What Are the Different Types of Chemistry Internships?

Geri Terzo

Students who are majoring in chemistry can become active in the research and development component of drug and product development. Chemistry internships at major drug makers are available, and these programs offer students an ability to contribute to the emergence of new medicines and other items. The types of internships available range from lab settings to behind-the-scenes research and development.

Chemistry interns are often used to prepare substances before an experiment.
Chemistry interns are often used to prepare substances before an experiment.

Some of the largest drug development companies in the world offer attractive conditions to aspiring interns, including paid programs that are available throughout the year. Flexible chemistry internships may be best for students who are graduating a semester late or early and who are available to complete the program outside of the typical summer intern months. There are chemistry internships that are paid and others that provide college credit. Students should appear eager but also sensible about the financial terms so that there are no disappointing surprises once the internship is underway.

Chemistry interns gain valuable experience by working in a lab setting.
Chemistry interns gain valuable experience by working in a lab setting.

Chemistry students often continue to achieve postgraduate degrees. There are chemistry internships designed for students who are earning masters of business administration (MBA) degrees. Students can become entrenched in projects alongside key staff members across various departments, including accounting, marketing, and health for animals. Certain of these chemistry internships take place overseas, and students who are interested in pursuing international opportunities should possess the appropriate language skills and necessary work documents before applying. Others are tailored for students at the doctoral level.

Those selected for chemistry internships may work in lab settings where prescription and over-the-counter drugs are developed. Interns might be involved with studying organic compounds, a function of organic chemistry. Employers typically assign interns to mentors or supervisors to work with, and these individuals often dictate the pace and depth of students' experiences. Student interns might contribute to lab work or even with product testing and marketing.

Drug development isn't the only career choice for chemistry majors. Product development is another area where chemists are employed and chemistry internships can be found. Consumer staple companies that make products such as detergent and toothpaste hire chemists to develop formulas and ingredients that make these items effective.

To find the best chemistry internships, students may want to enroll in placement programs. The organizations are designed to match individuals with the best internship programs based on students' interests and preparation. Employers pay for these services, and a benefit to students is bypassing potential companies that are not currently hiring interns.

Chemistry internships at drug companies allow students to contribute to research into new medicines and other health-related treatments.
Chemistry internships at drug companies allow students to contribute to research into new medicines and other health-related treatments.

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Discussion Comments


Does anyone know of any good chemistry fellowships I can apply for to help pay for graduate school? I am in my last year of my chemistry program and I need to start thinking about pursuing my next degree. I want to go to graduate school in another state, but the costs for out of state students are so high that I need other funding besides loans if I am going to be able to enroll.


@GenevaMech- My friend found an internship through the Bureau of Land Management and the forest service that fulfilled her internship requirements. The job is not actually an internship, rather it is a temporary position (STEP position actually), but her boss gladly filed all of the paperwork her school required. You may want to look at federal or state agencies and try to find temporary or part-time positions. They are not officially called internships, but can often fulfill any requirements for graduation.

Besides, one of these government jobs will look great on a resume, and can allow you to stay local. The jobs also pay well so you do not have to work free. If I were a chemistry major, summer internships like these would be on the top of my list.


@GenevaMech- I am studying organic chemistry, and I was able to find an internship at a medical laboratory. The internship is a paid position that works well with my schedule and allows me to put my knowledge to practical use. I must go to my internship class once a week for three hours to earn credit. In this course, I discuss what I am doing and how it relates to what I have learned. I must also write papers on my work, and have my employer fill out status updates.

You might want to try looking at local environmental labs for internships. They may be hiring interns and part-time laboratory technicians to perform entry-level tasks. You should also search job listing for local environmental consulting firms. These places often hire geochemists and may have summer internships for promising students.


How do I go about finding summer chemistry internships? I am studying geochemistry and I need to do an internship or other applied experience capstone to graduate, but in this job market, I am having trouble finding internships. Where should I look? The only internships I have seen so far are out of state, and any stipend provided does not meet my expenses to participate. I am a low-income student, so I cannot afford to pay for school and pay to go away to intern. I would appreciate any ideas.

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