The opportunity for a student to successfully complete an environmentally related internship is considered an integral part of the curriculum of Environmental Studies at UCSB. Since 1973 thousands of students have earned academic credit for internships through the Environmental Studies Internship Program (ESIP). The ESIP is one of the largest department run internship programs on campus and is fully supported by Environmental Studies faculty. The internship program is geared to help students obtain valuable professional experience in an environmental field of their choice. Both past Environmental Studies students and community professionals see internships as a vital bridge between academic course work and its practical applications.
Environmental Studies Internship Program (ENV S 192)
Students interested in pursuing an internship to receive academic credit should download and read the Environmental Studies Internship Program Handbook - Part 1
Students are also strongly encouraged to attend a general Environmental Studies Internship Program information session held within the first two weeks of each academic quarter (check with the Environmental Studies Academic Coordinator in Bren 4312B or the Academic Advisor in Bren 4313) for meeting times and dates). Both the Academic Coordinator and Advisor are available to meet with students individually to discuss the ESIP and answer any questions you may have about pursuing environmental internships.
By far the most common and often successful experiential opportunity available to any college undergrad is participating in an internship. An internship can be so important to getting a job that it is cited by many environmental studies alumni as "the most valuable aspect of their undergraduate experience," according to the Environmental Careers Organization (ECO). Often a professional internship can bridge the difficult transition between completion of an undergraduate education and the environmental job market.
Internships are a great mechanism for students to explore and apply their course work to real world situations. It also provides them an opportunity to see if a particular career or environmental industry is what they really want to pursue once graduated. The skills and experiences a student obtains prove invaluable in assisting them in securing a job after graduation or being accepted to graduate school. Most importantly, student interns gain valuable experience and prove to themselves and potential employers that they can survive in the professional workplace.
Both Environmental Studies and Hydrologic Sciences students consistently comment that their field and internship experiences enhance and complement their college education and that internships often lead to jobs after graduation. Combined with appropriate course work, internships provide a stepping stone to a number of careers in environmentally related fields. Internships can be hard work, but well worth it, as these comments from former interns demonstrate:
“...this internship was extremely enlightening and eye-opening. My attitude has changed and I can present myself in a much more professional manner. The internship experience is an opportunity no ES Major should pass up!” - intern with the SB County Dept. Resource Management
“Internships are extremely valuable because they let one know if it’s the right field for them or not. It stops the mistake of going into a career with blinders on.” - intern with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
1. Handshake - a lot of internships will be posted on Handshake, and quite a few are local. You can tailor your search based on specific keywords of environmental topics that you're most interested in getting experience working in. Handshake also provides a weekly round up of internships/job opportunities tailor-made for you!
2. ESMail - local internship opportunities are posted throughout the school year to ESMail. There's not a ton of these, but still worth checking out when they pop up!
3. UCSB hosts a lot of internships right on campus throughout Fall, Winter, and Spring that a lot of ES majors have participated in. Here's a list of them:
- CCBER (Cheadle Center for Biodiversity and Ecological Restoration- they do eco-restoration work in UCSB's North Campus, restoring an old golf course to a natural estuarine ecosystem + restore campus Lagoon)
- EHS - Environmental Health and Safety, they do more regulatory internships
- UCSB Sustainability - They host a broad range of internships on various projects, including their Carbon Neutrality Initiative, Global Food Initiative, Laboratory Research and Technical Staff, and PACES
- REEF - they are being stingier these days about internship credit, but a lot of students volunteer here. They work with aquatic organisms and students will run tours in their little aquarium.
- Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary - if you're interested in marine ecology
- Health & Wellness Intern - they do great work on food access/food security on campus
- Research opportunities with faculty outside environmental studies - you can get internship credit through ENV S 192 for faculty research, so long as it's with a faculty member not in the ES department if you're more interested in the Research route. You can look through the URAD database to search for faculty that are actively recruiting student researchers on their work.
4. The ELI website sometimes has some cool internship postings that you can search through. The page is updated often, so it's worth checking regularly.
5. You can go through the Local Organizations Page on our website and see if there are any organizations you are interested in, and email them to see if they have any internship opportunities open; even if they don’t, you can ask them to keep you in the loop should one become available.
The Environmental Studies Internship Program is open to sophomore, junior or senior ES and Hydrologic Sciences majors with at least a 2.75 GPA (a waiver petition is available for those students under 2.75). A large majority of the students majoring within Environmental Studies complete at least one internship, while many students go on to complete multiple internship opportunities before graduating. Students enrolled in the ESIP course (ENV S 192) receive upper-division credit for their internship. Interns must work under the direction of a ES faculty advisor as well as the Internship Coordinator. Non-Environmental Studies majors are also welcome to enroll in ENV S 192 if their home department does not offer internship credit (must complete the non-major waiver form).
Academic credit is awarded on a Pass/No Pass format. The units vary according to the number of internship hours fulfilled by the student. For every 30 hours completed during an internship, one unit is given. ES and Hydrologic Sciences majors receive up to a total of 12 upper-division College of Letters and Science units, of which no more than four may apply towards their major requirements. Hours for any one internship opportunity may be spread over one to three quarters, depending on the requirements of the agency and the time commitment by the student. ESIP runs year round and students can obtain and complete an internship at any time, including the summer.
In addition to the field work and hours completed by the student, interns must also satisfy five other requirements to receive a passing grade: write a weekly reflective journal, complete and turn in a mid-quarter question set, attend the mid-quarter seminar meeting, a final question set, and turn in the completed Intern and Agency final evaluation forms.
A syllabus is provided at the beginning of each academic quarter by the Internship Coordinator. It will list the times, dates, and rooms in which the mid-quarter and final seminar will be conducted as well as the due date for the required assignments. As UCSB follows the quarter system with an additional session in the summer, students who wish to receive academic credit for an internship must be enrolled in ENV S 192 by the end of the second week of the quarter.
Two internship orientation/information sessions are offered by the Internship Coordinator at the beginning of the first week and the end of the 9th week of each quarter. Students who wish to pursue an internship are encouraged to attend one of these meetings at least one quarter before they plan to begin an internship. Currently enrolled students who wish to continue their internship for the following quarter must obtain and complete a Continuation Proposal and return it to the Coordinator by the end of the second week of the next quarter.