I am a Computer Science Masters student at University of Washington and I am planning to apply to PhD programs in the US.

I started my Masters in September of 2015 and am going to complete it this December.

Since I came from Electrical Engineering background, I had to spend a significant portion of the past year learning the ropes(various kinds of algorithms etc) and in the process also got very interested in research.

I also worked under a professor on a project that received a small NSF grant.

The problem is I don't have any paper publications or internships. I didn't have an internship as I found it hard to crack the coding interviews since I wasn't very skilled in programming back then. Since then I have improved significantly.

And I will also be participating in another research project starting September 1st.

Extending my Masters course is really not an option since the tuition is exorbitant. So I can't take another year and do research.

Will the PhD admissions committee hold it against me that I don't have any publications or internship experience? If so how do I make a good impression on them so that they consider me for admission?

  • 1
    Related (duplicate?): academia.stackexchange.com/q/11825/19607
    – Kimball
    Aug 3, 2016 at 15:06
  • I agree it seems like a duplicate...but I would like to know what PhD admission committees think about applicants that don't have an internship under their belt..... Aug 3, 2016 at 15:09
  • 1
    I'm not in CS, but it might depend on the field (I'm sure having an internship isn't expected for theoretical cs, say). Do any of the program websites you're looking at say they expect or give weight to internships?
    – Kimball
    Aug 3, 2016 at 15:13
  • @Kimball no but it is pretty normal for computer science students to intern while doing their Masters right? So it could be an implicit expectation on the admission committee's part.... Aug 3, 2016 at 15:14
  • 1
    Isn't the no internships problem something you can still fix?
    – user9482
    Aug 3, 2016 at 15:16

1 Answer 1


In the UK an internship is not necessary. In general, an internship is just one way to prove yourself, a paper is another, but good letters of reference can compensate for these. Generally it's good to have a good mix of skills in your lab. Don't be defensive about it; just talk about your assets.

On the other hand, if you don't get the PhD offer you want, you might find a research position (or a job) and get some additional research experience that way. There's always next year for applications.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .