Gain experience & clarify your goals

Experience provides you with insights that can lead to better decision-making down the road. Additionally, experience is highly valued by employers as it demonstrates your interests and skill development. Our team partners with you every step of the way to empower you as you take action towards your goals.

  • Internships

    Internships are perhaps the most talked about way to gain experience and skills in a professional setting before graduation. Being an intern also allows you to "test drive" an industry, job function, or company of interest with a short-term commitment. 

    Most UVA students have completed one or more internships before graduation, and students with internship experiene share that it makes the job search as a Fourth Year easier. 

    When you're ready to search for your first (or next) internship, review our internship search strategies and resources


    Local area internships or UVA-sponsored programs:

    Policy Internship Program

    Global Internships

    Internship Placement Program

    HackCville's Launch Academy


    Additional resources:

    More internship advice from the UVA Career Center

    How to master your summer internship

    How to end your internship right

  • Externships

    Externships are short-term job shadowing opportunities that allow you to gain insight into a career of interest. Most externships last one day to a week, providing you valuable exposure to a professional field without the longer committment of an internship.

    Each spring, our team partners with employers to offer a School of Engineering Extern Program. Through this program, employers invite students to shadow in their organizations for one or more days during Spring Break. We will share the application here when it becomes available in the spring semester.

    In addition, the UVA Career IDEAs Externship Program offers job shadowing opportunities during J-Term and the summer.

    You can also initiate your own job shadowing experience at any time of the year with a personal contact, alum, or employer. If you'd like support while developing an externship outreach strategy, schedule an advising appointment in Handshake.

  • Research

    Whether you are interested in graduate school or curious about a career in research, there are ample opportunities to get involved in undergraduate research at UVA and beyond. 

    On Grounds, UVA Engineering is committed to cross-disciplinary work. Faculty and graduate students pursue innovative research in the lab and welcome undergraduates to join their projects and teams.

    Where to begin?

    1.  Engineering School's research teams, labs, and facilities: Explore all of the amazing research being done in the Engineering School

    2. Undergraduate research at UVA Engineering: Search for faculty conducting research that aligns with your interests

    3. Contact faculty to let them know you're interested in their research and to see what opportunities they have available for the upcoming semester. Sample email wording here.

    4. UNLEASH: A UVA program to match undergraduate with UVA research opportunities

    5. USOAR: A UVA program to help 1st year, 2nd year, and transfer students get experience with research. Must be eligible for federal work study.

    6. The Spectra: UVA Engineering Undergraduate Research Magazine

    7. Office of Undergraduate Research Workshop Series


    You may also be interested in other research opportunities on Grounds, as well as regional and national research opportunities. Learn about research experiences beyond UVA Engineering, including Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU)

  • Other ways to gain experience

    Both UVA and the Charlottesville community offer ample opportunities to try something new. Experiment, hone your skills, and create stories to share with employers!

    • Create your own project by continuing a project you started in the classroom or lab, either independently or with a group. Employers tell us they love seeing both course projects and independent projects on your resume.
    • Join a student organization. The UVA Engineering Student Council has a page of engineering specific clubs and the CS Department maintains a list of CS related clubs.
    • Participate in UVA and regional Hackathons and other competitions (we share upcoming events in Handshake and through our weekly email).
    • Teach yourself a new skill set through free online training resources like (tackle topics in business, design, IT, marketing, web, data, and more).
    • Learn new skills and develop your ideas at HackCville.
    • Work part time on on Grounds (filter by "on-campus" in Handshake) or in the community.
    • Supplement your STEM education with a business certificate from UVA's McIntire Business Institute.
    • Volunteer through Madison House, a University club or organization, or a local organization whose mission you support.

"The career counselors have helped me to discover and take advantage of so many of the resources UVA has to offer. They've given me great advice on everything from networking with alumni, preparing for career fairs, practicing for interviews, and applying to jobs. Through their guidance my job application materials and soft skills necessary for a professional career have improved drastically."

Senthil Kannan, BS Mechanical Engineering, 2017