What is the difference between Fellowships and internships & which should you join

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Author: DR.N.V. Srinivasa Rao      Post Date: 15 Jul 2023        
Many students will be familiar with both fellowship and internship. Many use these two words interchangeably. But when you really go into the details we will find many differences between the two.

The internship is more like training for students in companies seeking jobs after completing their education in college. These days this internship has become a part and parcel of the course curriculum. Many companies that are conducting campus interviews and selecting people for jobs in their companies are offering these internships to the selected people before giving them employment. My brother's son got selected for a job in an IT company and they offered him an internship immediately after completion of the 4th year examinations before the results are announced. He completed the internship by the time the results are out. Now he is awaiting an employment letter. Meanwhile, he joined another IT company for an internship in Bangalore. These internships are available to undergraduate students and sometimes even to high school students also.

Fellowship is mainly for the students who completed their graduation or post-graduation and wanted to pursue their higher education. Graduates who completed 4 years of graduation or postgraduation are eligible to pursue their PhD. Students who want to go for a PhD can apply for various fellowships that are being awarded by various organisations like UGC, and CSIR. DSIR. National Science Foundation graduation research fellowships etc. Pre-doctoral Fellowships are for students pursuing their PhD and post-doctoral fellowships are for scientists who completed their PhD and further pursuing advanced research.

A fellowship holder will work for professional development whereas an internship will focus on professional training. A fellowship will be awarded for a specific project and the fellow who obtained this fellowship should work on that project and bring out the findings of his study. Whereas an internship is more like an on job training for the individuals which will eliminate training costs to the organisations after employing a person.

Fellowship amounts are fixed and will be awarded for a specific period. A fellowship holder may get some additional contingency grant that is required for completing his study. An internship is more like a wage paid monthly and will vary from company to company and even person to person.

Applying for an internship is easy and it is simply like sending your resume with a covering note. But application process for a fellowship is more cumbersome. The candidate has to give the details of the project he/ she is proposing to work on and how beneficial are the outcomes to the scientific community as well as to the industry. A candidate applying for a fellowship may have to give a presentation explaining the methodology that can be employed and what are the expected takeaways from the project. He should give milestone stages during the development and the expected timelines for completing the project.

I did my PhD with a CSIR fellowship. When I applied for the same, I made a project proposal and made a presentation to the faculty of the department where I wanted to work. Then only my application for fellowship was forwarded to CSIR by my research guide and the Head of the Department.

Fellowships duration will be long and may go up to 5 to 7 years. But internships are just for a few months only.

Who should join what?

1. Internship is for students just who are out of college and looking for a job. If a student finished his examinations and looking around for a job should apply for an internship and get trained there.

2. Fellowship is for students who completed their graduation or postgraduation and further want to pursue their higher studies.
Author: Ramya      Post Date: 05 Jul 2023        
Fellowships and Internships differ in several key aspects mentioned below:

1. Duration: Fellowships can range from a few months to several years, depending on the scope of the program. Whereas internships are shorter in duration, which can range from a few weeks to a few months.

2. Eligibility: Fellowships are open to candidates who have completed their formal education like graduation, post-graduation, or professionals who are looking to advance their careers. Whereas internships are generally targeted at students or recently graduated candidates who are seeking entry-level experience and practical exposure in a particular field

3. Purpose: Fellowships are designed to support candidates in pursuing advanced study, research, or professional development in a specific field. The fellowship also provides financial assistance and mentorship for the candidates. Whereas Internship is a temporary work experience, in which candidates gain practical skills and real-world experience in a particular industry.

4. Compensation: Fellowships may or may not provide financial compensation, but they offer allowances, grants, or stipends to support the candidate during their research period. Internships also may or may not provide financial compensation depending on the organization. Some internships may offer stipends or other benefits.

Which one to join whether Fellowship or Internship, will depend on the candidate's goals, interests, and career stage.

1. If you have completed your formal education and want to gain expertise in a particular field by pursuing specialized research or if you want to contribute to a specific project, you can join a fellowship program.

2. If you are a student or recently graduated and looking to gain practical experience, or learn about a specific industry, you can join an internship program.

Ultimately, both fellowships and internships will provide a valuable learning experience and opportunities for the professional and personal growth of a candidate.
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