Department of Environmental Science and Policy

ESP Internship Program

Students learn best by doing. In addition to student research and field-based courses, students are required to complete an approved internship. The variety of internships reflect the varied interests of our students and career path opportunities, which include environmental consulting firms, policy research, state and federal government, natural resource agencies, private consultants, nongovernmental organizations, and environmental education. We take internships seriously--our syllabus for the course (ESP 400) is 11 pages long!

Internship Expectations

  • An internship will involve using and improving skills in your field of interest while also developing your project planning, problem-solving, and communication skills and your ability to think critically.
  • An internship will involve regular contact with members of the host organization; an important means to learning many new skills.  
  • An internship occurs in a professional setting, thus professional behavior is learned.

Internship Duration

  • An internship must be approved by ESP before a student can start an internship intended to satisfy ESP 400 (Internship Approval Form).
  • The internship commitment is a minimum of 120 hours. This translates into a 3-week experience working full-time at 40 hours per week. Many organizations will expect more hours--this is negotiated between you and the internship host.
  • ESP's internship program is designed to be flexible to meet the needs of the student and the host organization. Thus, many internships will be half time or flex time over a longer duration (e.g., an internship may be during a semester or the summer).

Student Requirements for the Internship/Practicum

A core requirement of the ESP curriculum is the internship/practicum requirement.

All ESP majors, with sophomore standing or higher, must complete the following requirements in the approximate order below:

  1. An internship must be approved by ESP before a student can start an internship intended to satisfy ESP 400 (Internship Approval Form).
  2. Discuss internship possibilities with your advisor and the ESP Internship Coordinator.
  3. Prepare a draft resume and a cover letter.
  4. Search for an internship by monitoring the ESP Listserve, the ESP Bulletin Board located outside of the ESP (106 Bailey Hall) in Bailey Hall, fellow ESP students, and by conducting your own research. 
  5. Once an internship is located, complete an ESP Internship Approval Form. A signed letter from the host organization outlining your job responsibilities must accompany this form.
  6. The ESP Internship Approval Form must be approved and signed by you, your advisor, and the ESP Internship Coordinator BEFORE you start your internship.
  7. Upon approval, register for ESP 400, Internship (this is a 3-credit, pass/fail course).
  8. Perform your internship.
  9. Maintain a written journal and photo library of your activities to assist you in preparing for your paper and public presentation.
  10. Provide your host with a copy of the ESP Internship Evaluation Form before completing the internship. To receive credit for your internship, this form must be returned to the DES Internship Coordinator.
  11. Complete and submit your ESP Internship Report, which highlights and discusses important elements of your internship.
  12. Prepare and present a brief public presentation on your internship to students, faculty, and guests during the ESP Internship Colloquium, which is a group presentation evening with other ESP majors presenting on their internships.
  13. For the fall semester, internship presentations generally are held in early October and in February for the spring semester.

At least two weeks prior to the scheduled colloquium date, you must submit your internship presentation title. The title should be brief and should capture the essence of your internship. For example, "Working as Fisheries Biologist Aide for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife," "An Exploration into the Field of Environmental Planning," or "Electronic Waste Management Policy Research."

Because this is a professional presentation, and students are encouraged to invite their hosts and professional colleagues, business attire for presenters is required.

For more information contact your ESP Adviser.