GSICE Info for Students and Postdocs

About the Internships and Experiential Learning class (GSICE)

Click here to view the 2020 GSICE Course Syllabus

The Internships and Experiential Learning course (formerly known as Graduate Student Internships for Career Exploration (GSICE)) is a program at UCSF that supports graduate students and postdocs in finding opportunities for experiential learning outside of academic research. The goal of the program is to support UCSF graduate students and postdocs in finding hands-on experience in appropriate career environments, in order to help them make informed decisions about which of the many career paths to pursue post graduation. The program consists of two main components: the Internships and Experiential Learning class, and ongoing support with finding and succeeding in an experiential learning experience after the class. 

Eligibility for the Program


  • All UCSF PhD students who have passed their qualifying exam are eligible for the Internships and Experiential Learning program. (*Note: The curriculum was originally developed for UCSF biomedical scientists. For this reason, content draws from the perspectives of researchers in the basic life sciences. However, we welcome and invite students and postdocs from other disciplines!)
  • Students must have passed their qualifying exams and must be in good academic standing.
  • Students must have written approval from both their Thesis Advisor and Graduate Program Director to do an internship.
  • Full-time internships typically last for a period of 3 months and typically occur during one academic quarter (during training or after graduation).
  • International students and scholars are welcome to be part of the class. However, it is very important that international students consult with an advisor in the International Students and Scholars Office to determine their specific situation with regards to pursing an internship.

How to apply to the program


Please find the instructions on how to apply here.


Preparing for Experiential Learning - The Class

The Internships and Experiential Learning class consists of six workshops. These workshops are built to prepare participants for the interview process, orient participants for their future experiential learning, and give participants career development skills that will also be useful for their eventual job searches post graduation. 

Please note: Graduate students accepted into the program will be required to register for Graduate Studies 285, GSICE Career and Professional Development Training. The course will be graded on a P/NP (Pass/Not Pass) or S/U (Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory) basis. A major component for passing the course is attendance.

Please note that the 2022 program will be held virtually. Course materials will be distributed online, and interactive sessions will be held on Zoom. If students are unable to attend the interactive course sessions due to illness, childcare, etc., they may participate asynchronously. 

The Course Series


  1. Finding an experiential opportunity
  2. Your professional brand
  3. Applying for experiential opportunities: Materials that highlight your best assets
  4. Interviewing for experiential opportunities
  5. Hit the ground running in your first 90 days: Establishing yourself as a professional in your new work environment
  6. Setting your goals and creating your success

Opportunities Mixer


Participants in the program have priority access to the spring Opportunities Mixer. This "speed networking" event is an opportunity for class participants to interact closely with representatives of various internship and experiential learning opportunities. The purpose of the event is to allow students an opportunity to easily engage in career exploration and grow their networks. 

 
Experiential Learning - Internships and More

The core of the program is the internship or experiential learning opportunity that participants identify and pursue during the class. The goal of this opportunity is to provide students and postdocs with hands-on experience outside of research academia.

Some class participants may choose to pursue full-time, three-month internships (with the permission and support of their P.I./advisor). Others may determine that a different type of experiential learning opportunity better fits their needs and circumstances, such as a one-month consulting workshop; a part-time job at UCSF; a leadership role in a student- or postdoc-run organization; a several-day job shadowing experience; or a part-time lectureship at a nearby university. Our program supports all of these options. As long as the opportunity fits within the student or postdoc's academic obligations, and provides hands-on experience that advances their career goals, the sky is the limit! 


Preparing for an Experiential Learning Opportunity

Students and postdocs who are considering pursuing experiential learning may wish to consult the below timeline.  

6-12 Months Before Your Internship or Experiential Learning Opportunity


3-6 Months Before Your Internship or Experiential Learning Opportunity


  • Take the Internships and Experiential Learning class to help you find an internship, and to prepare you to be successful in it!
  • Schedule a career counseling appointment to go over the documents you need to review, sign, and turn in before starting your internship.
  • Consider asking an OCPD staff member to look over any Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA), Confidentiality Agreement (CDA), or Non-Compete Agreement (NCA) that you are asked to sign, to protect your and UCSF’s rights and responsibilities.

During Your Internship or Experiential Learning Opportunity


  • Conscientiously dedicate your time, effort and energy to your opportunity.
  • For full-time internships:
    • Maintain health insurance. If the internship is performed during a quarter other than the summer quarter, purchase health insurance for the internship quarter when you are on a leave of absence.
    • Withhold all necessary funds for future tax payments to the state and federal governments as needed. Our program staff are not able to provide any tax advice. All tax questions must be directed to a certified tax preparation professional or the appropriate government agency. We strongly recommend seeking professional tax advice. Your internship income may incur a different tax burden than what you experience as a graduate student.
    • If you are on an official leave of absence during the summer quarter of your internship (and completed the forms correctly), you should still have access to the UCSF Gym and Student Health services.
  • Keep in touch with OCPD, and reach out if any questions or issues arise.

After Your Internship


  • Contact the Internships and Experiential Learning Program Director to let them know what you learned from your experience.
  • Share opportunities for future internships with your fellow graduate students and postdocs.
  • Keep in touch with the program by joining the GSICE LinkedIn group.

General Guidance for Full-Time Internships


Students or postdocs who do decide to complete a full-time formal internship must follow specific rules and procedures

  • The student must be and remain in good standing with their graduate program.
  • The student may not defer graduation solely for the purpose of undertaking or accommodating an internship.
  • The student must perform all required preparatory work and attend all required training before going on their internship.
  • The student must conscientiously dedicate time, effort and energy to their internship.
  • Internship sites often ask students to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA), Confidentiality Agreement (CDA), or Non-Compete Agreement (NCA). The GSICE staff is available to give GSICE students feedback on these documents before they sign them. Often adjustments need to be made to these documents to protect the student’s and UCSF’s rights and responsibilities. Please book an appointment to review these documents before accepting the internship. If the student has not participated in the GSICE program, we may be able to offer limited guidance. Please schedule an appointment to discuss the situation.
  • It is the student’s responsibility to withhold all necessary funds for future tax payments to the state and federal governments as needed. The GSICE Program is not able to provide any tax advice. All tax questions must be directed to a certified tax preparation professional or the appropriate government agency. We strongly recommend seeking professional tax advice. The student’s internship income may incur a different tax burden than what they experience as a graduate student.


Questions?


Find the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for students here or find our contact info here.

Upcoming Events

Mon
15

OCPD Office Hours (for Graduate Students and Postdocs)

Date: April 15, 2024
Time: 4 - 5 p.m.
Tue
23

OCPD Office Hours (for Graduate Students and Postdocs)

Date: April 23, 2024
Time: 12 - 1 p.m.
Tue
30

Assess Yourself: How inclusive are you at work/in the lab?

Date: April 30, 2024
Time: 12 - 2 p.m.