Research Internship and Engagement

Unit structure

The aim of this unit is to provide you with a research development and training opportunity through a cross disciplinary, supportive, experiential learning environment. Through exposure to workplaces, research institutes, community settings, and research processes, you will have the opportunity to apply your research and technical skills and develop your professional identity in your chosen field of research.

You will be able to choose your own placement in consultation with the unit coordinator. You can undertake the placement either as an individual or as part of a project team.

Further information about the unit is detailed in our handbook where you can find details about eligibility criteria, requirements and the unit structure.

What are the benefits of completing an internship?

As a research student, the benefits of completing an internship as part of your study include:

  • Research experience in an industry, policy, research or academic setting;
  • Research experience in an industry, policy, research or academic setting;
  • Networking opportunities through the establishment of industry connections;
  • Improvement in and development of professional and research skills; and
  • Opportunity to conduct research with impact.

Frequently Asked Questions

Internships are a great way to gain valuable experience in industry and research fields, leading to future career opportunities as world-class researchers. An internship will give you the chance to work on industry projects, create solutions to real-world problems, and apply your research skills outside of the university environment.

You are responsible for organising your own internship placement, in consultation with the unit coordinator.

The Research Internship and Engagement unit coordinator is responsible for sourcing some of the internships that are available in the unit.

If the available internships are not suitable or you would like to source your own unit, it is your responsibility to arrange your own placement. The unit coordinator is not responsible for sourcing internship placements for individual students.

You can discuss your potential internship placement with the unit coordinator prior to accepting a role and commencing your internship.

The unit coordinator will ensure that you are prepared for your internship placement and will keep in regular contact with you while you are undertaking your internship.

If you are currently enrolled in the Master of Research, you can find a list of available internships via the ‘Research Training’ vUWS site.

It is your responsibility to:

  • Find and organise your internship placement for the duration of the unit;
  • Discuss the internship opportunity with your supervisor prior to confirming the internship;
  • Inform the internship host of the objectives, learning outcomes, and attendance requirements of the internship;
  • Confirm the details of the internship with the unit coordinator for review and approval prior to the commencement of the internship;
  • Enrol into the Research Internship and Engagement unit (800228);
  • Submit your internship details to the InPlace student placement system prior to the commencement of the internship;
  • Attend all unit requirements (e.g. meetings, lectures, assessments);
  • Submit all unit assessments; and
  • Provide feedback about the internship through an evaluation form.

You will be provided with a Procedures on the Establishment of Internship Placements for students in Research Internship and Engagement document, which includes further information about requirements and responsibilities.

To maximise their learning opportunities, students undertaking an internship must be provided with:

  • A clear explanation of the professional and academic expectations of the internship;
  • A clear explanation of the learning outcomes of the internship (to meet the Contribution of Course Learning Outcomes; refer to the Learning Guide you will be provided with); and
  • A clear explanation of the career and development opportunities of the internship.

It is also the responsibility of the internship host to provide students with:

  • Work and research related responsibilities and actions relevant to the learning outcomes;
  • Access to quality supervision throughout the internship placement;
  • Access to quality preparation and support throughout the duration of the internship placement; and
  • Access to quality guidance and advice in the resolution of any actual or perceived barriers to progress from the internship host.

Internship hosts will be provided with a Procedures on the Establishment of Internship Placements for students in Research Internship and Engagement document, which includes further information about requirements and responsibilities.

Yes, you will be able to access an overview of the process in the Procedures on the Establishment of Internship Placements for students in Research Internship and Engagement document. If you are currently enrolled in the Master of Research, you can find a list of available internships via the ‘Research Training’ vUWS site.

Yes, your internship placement must be related to your area of research and/or discipline and it must be research based. It is your responsibility to assess how well the internship meets these requirements, in consultation with the unit coordinator.

Your internship must be research and research-skills focused, allowing you to explore possible practical applications of your research. It must meet the Unit Course Learning Outcomes (refer to the Learning Guide for more information).

You must select an organisation where the core and ongoing activities relate to your area of research and/or discipline.

Administration focused work (such as data entry, form processing, office assistant, etc.) is not appropriate for your internship and will not be counted towards the completion of the unit.

If you are currently enrolled in the Master of Research, a list of available internships is available via the ‘Research Training’ vUWS site. If a suitable internship is not available on this list, it is your responsibility to organise your own placement. The unit coordinator and your supervisor are not responsible for organising an internship for you.

Some useful hints to help you get started in finding your own internship:

  • Speak to your research supervisor about their external contacts as a source for a possible internship placement.
  • Make yourself familiar with the websites of organisations related to your area of research and discipline that may advertise internship opportunities.
  • Reach out to organisations directly (including Western Sydney University research institutes, external research organisations, businesses, etc.) as many opportunities will not be advertised.
  • Don’t be afraid to directly contact people you are interested in working with to ask about internships.

When contacting organisations or people about internships, you should:

  • Introduce yourself and your area of research interest;
  • Succinctly explain that you are reaching out as part of a coursework requirement for your Master of Research degree;
  • Ask about potential internship opportunities (including any suggestions about the type of work you can do); and
  • Attach your CV and any other supporting documents (such as a sample of your writing).

The internship must be long enough to meet the minimum 60 hours required for the unit and may run for a maximum of 80 hours.

You can undertake the internship on a part-time (1-4 days per week) or on a full-time (5 days per week) basis. You can negotiate this arrangement with the internship host to suit the placement as required.

The internship is to be undertaken during the coursework stage of the Master of Research and must meet the minimum 60 hours required for the unit.

Your internship can only commence after you have provided the details of the placement to the unit coordinator for review and approval. You must be enrolled in the Research Internship and Engagement unit and submit your details to the InPlace student placement system.

Your internship must be approved before you commence and the commencement date must not precede the unit coordinators approval date. No hours will be credited for work completed prior to formal approval being granted.

No, internships are unpaid placements by default. However, internship hosts have the option to award a discretionary stipend to assist with your expenses incurred during the internship. This can be administered through Western Sydney University.

In some cases, the internship host may choose to pay you for completing the internship.

No, advanced standing cannot be awarded towards the completion of this unit.

Yes, the unit includes course content and you must attend all sessions and submit assessments as requested by the unit coordinator.

The unit is offered twice per year, during the first half (1H) and second half (2H) semesters.

How to submit an internship opportunity

Western Sydney University welcomes internship opportunities from industry partners, government departments and research organisations.

Internships are a great way for you to engage with high-achieving students in our higher degree research programs through short-term, research and development focused projects.

You can submit an internship using our online form.

The benefits of submitting an internship include:

  • Our research students are provided with an opportunity to apply their expert, specialised, technical, research and innovations skills in a discipline area to independently and systematically develop creative solutions to challenging questions.
  • It facilitates knowledge transfer between the University and industry, as well as the broader community.
  • You can support the development of high-quality research graduates that can take advantage of career opportunities outside of academia.
  • You can build beneficial, ongoing relationships between your organisations and Western Sydney University.
  • You can help to provide research students with the knowledge and skills necessary for their future careers both in academia and outside of this sector (including government, non-government, non-profit, community groups and other organisations).
  • You can gain access to specialised research expertise and skills that can help to solve real-world problems in your organisation.

If you can any questions about how to submit and internship opportunity or need advice about the process of finding an intern, please send us an email: grs.ice@westernsydney.edu.au

Find out more

To find out more about this exciting unit and potential internship opportunities, please contact us at grs.mres@westernsydney.edu.au.