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QB3-Berkeley Undergraduate Biotech Internships

Program Description
Program Calendar
How to Apply

Acceptance into Program
Internship Requirements

The application process is now closed


The California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences (QB3) partners with local biotech companies to offer full-time, hands-on internships to UC Berkeley undergraduates for summer 2015 through the QB3-Berkeley Undergraduate Biotech Internship Program.

QB3-Berkeley seeks top applicants for internship positions at Bay Area biotech companies. Accepted students will spend approximately 10 weeks learning laboratory techniques and contributing to specific state-of-the-art interdisciplinary research projects. Interns become paid, full-time employees of the company for the duration of their internship.

Interns will:

• Acquire valuable, real-world research experience and training on a long-term project.

• Work full-time and earn a competitive salary to help cover college expenses.

• Define direction for graduate studies and explore career options.

• Network with a variety of industry, QB3-Berkeley, and student researchers.

• Work one-on-one with faculty mentors and utilize advanced laboratory facilities.

• Develop new technical, communication, time management, and leadership skills.


QB3-Berkeley will accept applications by March 2, 2015 and encourages UC Berkeley undergraduate students to apply if they meet the following eligibility requirements:

• Registered as an undergraduate student at UC Berkeley. Has an overall GPA of at least 3.2; undergraduate course experience in biology, chemistry and classroom lab experience required. Declared a major and interested in exploring careers in the biotechnology industry. Has unrestricted authorization to work in the United States. Committed to full-time summer employment, returning to UC Berkeley for normal course of study (i.e. fall semester). Consent that application materials, including transcripts, will be reviewed by program staff and potential employers. Students may be invited for an interview at QB3-Berkeley or at the company. Once a student accepts an internship offer, whether verbally or in writing, acceptance is to be considered binding for the duration of the entire work period. Interns may be required to sign a confidentiality compliance statement protecting the company’s proprietary information and must observe company rules and regulations. Transfer students must put in one semester of coursework at UC Berkeley before applying to the program.

• Foreign students with F-1 visas may participate in the program after completion of one academic year (two semesters or one semester plus one summer session) as an F-1 student in the United States.

Note: Unfortunately, seniors are not eligible to participate in this program.


Note: We are launching the program early this year to be responsive and accomodating to students who would like to get an early start on making their summer plans. Apply online by March 2, 2015. Letters of recommendation are due March 5, 2015.

November 24 Online application site opens
March 2 Online application site closes
March 5 Letter of recommendation due
March Applicant screening and ranking by QB3-Berkeley Faculty interviews with internship candidates
March-April Candidate applications forwarded along to partner companies
March-April Industry partners interview and select interns
May QB3-Berkeley Internship Orientation Lunch
May-June Internships begin
July First assignment due: Describe your new project and summer goals
Internship Summer Fun Event
August Self-Evaluation and Supervisor Evaluation forms sent
Interns final presentations at companies
Evaluations due end of August
September Internship Luncheon
Post Internship focus group

*Dates are subject to change


To be considered for an internship, students must be in good academic standing in accordance with university and departmental requirements. Students interested in careers in the biotech industry are the preferred candidates for this program. Potential internship candidates will be selected from a competitive pool of applicants by QB3-Berkeley program staff in cooperation with company representatives. Students may be invited to interviews at QB3-Berkeley and/or at the company. Company representatives conduct final interviews and make the final hiring decisions.

Please read the instructions below before applying. All information must be submitted in one online session.

1) Provide basic information about yourself and provide the name and email address of your recommender on the application site.(IMPORTANT: Once you submit your application, your recommender will receive an email message that includes a link where he/she will need to go to create a password and upload your recommendation.)

2) Upload the following three documents as pdfs:

Statement of Purpose

A one-page statement (typed, single-spaced) addressing the following:

• What is your background and interest in applying to the internship program?

• What is your biology, chemistry, and research experience?

• What are your short-term and/or long-term research and career goals?

Please include any additional information that might aid the selection committee in evaluating your preparation, potential, and aptitude for doing scientific research. You may also address any experiences, situations, or conditions that may have adversely impacted your academic advancement in science.

Unofficial undergraduate transcript

A BearFacts transcript is ok. Please include also a list of your current classes.


You may wish to visit the Career Center for resume support at

3) Be sure to click submit when you have completed the online application. You will see
a confirmation page indicating you have successfully submitted your application.

4) By 5 p.m. on March 5, 2015, have one recommender submit online a Letter of Recommendation. This should be from an individual familiar with your interests, abilities, and/or career goals.

The letter must be from a relevant UC Berkeley professor. (You may submit a letter of recommendation from a Graduate Student Instructor (GSI) but it must be co-signed by a professor.)

A second optional letter from any individual, inside or outside of the University such as a former employer or research advisor may be sent to J'Maica Thomas, jmaica@berkeley.edu.


Once the internship placement is confirmed with the company, each student is required to sign the Internship Agreement Form. Students are formally accepted into the program by completing and returning this form to QB3-Berkeley.


Once accepted into the program, students are required to attend all meetings, orientations, activities, and fulfill the following internship requirements:

  1. Once a student accepts an internship offer, whether verbally or in writing, acceptance is to be considered binding for the duration of the entire work period.
  2. Interns must complete all program and University of California administrative procedures.
  3. Interns are required to turn in UC Berkeley, company employer, and internship program forms by deadlines.
  4. Interns may be required to sign a confidentiality compliance statement protecting a company’s proprietary information and must observe company rules and regulations.
  5. Interns may be required to participate in a background check and drug test. (Interns may also supply a copy of their most recent immunization record, current residence status, and health insurance card.)
  6. Interns will submit via email Assignment I: Summary of Internship Goals (due 2-3 weeks after start date).
  7. QB3-Berkeley staff and industry supervisors will evaluate final projects and internship performance.
  8. Interns will participate in end-of-program evaluation procedures and may attend a symposium.
  9. Interns are required to report any internship issues or difficulties to the program manager, supervisor, or human resources representative.
  10. Interns are required to resume normal course of study (fall semester) upon completion of the internship program.

Confidentiality Compliance Statement and Background Check

Interns will be required to sign a confidentiality compliance statement protecting a company's proprietary information.

Interns may be required to participate in a background check including a drug test. Interns may also supply a copy of their most recent immunization record, current residence status, and health insurance card.


Internships begin the summer after the completion of the academic year. Interns are expected to engage in full-time research activities for 40 hours per week (hours may vary). Internships last approximately 10 weeks (although extensions are possible at some companies). The actual work schedule, including which days will be considered holidays, is determined by the company supervisor.

Note: On occasion, interns may stay late to finish experiments. Unfortunately, interns are not eligible for overtime pay.

Salary & Benefits

Each intern will receive a salary and be paid directly by the employer (or an approved third-party agency). Salaries are determined by the company, and interns must provide two types of identification when filling out required payroll forms. Interns are ineligible for any insurance benefits or overtime pay from company employers. Students are financially responsible for their own travel, housing, and meals.

Informational Interviews

Interns are required to conduct a few ten minute informational interviews with employees from a variety of departments at the company. Interns should ask supervisors if there are particular employees to meet. Simply introduce yourself, ask for ten minutes, and explain that you are interested to learn more about the employee's role and might they offer any advice about careers in biotech. Don't forget to mail a thank you note after the interview. This is a great opportunity to make connections throughout the company. 

Letters of Recommendation & Gathering References

At the end of the internship, interns may ask supervisors to become references for future employment opportunities.  Interns might also request a letter of recommendation.  This letter should be on company letterhead and addressed to "To Whom It May Concern."  The letter can be photocopied and utilized when applying for multiple jobs.

Update Resume

Interns should update their resumes before completing the internship.  If possible, solicit feedback from a supervisor or human resources contact; this could make the difference between a good and a great resume.

Supervision & Evaluation

Interns work closely with QB3-Berkeley faculty and staff. Practical training at the company site generally consists of direct supervision by a trained technician and/or senior Ph.D.-level scientist. Interns are evaluated by the program staff and company supervisors.

Interns give a poster or PowerPoint presentation near the end of their internship, which is evaluated by their company supervisor. Interns must also complete QB3-Berkeley Assignment I: Summary of Internship Goals and an Intern Evaluation Report.

Responsibilities of the Company Supervisor

The company supervisor has direct responsibility for training and evaluating interns. The supervisor creates internship descriptions and training plans, and may assign mentors to oversee and train interns. The supervisor defines specific duties and assignment responsibilities, including research project and presentation goals.  Supervisors also provide an overview of the company's operations, creates professional networking opportunities, and encourages informational interviews. 

Evaluation by Company Supervisor

Each supervisor submits QB3-Berkeley presentation and intern evaluation forms to QB3-Berkeley. Supervisors also conduct exit interviews to provide feedback regarding the end-of-program presentation, discuss the interns strengths, suggest areas for growth, and may offer academic and/or career advice.

Responsibilities of the QB3-Berkeley Program Manager

The QB3-Berkeley program manager works in partnership with the company and oversees administrative details, including recruitment, application, hiring, and evaluation procedures. The manager customizes the program to fit the needs of the company and is available to assist coordination of recruitment events, end-of-program poster sessions, evaluation activities, tours, and seminars. The program manager works directly with interns and provides additional opportunities to enhance the internship experience. 

The QB3-Berkeley program manager serves as a liaison between companies and UC campus communities, helping to raise company profiles through promotion at events, career fairs, symposium, publications, and on websites.


Q: Whom can I contact with questions?

A: Please contact Program Coordinator J'Maica Thomas, 510-666-3383, jmaica@berkeley.edu

Q: Will I get academic credit for my internship?

A: Academic credit is not available.

Q: If I decide to apply to companies through the QB3-Berkeley Undergraduate Biotech Internship program, does that mean I should refrain from sending my resume to the company directly (via their website or a recruiter)?

A: The choice is entirely up to you. The QB3-Berkeley selection committee will receive application packets, conduct a thorough review/interview process, and  forward the top application packets to companies. The company will then conduct interviews and make the final hiring decision.

Q: May I participate in this program if I am a senior?

A: Unfortunately, seniors are not eligible to participate in this program. Exceptions are considered on a case-by-case basis.

Q: Will my company supervisor write a letter of recommendation?

A: At the end of the program, consider asking your supervisor if you can list him or her as a reference for future employment opportunities. You might also ask for a general letter of recommendation. This letter should be on company letterhead and addressed to "To Whom It May Concern. " The letter can be photocopied and utilized when applying to multiple jobs.

Q: What if I encounter a problem during my internship?

A: Interns are required to report any internship issues or difficulties to the QB3-Berkeley program manager, company supervisor, or human resources representative. The company supervisor will discuss an unsatisfactory situation with the intern and notify the QB3-Berkeley Program Manager. Grounds for immediate dismissal from the program include failure to fulfill responsibilities due to tardiness, absence, or other forms of undependability or incompetence.

Q: I'm a transfer student. Am I eligible?

A: Transfer students must put in one semester of coursework at UC Berkeley before applying to the program. Students are eligible to apply during their first registered semester. Transfer transcripts should be mailed to the program office, 574 Stanley Hall, #3220, Attn: QB3-Berkeley Undergraduate Biotech Internship Program.

Q: Can foreign undergraduate students with F-1 or J-1 visas apply to the program?

A: Most companies will accept undergraduate foreign students with F-1or J-1 visas.  However, UC Berkeley undergraduates are required to retain a work permit from the UCB Services for International Students and Scholars (SISS) office prior to starting an internship with a local biotech company. We highly recommend that you contact the SISS office before you apply to the program. Your internship is considered "off campus employment." Contact SISS with questions at siss@berkeley.edu or visit their website at  http://internationaloffice.berkeley.edu/.  The SISS office is located at 2299 Piedmont Avenue (at International House), UC Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94720-2321, (510) 642-2818, (510) 643-7289 (fax).

Q: If I apply to the QB3-Berkeley program, am I guaranteed a position at the company?

A: No, you are not guaranteed a position at the company.

Q: What is the UC Berkeley Nondiscrimination Statement?

A: The University of California, in accordance with applicable federal and state law and University policy, prohibits discrimination, including harassment, on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, physical or mental disability, medical condition (cancer-related or genetic characteristics), ancestry, marital status, age, sexual orientation, citizenship, or status as a covered veteran (special disabled veteran, Vietnam-era veteran or any other veteran who served on active duty during a war or in a campaign or expedition for which a campaign badge has been authorized). This nondiscrimination policy covers admission, access, and treatment in University programs and activities. Inquiries may be directed as follows: Sex discrimination and sexual harassment: Nancy Chu, Title IX Compliance Officer, (510) 643-7985; disability discrimination and access: Ward Newmeyer, A.D.A./504 Compliance Officer, (510) 643-5116 (voice or TTY/TDD); age discrimination: Alan T. Koling, Age DiscriminAtion Act Coordinator, (510) 642-8471. Other inquiries may be directed to the Academic Compliance Office, 200 California Hall #1500, (510) 642-2795.


• November 24, 2014 - Online application site opens

March 2, 2015 - Apply online by 5 p.m.

• March 5, 2015 - Letters of Recommendation due


A pdf guide to a successful internship.

A pdf guide to successful interviewing.


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