The 7 Points Of Difference Between a Fellowship And An Internship

Difference Between a Fellowship And An Internship

Written by Shefali Onawale

Someone, somewhere said a thing...and now we remember it because they probably wrote it down! She used to write for herself and now writes to help others. Writing has brought her a long way and she wishes to walk some more, preferably making sojourns along the way.

May 19, 2021

The difference between a fellowship and an internship is still blurred in 2021. The image below gives you a gist between the most prominent differences between the two. 

Difference Between a Fellowship And An Internship

What’s The Difference Between A Fellowship and An Internship?

Professional Development Vs Professional Experience 

The most prominent difference between an Internship and a fellowship is that the former is usually a trial period for a candidate before joining as a full-time employee at an organisation. The latter, on the other hand offers more of an academic experience in a professional setting. This means that a fellowship will offer you a professional experience rather than focus on your professional development. Internships are designed to challenge and train (mostly graduate) students and test their knowledge and skill. 

Expectations From The Candidate

You may apply for a fellowship without any experience, however, you need to at least have a Bachelor’s degree. Fellowships usually target graduate or post-graduate students and are offered as a learning opportunity to a student as a part of course curriculum. The main point of difference between a fellowship and an internship here is that an internship can be seen as an entry level position where you will be expected to have at least basic working knowledge of your subject area and might have to provide evidence to prove this working knowledge.This evidence can be in the form of a letter of recommendation, training certificate, or experience certificate. Sometimes, fellowships can be offered to students before their PhD or doctoral degrees in the form of “per-doctoral fellowships”. 

Specific Knowledge Vs General Know-How 

The most important difference between a fellowship and an internship is that an internship will require you to associate and collaborate with multiple departments of a company. The ultimate aim will be to achieve monthly targets, generate revenue or boost the organisational performance. On the other hand, a fellowship is taken up for a specific project that is closely related to your academic interests. This may be experimenting with a research theory project or exploring running tests and measuring observations over a time period. 

Documents and Evidence 

As mentioned above, you must provide evidence of experience to apply for an internship at a company. In addition to that, you may have to provide your academic, any academic LORs, awards, Resume or CV, cover letter and other significant achievements . Moreover, before you receive your offer letter, you may have to clear several rounds of assessments

For many fellowships, because of the nature of the experience, applicants must write at length about specific research or projects that they will use the fellowship time and funding to complete. In most cases, fellowships are a part of research projects and require you to have a supervisor or a nominee. 

Salary? Stipend or Hourly Wages? 

The difference between a salary and a stipend is as fine as the difference between a fellowship and an internship. Salary is remuneration given to an employee from an employer. This happens on a regular basis till the validity of a contract. On the other hand, a stipend is given to a trainee or a learner. This is for a limited period of time, till the completion of the training period or absorption of the intern or trainee as a full time employee, whichever is earlier. Fellowships often provide stipend to students instead of hourly wages. This is because the fellows do not need to mark their attendance or log in a certain number of hours per day to maintain a record for attendance. Fellowships are executed independently and are concluded whenever the project meets the deadline.

Interns are usually paid on an hourly basis or may have a fixed stipend. In some cases, internships may also be unpaid and here, you will be offered a certificate of experience or college credits as compensation for money. 

Fellowships Compared To Internships Are Not Entirely Independent 

Often, fellowships will require you to submit a research proposal reflecting objectives, timelines and time-action plans to a sponsor. This sponsor in most cases will also be your supervisor or guide and will fund your research fellowship. As a result, even though the research project is entirely your idea and is also executed by you, your sponsor might like to have the final say. Most higher education institutions have a department for research and innovation that is dedicated to help you find sponsors for your research projects. Internships, as we are aware, take place directly under the supervision of a department head of a larger organisation. 

Duration: Internships Vs. Fellowships 

Another major difference between a fellowship and an internship is the length of its duration. In most cases, internships take place for a set time period for example summer internships. While internships may range from a period of 2 months to 6 months, fellowships lengths are more variable depending on the subject of research. Some might be as short as three weeks, although they are commonly longer. Semester or year-long fellowships are not uncommon. If candidates participate in a predefined program, it’s more likely to be an internship program. If candidates make their own goals and create their projects, the program is more likely a fellowship. 

Thanks for reading this blog on The 7 Points Of Difference Between a Fellowship And An Internship. If you are interested in learning more about student life, the following articles should interest you: 

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