What is an internship?

The academic internship is part of your MSc programme and offers you the possibility to experience the institutional, entrepreneurial and labour reality of a possible first (academic) working environment of a recent graduate. Here you will work at a host organisation outside Wageningen University in order to gain some working experience related to your field of studies. The host organisation and the tasks at your internship should be of sufficient high standards to reflect the academic level of a Wageningen MSc student. Ultimately the supervising chair group  -in the name of your WU supervisor- will be responsible to monitor this academic level.

How does an internship differ from a (minor) thesis?

At an internship you will work at a host organisation and you will contribute to the workings of this organisation by the specific tasks you have (e.g. making a policy document, developing specific tools or material, or perform a research project). This differs from a (minor) thesis in the sense that you now perform your tasks in this working environment based on the needs of your internship provider. Whilst as a (thesis) researcher  you should maintain your relative independence in any collaboration you might have, during the internship experiencing this working environment is a major aspect of the learning outcomes (and therefore your assessment).

When can I start with an internship?

In order to be able to start an internship you should be officially subscribed as a MSC student of Wageningen University. Next to this, every programme has specific requirements that you can find in the Study Handbook. If you are having doubts about whether you are eligible to start with your internship, please get in touch with your study advisor.

Next to the specific rules of your study programme you are dependent on specific ‘internship opportunities’ that determine when (and whether) you can start. There are no specific ‘rules of the thumb’ when it comes to planning and timing your internship. Just take in mind that planning your internship might imply some flexibility and perseverance. Some (governmental) organisations have specific months in which they recruit internship students, so ask around if you have a specific internship in mind when/ where to apply. If you have found an internship position all you need to do is find yourself an WU internship supervisor at the university, fill in the internship contract & learning agreement and then you can start.

How can I find an internship?

There are several ways in which you can find an internship, but ultimately it is the responsibility of the student to search for and find a position. The Education Programmes and Chair Group facilitate this earch but they are not responsible for finding you a position, so take an active position. How then?

First, the most common way to get an internship is to take an active stance yourself and use your own network and efforts to find yourself a place.

How to find an internship?


  • What kind of themes do you like? What kind of organisations would you like to work in? Do these organisations employ interns? If yes, how do they recruit them?
  • Visit the Internship Evening of your programme, check the overviews of internship experiences your programme or the chair group provides.
  • Talk with (former/ older) students about their experiences.
  • Consult your study advisor

    Write an open letter to interesting organizations.


Secondly, you can ask the SADE Education Coordinator about internship possibilities. We aim to facilitate as much as we can but all current ‘internship opportunities’ can be found at our website, Facebook and the bulletin boards at the corridor. However, if you have a specific topic of interest you can always ask for some suggestions/ contacts based on our network. Here, do not hesitate to ask a specific lecturer that is working on your ‘theme’ for suggestions after class.

Third, some programmes (study advisors) such as MID are quite active themselves in promoting internship opportunities. So keep an eye on the appropriate communication channels from your programme as well.

How to find an internship supervisor?

In the case of an internship you will have two supervisors, each with different tasks and responsibility. First you have an internship supervisor at the workplace. The internship supervisor will guide you on your work activities and will give you feedback on your performance on behalf of the host organisation. In the end, your internship supervisor will assess your performance at the internship, based on this form.

Secondly, you will need a Wageningen University supervisor (RSO or SDC staff member) –hereafter WU supervisor- with whom you fill in the thesis contract and learning agreement (where you specify your individual learning objectives), and regularly discuss the progress in your work at your internship. The WU supervisor will assess your internship reports. Whilst your internship supervisor provides your WU supervisor with advice on the mark of your internship (based on the assessment form above), your WU supervisor is ultimately responsible for the final mark (based on both reports and the advice). The assessment criteria are specified in the internship assessment form. In order to find a WU supervisor please contact the SADE Education Coordinator that is responsible for assigning students to specific staff members.

Note: in the case of an internship your WU supervisor only has a minor role (compared to your day-to-day internship supervisor). Therefore the SADE Education Coordinator will find you a supervisor based on the current balance of ‘supervision workload’ of our individual staff members. This is not to say that topic doesn’t matter, but that we prefer to have ‘on-topic’ supervision for theses –where it matters- instead of the internship –where the WU supervisor discusses your progress and position at the workplace.

For a more information: read the internship course guide.