I've heard of people taking a break for getting work experience or internships and jobs and so on ... is this the norm ?

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    Not especially common. But make sure you don't lose ground in skills and desirability for grad study if you do it. One year would be more common than longer, I think. It may vary by country, of course. But your profile implies you shouldn't have to worry about it for a while. Wait until it matters.
    – Buffy
    Oct 11, 2018 at 15:08
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    @Buffy "Not especially common" is going to be very field-dependent, and I'd say at least in the US in my field this has changed a lot recently from being "not common" to "very very common" - though in my field most people get that work/research experience in academic labs rather than internships/work in industry.
    – Bryan Krause
    Oct 11, 2018 at 16:34
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    It may not be common, but it's completely normal.
    – JeffE
    Oct 11, 2018 at 16:38

2 Answers 2


I can't say if it's the norm, but I don't expect that working for a year or two after undergrad would be frowned upon by graduate admissions committees. So long as your job is related to your field of study, you'll be augmenting your academic studies with real-world experience, which can indeed be valuable in preparation for a graduate curriculum.

Personally, I applied for grad school straight out of undergrad, but didn't find the funding I was hoping for, so I worked for a year and then tried again. I received more and better offers the second time around.

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    It was pretty striking watching this unfold in my graduate program (in the US). I came right out of undergrad as did many of my peers in the year I started; in subsequent years, almost everyone had some post-graduate experience, either as a lab tech, as part of a masters degrees, as a post-bacc program. The simple reason is that those people had much better research resumes than those who had only done undergraduate research.
    – Bryan Krause
    Oct 11, 2018 at 16:33

I think the answer depends upon the field. Personally, I've known many people who work for a few years as technicians or other jobs before they decide they want to go to graduate school in the life sciences. I've also known people who could not get into the programs they wanted to they worked in research labs to build up their skill set.

This post on UC-Berkeley's also demonstrates that people often take some time between undergrad and grad school.

Also, some programs such as MBAs either require or strongly prefer applicants to have professional experience outside. This US News article talks about work experience expectations for MBA programs.

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