I'm doing a PhD in Applied Mechanics specifically my topic is about porous heterogeneous electroactive material. There are two main things in my work which is modeling and Numerical simulation.

I'm required to do an internship during my PhD and since my supervisor would like me to understand experiments done with such materials, he told me that I'll be having an internship where I don't do the experiments myself but rather I understand how they are done.

I'm wondering if whether this is normal or not. To do an internship where you would only understand the experiments without doing them by yourself.

His claim is that I won't have enough time to do them by myself.

I don't know more information about the internship. He will tell me more details later. My point is that I haven't heard about an internship where your job is to just understand and not do something yourself. I have a feeling that he's underestimating me ..

  • 1
    How does an answer help you? It sounds like good advice, actually.
    – Buffy
    Feb 10 at 13:08
  • 3
    I think this needs more information to be answered intelligently
    – Spark
    Feb 10 at 13:13
  • I edited my question
    – anon
    Feb 11 at 8:43
  • 1
    Your advisor knows the field better than we do. Your advisor knows you better than we do. So why do you think we (= random people on the internet) could give you better advice than your advisor? Feb 11 at 9:27
  • 1
    @user134613 well your advisor is right, you won't be able to make any meaningful contribution experimentally in that time. In fact, your advisor is doing a great job. I find it's great practice to send students for 2-4 weeks to visit a collaborator doing something very different. They can at least see how the work is done, talk to the right people, and better understand how it works. I cannot see why you think this will harm you? What better way to understand applications/properties of the materials you are studying theoretically than to get a chance to interact with those doing experiment?
    – R1NaNo
    Feb 12 at 21:04

1 Answer 1


I am coming from a system where there are no required Ph.D. internships, even though it is common for students to do internships in industry.

First, if you choose an advisor (or a program that will assign you an advisor) you express that you agree (by the act of choosing) that you will be mentored. Mentoring is based on a differential between the experience and knowledge between mentor and mentoree. So, prima facie, the advise of your advisor is assumed to be good and to be followed.

Secondly, the rationale of your advisor makes perfect sense to me. Evaluation of experiments is important and often quite time consuming. It is now very common in many areas of science to analyze data that was not gathered by the analyzer.

Thirdly, maybe the real problem is your fear of being under-estimated. Without further input, it would seem that this is the core problem.

  • Yes, it makes more sense to me now. And I agree that I have this fear especially that my background before the PhD was diverse, general and not specific or related even to my PhD. And I have received criticism or doubt of my abilities by my advisor who is rather in my opinion a more pessimistic person. So, I see now that what he suggested is good for me. And my fear is a combination of the type of belief in myself and the way my advisor perceive me.
    – anon
    Feb 13 at 6:06