An 3rd year undergraduate computer science student is doing several months full time internship at a research lab in the university. What is an usual budget for such a student per month?

2 Answers 2


I am an Indian student as well. The only time I have seen undergrad research students being paid is through fellowships/scholarships.

For example, the Indian Academy of Sciences Summer Research Fellowship Program pays research interns of about INR 8000 - 12,500 for 2 months (the last time I checked).

Some institutions hold their own summer research programs every year, which also provide a stipend such as IIT Kanpur's SURGE, which provides a stipend of INR 12,500 for 8 weeks.

Some of the foreign summer internships like Caltech SURF, MITACS Globalink Research Internship, DAAD-WISE pay much better.

But if you are conducting research with a professor directly, i.e. not through a scholarship or a fellowship, it's not common to get paid. This is especially true if you are working as an undergraduate researcher at your own university.

Even in the rare situation that you had the opportunity to get a stipend, it should have been discussed upfront before the internship began.

As shk92 says in his answer, it is considered that the biggest gain for a student is valuable research experience.

So, should you ask your advisor if you can get paid for your internship now?

Here's my suggestion:

  • How would your professor take it if you made the request? Is it possible he might get angry and think you are being entitled? Will it possibly affect your internship in the future? If you think he is understanding and would consider it, then go through with the next steps. If not, do not bring it up.
  • Make sure you have made sizable contributions to the project so far.
  • Ask your professor if you can get a stipend, highlighting the work you have done so far and future contributions you plan to make. Make sure you do not come off as arrogant.
  • Be prepared for a 'No'.
  • Thank you! When you say that Caltech SURF, MITACS Globalink Research Internship, DAAD-WISE pay much better, how much it can be? Two-three times more ?
    – student
    Mar 19, 2021 at 12:32
  • 1
    @student: This is a well thought, good written answer. Can you please have a look by yourself? The link has been provided, I repeat it here for your convenience www2.daad.de/deutschland/stipendium/datenbank/en/…
    – EarlGrey
    Mar 19, 2021 at 13:15
  • @student yeah the stipend can go to lakhs for 2-3 months. But unfortunately, the application period for them is over for this year and I believe they take in only 3rd year undergrads.
    – justauser
    Mar 20, 2021 at 9:07
  • Thank you very much.
    – student
    Mar 20, 2021 at 9:47

Based on my experience in the US, undergraduates working in a university research lab are not paid anything. There are exceptions of course, but they are quite rare.

I'm not sure if "PI" is a common term in India. Just clarifying here that "PI" means Principal Investigator i.e. the person in charge of the lab and its research output and is also the one responsible for obtaining funds for it.

When it comes to undergraduate research, there is a quid pro quo. The PI helps the student gain valuable research experience and the student in turn helps the PI complete a few small projects or helps another graduate student with theirs. And in most cases, the student is the one that benefits the most as they are nowhere close to the level of competence required to complete a project on their own with minimal supervision from the PI.

So to answer your question "What is the budget for such a student?"

Most likely zero. You are paid with research experience. You might think it sucks and is unfair but that is a discussion for another day.

If you want to get paid, you need to go in with a strategy. You can't just go to the PI and say "I am expecting to get paid for my work." You need to have a few key points where you clarify the value you are bringing to their group and that it would benefit them from having you around. If they can let you go instead of paying you and have zero effect on their output, they're going to let you go as soon as you insist on getting paid.

  • 5
    I would note that practices for paying undergrads for research vary widely, even among US institutions. I have no idea what is customary in India, but I would hesitate to make assumptions based only on my experiences in the US.
    – cag51
    Mar 18, 2021 at 20:58
  • Thank you for the answer!
    – student
    Mar 19, 2021 at 12:33

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