Overview

For an undergraduate, an internship is a great way to get involved in the field and learn more about possible career paths. Students who are interested can also earn up to 6 hours of upper division academic credit by enrolling in EBIO 3930. According to several sources, internships have many benefits that can jump-start your career; it's been found that internships are the number one and number two benefits seen in candidates' job applications. Plus, interns are more likely to be engaged in their studies and succeed in completing their degrees

EBIO majors often find internships with government agencies, non-profits, commercial research and consulting firms, or animal welfare organizations.  Many internships grant salaries to their hires, but some do not. Either way, elective course credit can be given for an appropriate internship, and unlike other for-credit classes, EBIO 3930 has no enrollment deadline (although tuition will be billed; see below). 

Students are expected to find their own internship placement, but EBIO's Internship Coordinator Dr. Harrison Carpenter can be contacted for advice and suggestions. You can help Dr. Carpenter by telling him about you and you interests in an email. Think of some answers to questions like these:

  • During what semester could I undertake an internship?
  • How many credit hours should I look for?
  • How many hours/week would I be available?
  • How willing/able am I to commute outside of the Boulder area?
  • What types of skills do I have that prepare me for an internship? (GIS, research methods, good writing ability, etc.)?
  • What would I like to learn in your internship?

To receive EBIO credit an internship experience, the position must relate to the study and/or practice of science. Be sure to set up an account with Career Service's Career Buffs to search available internships and receive emails when new internship positions open! A list of open internships can be found on this page, on the internship page at the biology advising website, on the EBIO Club's Facebook page, and on a board outside Dr. Carpenter's office (the EBIO Writing Lab, Ketchum 1B82). Feel free to come by, look at the postings and talk with Dr. Carpenter. 

Before applying, you'll first have to complete 9 credit hours of EBIO classes (or comparable classes from other science departments) with a GPA 2.50 or higher. The application for course credit, which should be completed in consultation with Dr. Carpenter, must be wholly completed and requires signatures from the employer and departmental representatives. Once your application is approved, you will be responsible for paying all associated tuition and fees for the credit hours you've requested. See the Bursar's Office website for more information.

Over the course of an internship, a student may be asked to submit periodic brief reports. In order to receive EBIO 3930 credit, a student is required to write a brief, academically formal paper at the end of the internship experience, in order to describe the work completed and its intellectual merits.

For the latest opportunites in Colorado (and elsewhere), see the broad lists of opportunities from CU's Biology Advising office, the National Science Foundation's Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program, Pathways to Science, the Student Conservation Association, and Plantae; the Rochester Institute of Technology and Cornell University produce regularly updated lists as well.

Here are the latest exciting openings:

Dartmouth University's Academic Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (ASURE)

Microbial Friends and Foes REU at Cornell University's Institute for Host-Microbe Interactions and Disease (CIHMID)

University of Minnesota's Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve Summer Internships​

Auburn University's Warm-Water Aquatic Ecology REU

REU at Indiana University's Center for Integrative Study of Animal Behavior

Fisheries Management Intern with Cook Inlet Aquaculture Association​ (Alaska)

Jackson Laboratories' Summer Student Program

If you're housed within the Boulder area, note that organizations along the Front Range frequently hire interns:

The Denver Zoo

The Denver Zoo is an 80-acre facility located within Denver’s City Park, and affiliated with the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums. It houses species from all over the world, including hoofed mammals, carnivorous mammals, primates, pachyderms, birds, reptiles, and fish. The zoo’s animal collection contains more than 4,000 specimens representing over 600 species. Within the areas of Animal Care and Animal Behavior, the zoo offers both paid and unpaid internships throughout the year.

National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON)

The NEON is a continental-scale ecological observation facility, sponsored by the National Science Foundation and operated by Battelle, that gathers and provides data on the impacts of climate change, land use change and invasive species on natural resources and biodiversity.  NEON is designed to collect high-quality, standardized data from 81 field sites (47 terrestrial and 34 aquatic) across the US Data collection methods are standardized across sites and include in situ instrument measurements, field sampling and airborne remote sensing. Field sites are strategically selected to represent different regions of vegetation, landforms, climate, and ecosystem performance. NEON data and resources are freely available to enable users to tackle scientific questions at scales not accessible to previous generations of ecologists.  The Battelle-NEON headquarters is in Boulder, and supports interns every Summer. 

Butterfly Pavilion

Founded in 1995, Butterfly Pavilion was created by the Rocky Mountain Butterfly Consortium as the first stand-alone non-profit invertebrate zoo in the nation. Home to literally thousands of butterflies, Butterfly Pavilion is a 30,000 square foot facility situated on an 11-acre campus provided by the City of Westminster. As a publicly supported facility, Butterfly Pavilion is primarily supported by admission fees, community support and by the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD). Their aim is to foster an appreciation of invertebrates while educating the public about the importance of conservation of threatened habitats in the tropics and around the world.

Greenwood Wildlife Rehabilitation Center

Greenwood Wildlife Rehabilitation Center is a nonprofit organization that is devoted to the rehabilitation and release of wildlife. Since opening in 1982, Greenwood has become the largest wildlife rehabilitation center of this kind in Colorado. Rehabilitating over 100 species of orphaned, injured and sick wildlife, Greenwood cares for between 2,000 and 3,000 animals every year. Internships provide hands-on experience teaching skills such as handling techniques, cleaning and sterilization procedures, habitat enrichment, diets, food preparation, and feeding methods, and treatment procedures.

Rocky Mountain Raptor Program

Since 1982, the Rocky Mountain Raptor Program (RMRP) has served the northern Colorado community through rescue, rehabilitation and release of injured birds of prey. Working with veterinary experts, specially trained volunteers provide all aspects of raptor care, ranging from compassionate medical care to constructing cages that serve as temporary homes for recovering birds. RMRP seeks to inspire the protection and appreciation of raptors and the spaces where they live through rehabilitation, education and research, admitting approximately 300 raptors each year.

Internship opportunities throughout the US (and the world!) can be found on websites maintained by:

American Zoo and Aquarium Association

Conservation Jobs Board

Environmental Careers Organization

Long-Term Ecological Research Network

NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Program

Ornithological Societies of North America

Society for Conservation Biology

Society for Ecological Restoration

US Fish & Wildlife Service

US Geological Survey

US National Park Service

Are You Looking for Interns?

If you're employed by a government entity, conservation group, research agency or employer, and are seeking undergraduate interns with preparation/experience in the biological sciences, please contact Harrison Carpenter at harrison.carpenter@colorado.edu.