The Difference Between Internships And Fellowships

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Though some use the terms interchangeably, internships and fellowships differ in quite a few ways. Let’s break down the differences.

Internship vs Fellowship

An internship is essentially an opportunity for students to gain work experience in a field they are interested in pursuing. Some students may do internships to get a first-hand look at a specific career path so that they can make a more informed decision on a job or major, while others may do an internship as part of their program requirement.

A fellowship on the other hand is more about professional development rather than work experience. Students doing a fellowship are required to complete a proposed project that will help them succeed in their chosen field.

Eligibility Requirements

Students at any stage of their education—including undergrads and high school students—are eligible to apply for internship opportunities.

Fellowships are primarily offered to graduate and even post-graduate students.

Application Process

Students wishing to pursue an internship opportunity have to submit a cover letter and resume, highlighting how they are qualified for the position they are applying to, as well as addressing any questions that the organization asks for.

In addition to the standard resume, fellowship applicants must propose a specific project that they intend to complete during their fellowship period. Both interns and fellows will likely have to complete an interview or two for their position.


Internships may be paid or unpaid. Paid internships generally offer hourly wages, just like regular employees. Unpaid internships sometimes provide college credits instead of monetary compensation.

Fellows work independently on their proposed project and get paid a fixed stipend for the fellowship period and their work.

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