The externship is a short-term project (14 weeks) to be performed abroad (preferably) or somewhere in the Netherlands that is not TU/e. Only foreign students are allowed to do their externship at TU/e. It is concluded by a report and a presentation at TU/e.
Below you find information on aspects of an externship. Make sure you also check the pages in the Educational Guide of BME.
When do I need to start arranging my externship?
That depends somewhat on your chosen destination, as some countries with strict visa rules may require more preparation time than countries for which a visa is not required. A few months is generally fine. Bear in mind, however, that you are to have passed most of your courses before you can leave for your externship (not more than 10 ECs open).
How do I find a project?
Your mentor can help you. Have a meeting discussing what interests you (and what doesn’t). Do you have a preference for a certain topic, modality or disease? Do you have a preference for a country? Your mentor can give you some suggestions and, once you have studied those and indicated a preference, give you contact information for the institute of your choice. Please do not contact more than one person at a time. If you contact multiple and all accept you, a number of them have to be turned down and that may decrease the chances for future students.
You are, of course, free to search for other options yourself (via the internet or a fellow student or whatever). Do discuss with your mentor whether the institute and project are suitable.
The database of experience reports from students who completed their externship may be a source of inspiration. It may also provide information on what to arrange and how.
What do I need to arrange in advance?
Going abroad takes quite some preparation. The international office (International Office of ESA) can help you, though. Think of visa, insurance, money, travel, housing and paperwork. In some cases, agreements with the host institute and/or so-called Learning Agreements have to be arranged. Jacqueline Hartholt of the Department’s International Office (email@example.com) can help you with those.
Is there paperwork involved?
As with everything but a cup of coffee, you need to fill in a form to officially register your externship. You can find more about this in the Education Guide. Make sure you hand in this form well before the start of your externship.
The Department requires that you have passed most of your courses and allow only 10 ECs open. In some cases you have a valid reason that you do not meet this requirement yet, for instance when you plan to go on your externship after three quarters and you have to apply for your externship in the third quarter, when your grades for this quarter are not yet known. In such a case, the solution is to make a planning of when you will take/complete the remaining courses, discuss that with your mentor and have it signed. The planning should contain your name, student ID and the reason for requesting permission. Your overview should indicate which courses you have passed and which are still open. You can send the signed planning to the onderwijsbureau to make registration possible. Do try to have as many results in as possible, so, for the example given, wait until the exams of the second quarter are graded before you make a planning.
In which format should the report be?
Your report should adhere to the structure of a scientific report, which means we expect it to include the following elements: title, abstract, introduction, materials & methods, results, discussion, conclusions, references. If you want to learn more about what should be covered in each element, study this guide or any of many other writing guides for scientific reports available on the web. Should your supervisor have a preference for another format, this can be discussed.
The length of your report should be 6-8 pages, using the format of the IEEE Transactions on Medical Imaging journal. You can find the specifications here. Appendices are allowed, for instance for a mathematical derivation or a piece of code. In addition, appendices may be needed to include more extensive descriptions of methods. Your thesis should be written at a level that a fellow student would be able to understand it. Such a person may have a similar background to yours, but may not know about specific techniques, which you can explain in an appendix if it does not fit in the paper. As an example, you do not explain the basics of MR imaging, but you would have to explain of UTE or CEST imaging.
What are the elements I am judged on?
In a nutshell, we judge how well you can perform a true research project, regarding all aspects involved (except perhaps innovative elements as this is hard to achieve in such a short time). This includes independence, practical and experimental skills, critical analysis of the results, report, presentation.
How about my final presentation?
Externship presentations are generally given at the Group Meetings of the IMAG/e group. Once you are close to completing your project and your TU/e supervisor agrees it is likely you will finish in time, your presentation can be scheduled. Your supervisor can help with this. Your report is to be handed in at least a week before your presentation.
Your presentation is to last at most 15 minutes and it will be followed by discussion. Make sure your presentation is at a level that all researchers and fellow students can understand it. It should roughly cover the problem and goal, your methods, experiments and results, and discussion and conclusions. The presentation should be in English.
Please also read this document !