The internship in Environmental Studies (ENST 397) is one of two means for ES minors to fulfill the requirements for applied learning in the field (the other being ENST 480 Senior Seminar). It can also offer an opportunity for ES majors to fulfill course requirements with applied learning in the field. Below is a brief introduction to internships and to specific requirements for doing an internship for academic credit as part of the ES Program.

Prerequisites for ENST 397 include: ENST 100 and either ENST 110 or 120, declared major or minor in Environmental Studies, junior or senior standing, and consent of the Environmental Studies Director.

What is an internship?

According to the National Society for Internships and Experiential Education (NSIEE), an internship is "any type of carefully planned and monitored work or service experience in which a student has intentional learning goals and reflects actively on what he/she is learning through the experience." In general, internships are conducted in an off-campus work setting.

What kinds of internships count toward the Environmental Studies degree requirements?

The multidisciplinary nature of Environmental Studies means that a vast array of opportunities for environment-related internships exist. ES internships may be found in: conservation and management, advocacy and activism, consulting, environmental economics, environmental education, environmental engineering, environmental law, environmental policy, toxicology and wildlife biology. Information on internship opportunities is available on the ES bulletin board, at the Career Center and on the Environmental Studies website.

What are the benefits of participating in an internship?

Internships provide students the opportunity to:

  • Integrate what they have learned in their various Environmental Studies classes in a real world situation
  • Gain practical work experience and assess aptitudes for a particular field
  • Gain experience in learning from a "real" environment
  • Learn how to deal with others in a team setting, an extremely important skill in the interdisciplinary field of Environmental Studies
  • Gain a broader view of the world, a better understanding of cultural differences
  • Gain a better understanding of the roles and functions of various organizations
  • Practice job search techniques
  • Explore interest in a specific career
  • Make professional contacts

What are the ES internship guidelines for academic credit (ENST 397)?

All internships for ES academic credit (ENST 397) must follow the internship guidelines established by the Career Center as well as those established by the Environmental Studies Program, as described below:

  • Meet with the ES Program Coordinator in order to identify the learning goals most relevant for the student's education and future career.
  • Spend at least 160 hours on internship assignments with on-site hours to be negotiated between the provider, student, and faculty supervisor. Keep a log of hours and submit periodically.
  • Complete an internship log of daily activities and personal reactions (Journal) to fully document the experience.
  • Establish periodic meetings with the ES Program Coordinator at the beginning of the term, and follow through with these meetings. Attend periodic roundtable meetings arranged for all ES interns and the ES Program Coordinator to share their experiences throughout the semester. 
  • Complete a minimum 3-page, single-spaced paper at the end of the internship period that summarizes and evaluates the experience, and reflects upon ways in which the work done might be improved or expanded.
  • Submit a portfolio of work completed at the end of the internship, if relevant.
  • Complete a follow-up internship evaluation form for the Career Center and/or faculty supervisor.

Interns may be also expected to attend an informal meeting once during the semester, to share their experiences with other Environmental Studies students and faculty. 

How should I begin my internship search?

Explore the ES website and the ES bulletin boards, talk with people in the Hart Career Center and explore the Career website, and contact the ES Program Coordinator, Dr. Laurine Brown,, 309-556-1067, to discuss options.