Internships and Field Experience

An education is not just about sitting in class and listening to lectures. It's also about what you do outside of class in less structured learning environments- like student clubs, international opportunities and research projects- and completing internships and/or field experiences required for your ESPM major. Field experience is usually obtained in one of our many field courses (see “Hands-on Field Sessions” below). An internship is a longer-term experience that is typically not at the university. For example, you might obtain an internship with a local company over a summer. See the instructions linked below for more details.

As an ESPM student, you will be required to complete at least one field experience and/or internship to graduate. The specific requirements vary depending on which ESPM track you are in. See the Curriculum Requirements for your track and/or visit your academic advisor about them.

Many employers say that field experience, previous work, and internship experience has a significant impact on their hiring decisions. These opportunities show that you're able to take what you learned in class and apply it to real-world situations. 

Obtaining Credit for Your Internship Experience

Process Summary

    1. Secure an Internship or professional experience
    2. Determine which course to take- ESPM 4096 or CFANS 3096 - and when
    3. Obtain approval of your internship experience
    4. Register

    Process Details (read these VERY IMPORTANT instructions)

    Environmental Sciences, Policy and Management Internship Credit Information 

    Quality Standards 

    • The vast majority of the tasks you undertake should be relevant to your major.
    • The activities will afford the opportunity to learn new things.
    • A friend or family member cannot supervise the internship.
    • The internship site is not a place you have previously worked.
    • 120 hours is required (though many experiences are 400 or more hours).
    • You are supervised by someone who knows more about the field than you and can mentor and guide you in learning the tasks outlined in your learning agreement.

    Career Resources

    Career and Internship Services is a great resource for career exploration, finding internships, reviewing resumes and cover letters, and preparing for interviews (call 612-624-2710 or go here to schedule an appointment). Find internships and related info at career info for your majoralumni internship and volunteer contacts, and GoldPASS, the University's online job posting service where you can set up automatic email alerts for positions that meet your criteria.

    Maximize Your Internship Experience

    • Get to know people in the organization – learn about what they do and how their work is related to yours. Seek out opportunities in addition to those required, and go above and beyond to the best of your ability:
    • Ask to participate in or observe different interactions or events that you would like to know more about, such as training or staff meetings, and special presentations or projects.
    • Ask to learn more about the organization and industry to gain better insight for future employment.
    • Do small things well. For example, you may think it is just a menial photocopying task, but if you do it quickly, correctly and go the extra mile to make sure the materials look professional, your supervisor will notice that you are competent and efficient.

    Have Internship Course Questions?

    Please contact Nicolas A. Jelinski at jeli0026@umn.edu

    Hands-on Field Sessions

    What better way to bring classroom knowledge to life than gaining hands-on field experience in the great outdoors? There are a wide range of courses to choose from that fulfill the ESPM major's field experience requirement.  Course topics include soil judging, GIS skills, park and protected area management, water sampling and the 4-credit Cloquet Forestry Field Session (identifying forest plants, forest ecology and measuring forest resources). Or, attend summer field biology and ecology courses offered at the Itasca Biological Station or at one of several research centers around the state.