Frequently Asked Questions for Prospective Interns

What is the Internship Challenge?

The Internship Challenge is a workforce development program focused on enhancing the talent pipeline for Massachusetts companies engaged in the life sciences. The Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC) facilitates the placement of students and recent graduates who are considering career opportunities in the life sciences in paid internships across the state throughout the year. Consistent with the MLSC’s role as a catalyst in growing the talent needed by the life sciences industry, the Internship Challenge is designed to create hundreds of new internship opportunities each year by enabling small businesses to hire paid interns. The MLSC reimburses eligible companies for intern stipends.

What are the program’s objectives?

The program seeks to build a robust and diverse workforce pipeline for the state’s life science industry by:

  • creating new paid internship opportunities that may not have otherwise existed by enabling small companies to host interns;
  • providing college students with hands-on real-world experience and direct exposure to the Massachusetts life sciences ecosystem;
  • helping students build a professional network in the life sciences industry and gain relevant work experience needed to enter the workforce;
  • connecting companies with diverse talent and incentivize them to hire underrepresented/underserved students;
  • supporting the growth of smaller life sciences companies by providing/subsidizing human capital and allowing them to “test-drive” future employees; and
  • encouraging careers in life sciences and help retain talent in Massachusetts.

How does the program work?

Students or recent graduates that are looking for an internship in the life sciences industry will need to first complete an online application, which includes their resume and a cover letter.

Applications are accepted year‐round but will expire after six months if not updated. Representatives from companies looking to host interns submit an online application, and once approved, are given access to a searchable database of applications. They review applications, interview candidates, and select interns with the qualifications that are most suited to their needs. Internships can be part or full time and can take place throughout the Program Year, which runs from May 1st through April 30th.

The MLSC will reimburse eligible companies for pay rates of up to $17 per hour for a total reimbursement of no more than $8,160 per intern at the conclusion of the internship.

When will the program begin accepting applications and how do prospective interns apply? Is there a deadline?

The MLSC accepts applications through its website year‐round – there is no application deadline. Applications will only be accepted online, and must include a resume and cover letter (in PFD format).

Once submitted, applications are made available to companies reviewing candidates and will remain in our database for up to six months. Applicants have the ability to log in at any time to withdraw or update their application.

What are the eligibility requirements for prospective interns?

Prospective interns will be required to meet the following eligibility requirements:

  1. Must be Massachusetts residents (able to provide proof of residency), attend(ed) an accredited college or university located in Massachusetts (able to provide enrollment verification), OR attend(ed) an Historically Black College or University (HBCU); and
  2. Must meet one of the following:
    • 2-year/Community College/Certificate students must be enrolled in an
    • Associate’s Degree or Certificate program or completed one within the past year.
    • 4-year college or university students must have or will complete(d) at least their sophomore year the semester before the internship, or have graduated within the past year.
    • Graduate students must be enrolled in a Master’s Degree program or received their Master’s Degree within the past year. Ph.D. and M.D. candidates are not eligible.  

Please Note:

  • Interns cannot participate in more than one subsidized internship in the same Program Year.
  • Interns cannot participate in more than two subsidized internships (over two Program Years) with the same company.
  • Interns cannot be the spouse, child, grandchild, sibling, niece, nephew, or spouse of a child, grandchild, sibling, niece, or nephew of ANY employee of the company.

Will prospective interns know which companies are reviewing their applications?

The names of participating companies will not be posted. The program is designed so that companies review applications and contact applicants directly if they are interested in arranging an interview. Since interns will be placed on a rolling basis, it could take weeks or months to hear back from an interested company.

How many interns will be selected?

The MLSC anticipates supporting over 500 interns this Program Year (May 1 through April 30).

What paperwork is required once an intern is selected?

Interns will have to satisfy all paperwork requirements as requested by the employer (which can vary). Interns are not required to execute an Agreement with the MLSC. However, all applicants are required to upload eligibility verification documentation as part of their application. This could be in the form of a Massachusetts college transcript, Massachusetts college ID, or Massachusetts photo ID (for non-Massachusetts students).

What does the MLSC expect of an intern during their internship?

The MLSC expects that interns maintain a professional demeanor throughout their internship and comply with all host company policies. It is also expected that interns complete all weeks of their internship as initially agreed upon with their host company. If an intern cannot fulfill his or her commitment to the internship, providing sufficient advanced notice to their supervisor is required. Companies reserve the right to terminate the internship at any time and for any reason.

What is the internship pay rate and how will interns be paid?

Interns will be hired and paid directly by their host company. The pay rate should be established and agreed to prior to accepting the internship offer. The MLSC will commit to reimburse companies for pay rates of up to $17 per hour for a total reimbursement of up to $8,160 per intern; however, companies reserve the right to pay interns more or less than this amount. Please note that beginning 5/1/22, interns must be paid at least $15 per hour (MA minimum wage as of 2023). Companies will also be expected to pay their interns on a schedule that was previously explained and agreed to by the intern.