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Difference Between Fellowship and Internship

At every stage of the career, the aspiring applicants start worrying as to which course must be pursued in order to acquire good results and often get confused between fellowship and internship. The company publishes many such vacancies for both the fellowship program and internship program. Both the title appears to be the same, but in reality, both of them are completely different from each other. The terms fellowship and internship both have different meanings, different experiences, and a wide range of different benefits. It can be a little bit confusing when choosing the career option. So it is important that one must be aware of both terminologies.

Both the terms have many things in common, and that is the reason the term is used interchangeably. One can consider the terms as the two different sides of the coin. So it is better we can learn the changes between the terms and remove the misconceptions and doubts from our minds. Typically the term fellowship is considered merit-based funding that can be used for future purposes; the main focus is on professional development but not on the professional experience. While the internship is pursued to gain professional experience at the starting level of the career.

Reading the above-mentioned paragraph, it will be clear what is fellowship and what is an internship, but let’s have a deep and closer look at both terminologies.

What Actually is Fellowship and Internship According to the Work Experience?

Fellowship, as the name suggests, is a friendly association, especially with people who share the same interest. The main aim of the fellowship is to provide professional development or academic research experience. The goal is to build experience and knowledge in highly specialized areas. It is an opportunity that can be used to gain something that is truly exceptional. The program is not an entry-level position; instead, it is provided to graduate or post-graduate level students. The applicants interested in pursuing the fellowship have typically required the candidate to propose a particular project that must be completed during the fellowship period.

The term internship is considered as the period of work experience that is offered by the organization for a limited period of time. The goal of the internship is to provide a professional experience. The internship can be considered as the trial period in any of the companies. The program internship is designed to expose all the participants to the dynamics of working in the specific field that is used by real-world experience. The internship program is an entry-level position and can be provided to high school students. It can be considered as a temporary job that completely pays attention to the training. It can be pursued by the students to increase the practical base instead of by applying the theoretical knowledge of the classroom.

According to Salary and Stipend

When compared to fellowship and internship, all the fellows working in the company are more experienced and are supposed to design the schedule and other projects on their own. So the company provides them with a stipend, hourly pay, or a grant as compensation to the students.

Whereas while speaking about the internship program, the interns are provided with hourly wages as compensation because it is basically the training the students are receiving at an entry-level position.

The main point that can be kept in mind is that the fellowship is paid every time, but the internship can be paid or unpaid, depending upon the company.

In Terms of Qualification

The big difference between fellowship and internship is qualification. A clear viewed qualification difference can be seen when applying for the internship or fellowship.

A fellowship can be pursued by higher-level students who are pursuing post-graduate studies or Ph.D. The students may seek research fellowships. The program can be pursued by the students who want to further graduate their studies. The fellowship can engage the highly professional specialty. The fellowship may include the fields like healthcare, scientific research, or maybe government policy.

The internship is an entry-level position, and the minimum qualification can be high school. The internship program can also be pursued by the student who is seeking a master’s or Ph.D. program. The program is not specifically designed to facilitate a similar degree of experience. The internship is mostly pursued by applicants looking to lay down the foundation for a successful career.


The last point that can clear the difference between the two terminologies is the length of the course. Often both the internship and fellowship are pursued to gain valuable experience. Both the program has a start date and the end date. But the experience the student can gain in any of the programs is finite.

The fellowship is supposed to be of longer duration, maybe approximately one year. The fellowship can be of a shorter length duration which is up to three weeks. Most of the time, the fellowship is for the complete academic duration and can be pursued to gain development.

At the same time, the internship can be semester-based, that is, for the summer semester or spring. The internship can be of weeks and can last up to months. The internship is not considered a course that can run for more than one academic year.

Application Process

In order to work as an intern or a fellow, the applicant is required to undergo the selection process, and for both the terminology, the process is completely different.

It is quite difficult while applying for the fellowship program because the applicant is required to submit a resume, transcripts, recommendation letter, as well as samples of the projects done previously. Most of the students always worry because the projects completed can cause rejection from the program.

While working as an intern in the company, the person is required to submit some essential documents that include a resume and cover letter. The intern always does not worry because the selection process is not that must tensed.


In terms of benefits, the company intends to provide some amazing benefits to the students that can help them in the future. The student applying for a fellowship or internship is supposed to receive minimum or maximum benefits.

The fellowship provides the working experience in a specialized field, and the company usually does not offer any other benefits as other employees are offered. The other benefits one can receive the candidate will receive professionally promoted leadership opportunities and intensive training.

If the person is interested in working as an intern, then the applicant will receive enormous benefits that include paid time off, sick leaves, mental health and dental insurance, and a flexible working schedule. All the benefits received by the student will help them in future growth.


The major difference can be between the working environments. The student is supposed to work in different conditions while working as an intern or a fellow. The program can provide varying work experience and work environment.

The fellow is required to conduct the work in a designed team with other important fellow or professionals in a different kind of setting. The fellow is required to work in a regular office or laboratories along with the independent communities, studios, international offices, and other facilities.

The intern is required to work independently or under the minimum guidance of the mentors and professionals. The majority of the work is performed within the office or in laboratory settings.

Ending Up the Difference

As clearly stating what the basic difference between internship and fellowship is, one is not going to get confused between the two terms. And when it comes to both the program, it provides an opportunity for the applicants in order to gain experience and knowledge of the required field.

The main aim of the fellowship is to provide professional development or academic research experience. The goal of the internship is to provide a professional experience. The fellowship is paid, but the internship can be either paid or unpaid. Ending up the article, the fellowship is meant for high-level students, and the internship is specially designed for entry-level students.