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Fellowship Vs. Internship: Know Your Options

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Ever wondered about the difference between a fellowship vs internship? While both offer you experience that can play a vital role in your future success, the two have many differences. 

 

Here, we will break down everything you need to know about how they are alike and different. 

 

What is a Fellowship?

 

A fellowship is a program that is geared towards professional development. Organizations, institutions, and groups provide sponsorships for candidates to gain a fellowship. 

 

In most instances, a candidate is awarded with a fellowship based on merit. These fellowships may be research-based, for example. 

 

To prove that a candidate is worthy of being granted a fellowship, they must apply with necessary documents like letters of recommendations and their resume (more on this later). 

 

 

What is an Internship?

 

An internship is a work opportunity that is given to a potential future employee for a limited amount of time. 

 

Most of the time, students take part in internships to gain hands-on work experience while completing their studies. Most internships run for a few weeks to three months long. They may be paid or unpaid. 

 

Students who obtain internships while in school are able to expand their network and boost skills in their desired profession. 

 

 

Student taking notes at a fellowship seminar
Photo by The Climate Reality Project on Unsplash

 

 

Fellowship vs. Internship

 

Both an internship and a fellowship offer students or recent graduates with means to excel in their field of study or their intended career path. 

 

Here’s a look at the main elements of each:

 

 

Focus

 

Fellowship: A fellowship provides a student with long-term study in a field of choice. It may include providing funding for: graduate studies, research, or to develop organizations. 

 

 

Internship: An internship allows students or trainees to work in their specialty area or field of choice before becoming an employee. 

 

 

 

Eligibility

 

 

Fellowship: Fellowships are designed for more advanced students, like graduates and postgraduates who already have a strong grasp of information in their particular field of study. 

 

 

Internship: Most undergraduate students nearing the end of their undergraduate program apply for internships. It’s possible to earn an internship at a younger age, too. 

 

 

 

Duration 

 

 

Fellowship: Fellowships can last for a few months to a few years. 

 

 

Internship: Internships usually last a few weeks or a few months. 

 

 

 

Compensation

 

 

Fellowship: Payment tends to come in the form of stipends or allowances. 

 

 

Internship: Payment varies based on the industry and employer. It could be paid or unpaid (or for college credit). 

 

 

 

 

Interns learning on the job
Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com on Unsplash

 

 

Application Process

 

Internships and fellowships are similar in the sense that they both require applications and can be competitive. They’ll both ask for a cover letter of what makes you a good fit, as well as a resume. 

 

For a fellowship, the competition gets heavier, and you may also have to submit a research proposal for what you intend to accomplish during the fellowship. 

 

 

The Bottom Line 

 

As an undergraduate student, it makes sense to perform due diligence and understand the nuances between an internship vs fellowship. This way, you can apply for both if and when the time is right. 

 

Both types of programs will help you expand your network, gain valuable skills, and open the door to post-graduate career opportunities.