An internship is an opportunity to give highly capable and motivated doctoral students the chance to use, and develop, their advanced skillsets in diverse workplace settings. Internships can be project-based or designed around specific pre-existing duties. The work does not need to tie directly to the student’s academic research or field, but the opportunities must be high quality and meaningful to Western’s PhD students and help them apply their skills to industry, while becoming more well-rounded academics.

The internship program aligns with Western’s professional development program - Own Your Future. The purpose of both Own Your Future and the PhD internship is to better equip Western’s PhDs for all possible career paths and further develop the key competencies required for successful completion of a doctoral degree.

Internship Details

  • Paid, meaningful work experiences
  • Full-time
  • 4-, 8-, or 12- months in length
  • January, September, and May start times preferred (exceptions can be made where necessary


To be eligible to participate in a an internship a doctoral student must:

  • Be registered as a part- or full-time PhD student at the time of application.
  • Be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident. International students are not eligible to participate at this time.
  • Confirm with their thesis supervisor(s) and graduate chair that they are in good academic standing and meet the graduate program conditions for progression toward their degree.

Candidates may complete an internship the year immediately following completion of degree requirements as long as they are enrolled at the time of application to an internship.


How doctoral students register for the program:

  1. Discuss their intentions to explore internship opportunities with their thesis supervisor(s) and graduate chair
  2. Visit Western Connect.
  3. Students Log in as a student using their Western ID and password.
  4. Students visit the ‘Internship/Co-op’ tab, then select the ‘Graduate (Research-based Programs)’ sub-tab.
  5. Students complete admission application questions to request access to the online portal.
  6. Once approved, the student can now review internship postings (check back often as employers may submit postings throughout the year).
  7. The student can now apply to internship postings according to instructions in each posting.


Prior to accepting an internship offer from an employer a student must:

  • Submit a completed Document of Support indicating support from your graduate program.
    • Confirm they meet the graduate program conditions for progression toward the degree.
    • Agree to take Leave of Absence from their graduate program for the duration of their full-time internship, unless all parties involved (degree program, SGPS, and employer) have agreed upon an alternate registration status. (Note: Students registered as Thesis Defense Only (TDO) do not need to take a Leave of Absence) To review the implications of taking a leave of absence please consult: