Students in the Professional Science Master’s (PSM) programs at Grand Valley State University receive rigorous training in a scientific discipline while also developing business and professional skills which allow them to quickly integrate into the workplace and make immediate contributions. The PSM degree is a two-year graduate degree which emphasizes the development of technical as well as written and oral communication skills, effective teamwork, ethics, and professionalism. Graduates are prepared to fill a management need for technology-based companies, governmental agencies, and non-profit organizations.Grand Valley has five PSM programs: (1) Applied Statistics, (2) Biostatistics, (3) Cell and Molecular Biology, (4) Data Science and Analytics, and (5) Health Informatics and Bioinformatics. 

A key element of the program is the internship, where students spend ~440 hours working on a project (or multiple projects) under the guidance of an internship site mentor. In their first year students take graduate coursework in their discipline to prepare themselves for the technical aspects of their internships. Most internships are then initiated during the summer between the first and second year, and many continue into the second year of the program. During their internship students work on a project chosen by the internship site and are exposed to the professional workplace setting. By the end of the internship students are expected to work independently, make tangible contributions to their internship site, and know how to function effectively within the workplace. When the internship is completed students submit a written report to GVSU and give an oral presentation on their internship to their department. Internship mentors are asked to provide feedback through a short evaluation.

PSM Contact

Anirudh Chowdhary

PSM Programs Coordinator
Padnos College of Engineering and Computing
Telephone: (616) 331-6297
Email: [email protected]

Submit an Internship Opening

PSM Internship FAQ for Employers

What type of students need internships?

All students in the PSM programs require an internship experience. We currently have five different PSM programs:

  • Applied Statistics - students work statistical analysis projects.
  • Biostatistics – Biostatistics skills are appropriate for any projects that require statistical analysis, not just bio-related projects.
  • Cellular and Molecular Biology – Students in the CMB program (biotechnology) work on projects in research laboratories that involve skills in cell biology and molecular biology.
  • Data Science and Analytics – Students in the DSA program work with big and complex data sets in any discipline solving data intensive problems.
  • Health Informatics and Bioinformatics – Bioinformatics students generally analyze large data sets of biological information (such as genomic or proteomic data) while health informatics students primarily focus on clinical data. Health Informatics students are also interested in working with electronic medical record systems.

When do students begin their internship?

It takes full-time students two years to complete a PSM program. Students typically begin their internship experience in the summer between their first and second years, and the internship is generally completed by the end of the calendar year. Some students postpone the start of their internship until the fall semester (September) or the winter semester (January), so we are looking for opportunities at any point within the calendar year.

What is the typical timeline for internships?

Students typically begin their internship search in January. During that month GVSU will solicit project descriptions from potential internship sites and make them available to the students. Interviews, which can be facilitated by the PSM coordinator, typically take place in February and March, and decisions are made in March and April. Students will then be ready to start their internship in May or another agreed upon month. Internships can be as short as 10-11 weeks and as long as a year, depending on the number of hours worked each week, the needs of the internship site, the desires of the student, and any parameters that were agreed to at the start of the internship.

How long is the internship experience?

Students are required to complete at least 440 hours of internship. The internship experience can be completed on a single project or spread out over multiple projects. It can also occur at a single site or be split between two or three sites. We are interested in partnering with employers who offer excellent internship experiences even if they aren’t 440 hours long!

Can students be required to spend more than 440 hours working on their internship?

As long as the expectations are made clear at the start, it is acceptable for internships to last longer than the required 440 hours. In some cases, the opportunity is so beneficial to the student that s/he is willing to continue working past the required number of hours. In other cases, the internship only works for the provider if they can ensure the student is present for a longer period of time. The internship should always be paid if the student is required to work extra hours.

Are students paid for their internship work?

Students are not always paid for their internship work, although it is our preference that they are paid. Students generally accept unpaid internships in the following situations: (1) when the internship experience is especially strong, (2) when the norm within the discipline is to provide unpaid internships, and (3) when the student is unable to secure a paid internship. In general, students gravitate toward paid internships. The federal government has also started to scrutinize the prevalence of unpaid internships at for-profit private sector employers.

PSM Internship Requirements and Expectations

What are students expected to receive from their internship experience?

There are two primary goals for the internship experience. The first goal is to provide students with practical experience in their discipline. Spending time in a workplace setting allows students to apply their academic knowledge and see its real world relevance. The second goal is to expose students to the business and professional side of the workplace. The ultimate goal of PSM programs world-wide is to create the next generation of science business leaders, so it is essential that they learn both the science and the professional aspects of business.

What are the responsibilities of the internship providers?

Internship sites are expected to provide an experience where students perform meaningful work within their discipline. Interns should have an opportunity to develop their technical skills, preferably under the mentorship of someone at the internship site. GVSU faculty can serve as technical mentors in situations where one is not available on site. 

Interns should also have an opportunity to develop their professional skills – teamwork, communication, leadership, ethics, etc. – under the mentorship of someone at the internship site. At the end of the internship experience an evaluation form will be sent to the primary mentor so that feedback can be provided to the PSM coordinator.

What are the responsibilities of the intern?

The intern is required to work a minimum of 440 hours at their internship site. More hours may be required if agreed to ahead of time. Interns are expected to show up on time, submit work in a timely fashion, ask for help and advice when needed, and just generally act in a professional manner. Communication is particularly stressed as part of the internship, so interns are expected to communicate regularly and in a professional manner. There may also be specific responsibilities agreed to by the intern and his/her mentor. 

Who do I contact if I have questions or if problems arise during the internship?

The primary contact for internships is the PSM programs coordinator, Anirudh Chowdhary ([email protected]; (616) 331-6297).  If there are any questions about the internship, if the student displays unprofessional behavior, if the student does not have adequate technical skills for the internship, or if any other issues arise, please contact the PSM Coordinator. 

Program directors serve as secondary contacts for internships:

  • Applied Statistics and Biostatistics – Dr. Bob Downer ([email protected]; (616) 331-3355)
  • Cell and Molecular Biology – Dr. Mark Staves ([email protected]; (616) 331-2470)
  • Data Science and Analytics – Dr. Paul Leidig ([email protected]; (616) 331-2030)
  • Health Informatics and Bioinformatics – Dr. Guenter Tusch ([email protected]; (616) 331-2046)


What is required to receive credit for an internship?

Students must do three things to receive credit for their internship:

  1. Complete at least 440 hours of internship work.
  2. Give an oral presentation on their internship. This presentation could be a formal talk or a poster and is usually organized by the program director. Students are asked to have their presentations approved by their internship mentor ahead of time so that it meets the mentor’s expectations and so that any proprietary information is removed.
  3. Submit a written internship report. This report is sent to the PSM programs coordinator (Anirudh Chowdhary) and their program director. Students are asked to have their presentations approved by their internship mentor ahead of time so that it meets the mentor’s expectations and so that any proprietary information is removed.


Please contact Anirudh Chowdhary ([email protected]; (616) 331-6297) with any questions regarding the PSM internship requirement.

PSM Program Details

Additional information about Grand Valley’s PSM programs can be found for:

Organizations interested in hosting GVSU Professional Science Master’s students can contact any of the following for more information:

  • Anirudh Chowdhary, PSM Programs Coordinator, (616) 331-6297, [email protected]
  • Dr. Bob Downer, Applied Statistics and Biostatistics Program Director, (616) 331-2247, [email protected]
  • Dr. Mark Staves, Cell and Molecular Biology Program Director, (616) 331-2473, [email protected]
  • Dr. Paul Leidig, Data Science and Analytics Program Director, (616) 331-2030, [email protected]
  • Dr. Guenter Tusch, Health Informatics and Bioinformatics Program Director, (616) 331-2046, [email protected]

Page last modified July 11, 2024