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Department of Biology

Biotechnology Internship as Practical Training

As part of the Professional Science Master's in Biotechnology at California State University, Fresno, each student is required to complete an internship as part of BIOTC 275: Industrial Experience, a required course. The internship is designed to introduce students to the business operations of a biotechnology-related company or organization, and to provide a rewarding partnership between the student and the sponsor site.

The internship experience structure is flexible, allowing for a wide variety of experiences under the internship. It is flexible enough to accommodate established internship programs, but also provides structure for industries that have had few or no previous interns. Arrangements are based on the needs of the sponsor site, the student, and the university. Academic research at a university or in academic setting is not allowed for the completion of the internship requirement. Ultimately, the student must obtain approval from both the sponsor site and the Biotechnology Program before beginning their internship for credit.

If you have an internship opportunity for our students, please contact the Professional Science Master's in Biotechnology Office by calling the PSM Biotechnology Office at 559-278-7692 or by email at

This page contains information about the internship experience.

Forms for students and industry with active internships may be found on the forms page of this web site.

Internship Goals

  1. The goals of this program directly relate to the mission of California State University, Fresno and the Regional Jobs Initiative.
  2. Train and educate students for mid-level science jobs for Central California, state wide, nationally and internationally.
  3. Strengthen ties between the University and regional businesses, companies, organizations and provide a direct link to Central California s agricultural industry and healthcare systems.
  4. To engage more than 20 students into the Biotechnology Professional Master s Program per calendar year.

Responsibility of the Program, Student, and Internship Site

The responsibility for a successful internship is shared by the Program, the Student and by the Industrial Partner. The roles of the three are described below.

Student: The student is expected to take the lead role in securing an appropriate internship, preparing the internship experience letter of agreement, and coordinating communication between the internship supervisor and major professor. The internship agreement provides details about the internship and should be completed prior to the start of the project to allow for feedback from the program and project supervisor. The student is expected to complete all work agreed upon by all parties, submit a final report at the end of the internship, and present their experience at the internship forum. Work completed at the internship may or may not be impacted by a non-disclosure agreement.

Program Advisors and/or Major Professor: The program advisor will assist students in identifying viable internship opportunities, help develop the internship agreement, and provide feedback for the final report. The advisor facilitates all paperwork necessary for student enrollment, program development, implementation, and evaluation for students, faculty, potential employers and employers. He/she will be available for consultation and advice during the internship and will check on the student s progress one-third of the way through the project, but will not take an active role in directing the work of the student intern. The program advisors will assign the final grade for the internship, based on feedback received from the internship supervisor, the student s lab notebook, and the final report.

Internship Supervisor: One individual from an organization should serve as the student s supervisor. The supervisor will play a primary role in helping the student complete the internship. This person will also send the program an evaluation form that examines the student s work quality, accomplishments, enthusiasm, and specific contributions made to the organization. Any problems or concerns during the internship should be shared with the student and his/her major professor.

Suggestions for designing and implementing an effective and meaningful work experience for the student.

The goal is to provide Biotechnology students with the mechanisms and environment for a practical and meaningful experience that directly relates to the completion of a Biotechnology Master s Program Industrial Project.

  1. Develop an Industrial Experience that engages a student. Project experience can begin and end at anytime providing the project is completed within curriculum timelines. Summertime experiences create better working schedules for some students.
  2. Once a project and/or position opening has been created, post position with Biotechnology Program representative.
    1. Position posting should include a description of duties, responsibilities and specific project assignments. Posting should also include an opportunity for a potential student to enhance existing skills, develop practical knowledge within the realm of Biotechnology, learn day to day operations, and complete and satisfy the project requirements for a Professional Master s Degree in Biotechnology. All internships need to be approved by the Biotechnology Academic Advisor.
  3. Interview and select prospective student. Biotechnology Employer donation of $1,000. is suggested for each internship developed.
  4. Formulate Learning Objectives among selected student, course instructor and on-site supervisor. These objectives should include a written agreement outlining the specific objectives of the experience and their relevance to the course learning objectives. The following provides a four dimension perspective in relation to the work experience and potential outcomes of the overall project:
    1. Skill Development: Learning skills such as writing, verbal communication, research, organizational, computer, interpersonal, teamwork, presentation, and leadership.
    2. Broader knowledge: Understanding the workplace, operating procedures, the company and it s products, how the firm competes, and other organizational knowledge such as new applications or skills.
    3. Career Awareness: Internships often provide the opportunity to take a peek at what working for a company or in an industry would be like.
    4. Personal Development: One of the major benefits of a work experience is how it helps the student to develop self-confidence, assertiveness, and basic work habits.
  5. Provide orientation to student.
    1. Explain the mission of the business, organization or company.
    2. Explain the organization structure.
    3. Outline organizational rules, policies, safety procedures, decorum, and expectations.
    4. Define the student s responsibilities.
    5. Monitor the student s adjustment to the work environment and understanding of what is expected.
    6. * Orientation checklist is included in Employer Packet
  6. Attend the student presentation of the Industrial Experience, which will take place at California State University, Fresno during appropriate semester.
  7. Monitor student during experience and provide evaluation upon completion.