Internships

Overview of ENVS Internships

An internship can be one of the most rewarding parts of your college career.  Your internship may be your first step in navigating the professional world.  In addition to providing an opportunity to learn new skills, apply classroom knowledge, make valuable contacts and build your resume, your internship can open your eyes to career possibilities you hadn’t previously considered. 

All ENVS graduates are required to complete an internship, which consists of 80 hours of service plus a “mini-class” for one unit of credit (up to three units of credit may be earned; each additional unit requires 80 hours of service).  You may do the service portion of your internship during the summer and take the course the following fall.  If you’re planning to do this, speak to the internship instructor (currently Prof. Fieldman) before the end of the spring semester to find out about the academic work to be done while you’re doing your service. 

Finding an internship is students’ responsibility, but plenty of help is available.  Start looking well ahead of the semester in which you plan to complete your service and take the class, because there are lots of students seeking internships in the Bay Area and you’ll have the best chance to get the one you want if you apply early.  It’s a good idea to keep your resume up to date, so that it’s ready to go when you find an internship you want to apply for.  

Finding an Internship

SFSU requires all students and their internship organizations to be registered with ULink. 

  • The first thing you should do is register yourself at:  https://icce.sfsu.edu/ulink. Once you register, you will have access to the list of internships with previously approved organizations.  If you haven’t found an internship yet, begin searching at this site.
  • If you don’t find an internship at ULink, there are other places to look.  ENVS professors receive or hear about opportunities from the organizations with which we’re connected, and we post all of them to the Environmental Studies Jobs and Internships list-serv.  If you subscribe, you’ll get e-mails about these opportunities within 24 hours.
  • If you know that you’re interested in working for a particular organization, check that organization’s website, because that organization may not advertise its internships with us.  If the organization that you want to work with doesn’t indicate that it offers an internship, you might consider asking it to.  Some ENVS students have worked with an organization or business to create an appropriate internship—it might work for you!
  • Organizations that aren’t registered with ULink will have to go through the registration process.  If you do find an internship that you want outside of ULink, provide the organization’s name, address, supervisor’s name and contact information (e-mail and phone) to the professor who’s teaching ENVS 680. The professor will pass on the information to ULink so that the registration process can begin—the sooner this gets started, the better, so if you know that you’re going to be working with an organization that isn’t registered, pass on the information to the ENVS 680 professor right away.

What to Look for in an Internship

Unpaid internships are ways that organizations can get free help, sometimes with fairly menial tasks.  But as a student, your purpose is to get some professional-level experience, make contacts, and learn some new things.  Pay close attention to the internship job description to make sure that working there will be a rewarding experience for you as well as for the organization.  It’s understandable that you may be asked to do some low-level tasks, but make sure that those aren’t all that the internship consists of.

Work Agreement.  When you accept an internship one of the first things you’ll do is negotiate a work agreement with your supervisor.  A completed work agreement is one of the assignments for ENVS 680, the internship class.  Use this meeting to get as clear a picture as possible of what you’ll be doing, and to assert your own interests:  say that you want to find out what an actual job in this organization would be like.  Ask if you’ll be able to attend meetings that your supervisor goes to, to “shadow” employees as they go about their jobs, etc.  Mention specific skills that you’re interested in acquiring or improving: using GIS, writing grant proposals, getting acquainted with Salesforce. This lets your future supervisor know that you’ll take the position seriously! 

ENVS 680 Internship Course

  • ENVS 680 Syllabus
  • To receive credit for your internship, you need to complete 80 hours of service plus ENVS 680, which meets four times per semester.  You can do your service and the class in the same semester, or you can do your service in the summer and take the class in the fall
  • Your log and journal (described in the sample syllabus above) should be completed as you do your service, not later. 
  • At the end of your service, you should ask your supervisor to complete an evaluation form  (below) and e-mail it to the ENVS 680 instructor (currently Glenn Fieldman, glenn@sfsu.edu).