Overview of Internship Requirements

An internship can be one of the most rewarding parts of your college career and one of your first steps in navigating the professional environmental world. In addition to providing an opportunity to learn new skills, apply classroom knowledge, make valuable contacts, and build your resume, you may learn about career possibilities you hadn’t previously considered. In our experience, the guided hand’s-on experience of completing an internship is one of the most important ways you can prepare for your future in the professional environmental world. 


All BS and BA Environmental Studies majors are required to complete an internship requirement to graduate. There are 2 parts of completing this requirement: 

  1. Part 1: Completing at least 80 hours of service working as an intern. Your internship can be paid or unpaid, and can be done with a public, non-profit, or private organization or business, as long as the service is related to or applicable to environmental issues; it may be called an internship or job. 

  1. Part 2: Passing ENVS 680, the Environmental Studies Internship course, which is a “mini-class” focused on professional development, which meets 4 times per semester. You are required to take this course for a minimum of 1 unit (up to 3 units of credit can be earned; each additional unit requires 80 hours of service). Please note that you cannot complete the internship requirement by just enrolling in the class (i.e., doing Part 2); you must also complete Part 1. 


Finding an internship

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 ENVS 680, to give yourself the best chance of finding an internship that’s a good fit.  


Tips for finding an internship: 

  • SF State requires all students and their internship organizations to be registered with ULink. Once you register you’ll have access to a list of internships with previously approved organizations – this is a great way to find internships. 

  • As an undergrad in the School of the Environment, you’ll receive a weekly digest of internships and job opportunities that faculty in our school hear about. This is a great way learn about potential internships. 

  • If you know you’re interested in working for a particular organization, check out that organization’s website for potential internships. If an organization is not advertising internships, you can ask that they consider taking you on as an intern. 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 are interning at a site that is currently not listed in the ULink Organization Directory, follow Road Map 2 (Slide #7) of the ULink & Site Placement Student User Guide. You get to the guide by going to icce.sfsu.edu àFor students à Student Community Placements àUlink User Guide. ULink placement guide: Student Site Placement and ULink Userguide. By following the steps laid out on Slide #7, you will learn: 1) how you can request a No LPSA form and their student consent form within ULink; 2) how they receive and sign their student consent forms via DocuSign, and 3) information they can provide to their organization as to how to become a University partner. When students submit a “student placement request for non-contracted site” in ULink, they will be completing a form which will ask them course information, organization information (point of contact) and tasks/responsibilities.


What to look for in an internship 

Your purpose in an internship is to gain some professional-level experience, network, and learn new skills. Pay close attention to the internship job description to make sure that working there will be a rewarding experience for both you and the organization.  

When you accept an internship, one of the first things you should do is meet with your supervisor to negotiate a work agreement with your supervisor. A completed work agreement is one of the assignments for ENVS 680. Use this meeting to get as clear a picture as possible of what you’ll be doing and to advocate for yourself. You should let your supervisor know you want to find out more about what the actual job is this organization would be like. We recommend that you mention specific skills that you’re interested in acquiring or improving; for example, skills such as: using GIS, writing grant proposals, event planning, digital media, getting acquainted with Salesforce, invasive species removal, teaching, etc. This lets your supervisor know that you’ll take the position seriously and helps ensure you gain key skills for the future job market (See attachment below).

ENVS 680 Internship Course 

  • Sample ENVS 680 syllabus (the key course assignments and expectation remain the same from semester to semester) 

  • To receive credit for the ENVS internship requirement, you are required to complete at least 80 hours of service PLUS ENVS 680, which meets 4 times per semester. You can do your service and the class in the same semester or you can do you service in the summer and take the class in the following fall. If you’re planning to do the service before taking ENVS 680, be sure to reach out to the internship instructor for that fall before you begin your internship to make sure you complete key assignments that must be done during the service itself. 

  • Your log and journal (see syllabus) 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. Reach out to the current instructor of ENVS 680 to get access to this form (See attachment below).