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Health-related Internships & Experience

The process of finding internships for pre-health professions students can often be frustrating. Unlike many other fields, pre-medical and other health related students are often limited in their activities due to liability issues involving direct patient care. In order to gain significant experience, students must often look beyond traditional internship programs. Professional schools regularly look for several broad areas of experience when evaluating applicants. These typically include patient care/interaction, research, and community service/campus leadership. Each of these areas can potentially be explored through internships, volunteering, employment, and student clubs/activities.

Patient Care/Interaction:

Most students can gain initial patient exposure through hospital volunteer, rescue squad, and part-time work in a medical setting. Many students have also been successful shadowing physicians in private practice, usually through personal referrals or by contacting doctors "cold". Begin by contacting the volunteer services department of your local hospital. Some of these departments also coordinate in-house physician shadowing programs.


A wide range of research oriented opportunities are available with pharmaceutical/biotechnology companies, non-profit research facilities, medical schools and universities including Rutgers. Valuable research experience can also be gained through research topics and honors research courses at Rutgers. For a list of online opportunites, see the Summer Undergraduate Research Links section of our Great Links for Health Professions Students page.

Community Service/Campus Leadership:

On campus activities such as pre-medical clubs, student hotlines, community service clubs, and student government can be an excellent way to develop leadership, communication, and organizational skills. Many large non-profit human service organizations also offer challenging community based volunteer opportunities.