academic record. It is advantageous, too, to be actively involved in the co-curricular activities of your college, such as the annual fest, have appeared for a national talent exam, etc.

Application procedure for IIT internship programs

The application process at any of the IITs is pretty simple really. There will be a prescribed application proforma and a list of documents to be uploaded. In addition to academic certificates (Class 10 onwards) and a passport size photo, you will be required to upload a bonafide certificate. This is basically a letter from the Head of the institute where you are studying, stating that you are a bonafide student there. You should ensure that the documents are in the format specified. For example, mark sheets will be PDF, a photo will likely be JPG or JPEG, and so on. In cases where a resume has to be submitted, such as when contacting a faculty directly, ensure that it is neat with no errors in grammar or punctuation and try to make it compact to a maximum of two pages.

Other requirements may include: (i) A recommendation letter of a faculty member of your institute; (ii) A Statement of Purpose. That is, you need to lucidly explain the reasons for enrolling for the internship.

While applications to enroll for an internship program is online, you will likely be required to submit a hard copy of the application form at the institute, along with the requisite documents, at the time of joining the internship.

Now coming to the core – what are the kind of internship programs on offer at IITs? Let's have a glimpse of a few sample IIT internship programs.

Types of IIT internships on offer

IIT Gandhinagar has a Summer Research Internship Program (SRIP for short) for students already enrolled in an undergraduate or postgraduate program. You can even apply for an internship that is not within your degree of specialization. When I checked out the internship projects on offer, it was amazing to see the wide range of topics, including ones related to robots, recreational puzzles and even one relevant to the current pandemic, that is, developing an AI-based search and visualization engine for COVID-19 research. SRIP is not all about intense work though! You get to let your hair down at cultural events and interact with others through poster sessions and make a presentation in a class to other interns.

IIT Kanpur (IITK) has what is known as the Students Undergraduate Research Graduate Excellence (SURGE) internship program. Under this program of eight weeks' duration, up to 300 students from IITK and other institutions undertake internships on research-based projects. A student not of the institute has to pay an online application fee and all students are charged an administrative fee. Those who receive funding from their institute will receive a stipend. It is interesting to note that for this year's May to July SURGE, students from all colleges in India and up to four students from Nepal and Bhutan were permitted to apply as well. If you are a student who is registered for a degree program in a recognized institute other than IITK or a University in India or studied abroad and have an official sponsorship or recommendation by that institute or University to take up an internship at IITK, you can do so as a Non-Degree student.

Similarly, IIT Roorkee's SPARK internship program offers Institute-funded and project-funded summer internships for talented UG students. The progress of the student is reviewed on a regular basis and poster sessions are organized, with awards for the best ones. Check out the interesting projects that IITR interns have worked on, including those related to urban and campus infrastructure planning, water resources and sanitation programs, biotechnology and chemistry fields, etc.

IIT Bhubaneswar offers internship programs in the fields of Basic Sciences, Earth, Ocean & Climate Sciences, Electrical Sciences, Infrastructure, Mechanical Sciences, Humanities, Social Sciences and Management and Minerals, Metallurgical and Materials Engineering. Know more about IITBBS internship program.

IIT Bombay (IITB) each year has the Ekalavya Summer Internship (it has been cancelled this year due to the pandemic) that welcomes bright students from other institutes to work as interns for its path-breaking R&D activities that primarily centres on software for various initiatives. Even if you are a complete novice about Python, JAVA, and other software, you can learn on the go. as long as you have the ability to learn quickly. An online programming test may be scheduled for shortlisted interns.

IIT Madras launched a dedicated office about five years ago exclusively for internships for students who study there, headed by an Internship Advisor who is a faculty member and a team of students who provide able support. Through this office, students can avail of internship opportunities at companies at the end of their fourth year, by filling up and submitting the registration form and uploading their resume, after which the company schedules tests and conducts interviews, perhaps giving an assignment as well.

These are just a few of the IIT internship programs. Check out official websites of the IITs to obtain more details. The list of IITs, arranged in alphabetical order for quick reference, are-
  1. IIT Bhilai

  2. IIT Bhubaneswar

  3. IIT Bombay

  4. IIT Delhi

  5. IIT Dhanbad

  6. IIT Dharwad

  7. IIT Gandhinagar

  8. IIT Goa

  9. IIT Guwahati

  10. IIT Hyderabad

  11. IIT Indore

  12. IIT Jammu

  13. IIT Jodhpur

  14. IIT Kanpur

  15. IIT Kharagpur

  16. IIT Madras

  17. IIT Mandi

  18. IIT Palakkad

  19. IIT Patna

  20. IIT Roorkee

  21. IIT Ropar

  22. IIT Tirupati

  23. IIT (BHU) Varanasi
Have queries, comments or feedback on your own experience as an IIT intern? Post them in the box below.

Article by Vandana
Vandana is based in India with over 15 years experience as a freelance writer. Writing, no doubt, is her primary passion! Having learned the art of blogging from ISC, Vandana is enjoying the thrills of blogging, taking pleasure in sharing information & getting good pageviews at her various blogs.

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Author: Umesh11 Sep 2020 Member Level: Platinum   Points : 5

This is one exhaustive article on the internship available to the existing students of IITs especially during their last 1/2 years. Nowadays add on education has got its own merit and in that scenario applying and completing internship is some niche area or undertaking some relevant project makes much sense. The IIT students are already privileged by studying in these top institutes in our country and over and above that if they undertake some internship or project work other than their usual course then it would definitely be an important addition to their CVs in the near future when they apply for coveted jobs in the industry which is already having a soft corner for the IIT graduates. The technology is changing in a fast pace and new skills are becoming the need of the hour today as industry is poised to leap ahead using AI and IoT type of platforms for their future ambitions and aspirations. The students have also to gear up to meet up to these demanding and paying expectations and take advantage of these facilities in their own institution or in other one wherever they get a good opportunity and good topic for internship or project.

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