Field Experience and Internships

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. Two important experiential learning opportunities are internships and field experience. Many employers say that field experience, previous work, or 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. Depending on your ESPM track, you will be required to complete at least one field experience and/or internship in order to graduate.

Obtaining Credit for Your Internship Experience: ESPM 4096

How to Arrange Credit for Your Internship

  • Consult a class schedule for the semester you wish to register and determine who the instructor is for ESPM 4096. You will need the instructor to approve your internship as well as issue you a permission number to register.
  • Send him/her an email and request a permission number. The instructor will respond with directions on how to complete the Internship Learning Agreement on GoldPASS:

If you have not previously used GoldPASS, follow the prompts to create your account:

  • Select "Complete Internship Agreement" on the left side of your GoldPASS homepage.
  • Once you have submitted your learning agreement on GoldPASS, it will be automatically sent to the ESPM 4096 instructor for approval. This may take several days because it requires feedback from your internship supervisor. Once approved, you will be issued a permission number via email. If you do not receive the number within a week, email the instructor and ask if the approval has been granted.
  • Register for ESPM 4096. If you cannot complete the internship learning agreement before the first day of class, you can attend class and talk with the instructor for your section, and register after the first class. The class has open enrollment; it will not fill up.

Quality standards for internships

As you consider internship options, be sure they meet these standards to ensure your internship is approved by the instructor and is a positive experience for you.

  • 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.
  • Ten or more hours worked/week is ideal to get a full experience.
  • 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.

Maximize your internship experience

Get involved and get to know more people in the organization. Evaluate additional opportunities 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 a training meeting, special presentations or projects
  • Volunteer some of your own time to take on a special project or learn more about the agency/organization/institution 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.

Once you have landed an internship, you will need to read the Environmental Sciences, Policy and Management 4096 Internship Information (.pdf) before you start your internship in order to receive credit for ESPM 4096. This helps to ensure that your internship will be a meaningful learning experience and that any problems encountered can be addressed in a timely manner. 

For specific questions regarding internships, please contact:

Career Resources

The Career and Internship Services is a great resource for career exploration, finding internships, reviewing resumes and cover letters, and preparing for interviews. You can also register to receive new job postings to your e-mail account through the University's online job posting service, GoldPASS.

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 chose from that fulfill the ESPM major's field experience requirement. You could join the soil judging team, test your information-gathering skills using Geographic Information Systems (GIS), learn water sampling techniques, or attend field sessions at one of several research centers around the state.

The Cloquet Forestry Center is the site of the annual 3-week Summer Field Session. While a number of majors use the Center for field classes, ESPM students take the Forest Resource Program that covers forest ecology, resource assessment, and plant taxonomy. Most students complete the Cloquet Field Session the summer after their freshmen or sophomore year. In addition to Cloquet, there are also a number of field biology and ecology courses offered at the Itasca Biological Station during the summer months