/ Biology Department


Internships provide a competitive edge when seeking a career in biology. Start exploring the myriad opportunities in your field of interest by checking out these resources.

Receiving an internship position off-campus can be an invaluable experience that allows you to meet new people and build a larger network, preview what graduate school or industry is like, and explore different scientific models/systems. Perhaps just as important to your future employer, completing off-campus internships displays your adaptability to new environments and sense of adventure!

Guidelines for receiving academic credit for internships

Hope College guidelines for internships can be found on the Boerigter Center’s Internships site. The specific guidelines for the biology department are as follows. Students may earn up to six (6) credits from biology-related internships, but only a maximum of four (4) credits can be applied toward the biology major. In general, one (1) credit of internship requires 45 hours of work at the external agency/company. All internships must be approved by the Hope site supervisor (defined below) and the biology chairperson. The process for gaining approval is as follows:

  • The student is responsible for finding a biology department faculty member (henceforth referred to as the Hope site supervisor) who will oversee the internship. This must be done prior to or during the registration period before the semester or summer the student plans to participate in the internship. If a student cannot determine an appropriate faculty member for sponsorship, they should consult with the chairperson of the biology department.
  • The student is responsible for arranging the internship position with the external agency/company, including identifying one individual at the company (henceforth referred to as the employer host) who will be directly responsible for supervising and evaluating the student during the internship. 
    • To qualify as a biology department internship, the work experience must be clearly related to the biological sciences. In the event of a disagreement over this issue between the chairperson and/or Hope site supervisor and the student, the faculty of the biology department as a whole will determine the suitability of the internship.
    • If working full time in the internship, a maximum of six (6) credits for the semester or the summer is allowed, but only four (4) credits can be applied to the biology major. If the internship is less than full time, credit assignment will be determined by the Hope site supervisor and department chair. 
    • A maximum of four credits total from internships can be earned and applied to the biology major. 
    • Credit may not be received in another Hope College department for the same internship unless the hours of the internship are split between the departments.
    • A second internship may not be started until the first internship is finished and a grade has been assigned.
    • In accordance with Hope College policy, a student may receive compensation for the internship in addition to internship credit.
  • Within two weeks of the beginning of the internship, the employer host must submit a letter to the Hope site supervisor indicating the nature of the work experience, the hours to be worked, and a willingness to directly supervise the student and provide an evaluation (including a recommended grade).
  • In addition to the actual work, the student must submit final products to the Hope site supervisor during the final week of the semester or summer. The purpose of the final products is to document the outcomes from the experience and provide a justification for earning academic credits as a result of the experience. Although the exact nature of the final products can be amended by the Hope site supervisor, the final products should be roughly equivalent to the following in terms of the time it takes the student to complete them and the academic rigor required to create the products: 
    • Two typed papers, the first of which documents the internship experience itself — what was done, how it was done, what new skills or information was gained, how the internship experience changed the student, and other relevant information to the experience. The second paper can either be a scientific article outlining experiments and results from the internship or a scientific review paper. Regardless of the style that is chosen for the second paper, it must be written in a style appropriate for submission to a relevant journal. If a review paper is chosen, it should be directly related to an area of biology which was dealt with during the internship experience. Students should consult with the Hope site supervisor to determine which style of scientific paper is most appropriate. The length of the paper should be around 10 double-spaced pages for each hour of internship credit (i.e., 2 credits means 20 pages).
  • The grade for the internship will be determined by the Hope site supervisor. They will take into account the evaluation by the employer host, the quality of the two papers (i.e., final products), and the adherence of the student to the departmental requirements for internship credit.
  • Registration for the internship includes the following:
    • If a student has not yet secured an internship but would like to reserve a place on their schedule, they may complete this permission form to register and save a place on their schedule. However, the student must have a Hope site supervisor before completing the form. The internship will appear as an 099 course. 
    • If a student has a position secured and has a Hope site supervisor, they should do the following to fully register for internship credits:
      • The student must fill out and sign the Hope College Biology Department Internship Application. Signing this application indicates that the student agrees to fulfill the biology department internship requirements. The student must provide a copy of this internship application to the Hope site supervisor, the placement supervisor, the chairperson of the biology department, and the biology department office.
      • In order to register for BIOL 499 credits, the student should complete this form and follow the instructions located therein. Students will be charged for credits as with any other course.
Tips on getting a great internship or research opportunity
  • Apply to several positions.
  • Do your research and start early — be prepared to sift through many postings to find the right one for you!
  • Ask for letters of recommendation at least two weeks in advance of the due date.
  • In your application, your personal statement or cover letter should explain why you want the internship. Your primary motivation should be to do/learn science, not to have a summer job.
  • To obtain academic credit for internships, read the above instructions about receiving academic credit for internships.

Download the internship application 

Biomedical  Research Internships