The Geography Department’s undergraduate internship is a for-credit, academic program. Students earn 3 credits towards a major or minor in Geography through the program. Credits can be applied towards any one of the Geography Department’s undergraduate “tracks” or concentrations with faculty approval.
All students interested in the program are required to complete 144 hours of work during a semester, typically performing 8-10 hours per week over a 15-week semester. To receive academic credit, students must enroll in GEOG 3930. Students can only enroll in this class with Department approval. Some internships fill quickly—students are encouraged to contact potential internship sites well in advance of add/drop deadlines. Students may do up to two 3-credit internships, but only one (3 credit-hours) will count towards their major. Intern positions are unpaid – students cannot accept compensation.
Identifying an Internship Host
If you are interested in doing an internship for credit, follow these steps. Note that a lot of this work must be done well in advance of the start of the semester when you want to receive credit for the internship.
- Prepare a resume highlighting the academic skills that you would like to develop through the internship. Skills include relevant coursework, technical proficiencies (e.g. “fluent in Spanish,” “experience with qualitative methods,” “proficient in Arc,” etc.), intellectual interests (e.g. “GIS track major), and previous work experience.
- Make your own goals for what you'd like to accomplish with an internship. What field do you want to work in? What skills would you like to develop?
- Research and identify potential hosts. The Geography Department maintains a list of previous intern hosts that you may wish to consult (Potential Internship Sites). Hosts will also post requests to the Department. You can also pursue your own host. Hosts can include non-profit organizations, private businesses, and local, state, and federal government.
- Submit your resume to potential host(s) with a cover letter highlighting your interests and describing that you will be doing this for credit. Be aware that some organizations will want to call you something other than an “intern” in accordance with their own internal rules. For instance, you might be considered a “volunteer” by the host. That is OK so long as you can meet the academic expectations set forth by the Geography Department.
- Once you identify a host and agree on an internship, complete Internship Agreement form with your host, sign it, and submit it to the Geography Department for approval.
- When the agreement is approved, you will be granted permission to enroll in GEOG 3930.
GEOG 3930 Course requirements and credit
To receive credit for the internship, you must enroll in GEOG 3930 and fulfill the following on-campus requirements. Specific dates for each requirement will be distributed at the beginning of each semester by Heide Bruckner, the Geography Department internship coordinator.
Internship Evaluation Criteria
The student's grade in the course is based primarily on the host’s evaluation of the student's performance and activities. The Geography internship coordinator also considers the oral presentation, written summary, and meeting attendance when assigning the final grade.
The final grade in the Geography Internship course will be jointly determined by the Internship Supervisor and by the Geography internship coordinator. The Internship Supervisor’s evaluation will count for 60% of your final grade. The remaining 40% will be based on the quality of students’ written and oral presentation summarizing the Internship experience, as well as attendance at the required course meetings and assignments for GEOG 3930.
The written summary, due in the final week of the semester, should be approximately 1500 words in length and should include the following:
- Introduction: Provide an overview of what you hoped to gain from an internship, and why you selected your particular internship site.
- The Job: Describe a typical workday at your internship site and what your primary tasks and responsibilities were. It is recommended that you select a day and keep an actual log of what you do, who you talk to, what you talk about, etc.
- The Product/Outcome: What did you accomplish or learn? Include examples of your work (or descriptions of your accomplishments).
- Conclusion: What did you learn from the Internship? How did the work experience contribute to your understanding of Geographic principles? Which classes in Geography did the internship relate to, and does it leave you more or less critical of what you learned in the classroom? How do you think your internship will relate to your future professional goals and interests?
In the final week of the semester, each Intern will make a ten-minute presentation on her/his Internship experience. The presentation will be organized along the same lines as the written summary. Visual aids illustrating the job and the product are encouraged.
For more information or help securing an internship site, feel free to contact the Geography department at 303-492-2631, stop by the office (GUGG 110) or contact the Geography internship coordinator, Heide Bruckner.