Internship Requirements for FWCS Undergraduates
OVERVIEW OF INTERNSHIP REQUIREMENTS
Two internship courses are required to graduate: a 1-credit, 40-hour Exploratory Internship, and a 3-credit, 200+ hour Intensive Internship. These requirements prepare our undergraduates for their careers and are a unique part of our degree program. Many undergraduates report that their internship an invaluable part of their degree experience and career preparation. Check out the Student Stories webpage to learn how other students have thrived in their internships!
To understand the internship requirements and start preparing for your internships, please read in detail the content below. Then, review the downloadable FWCS Internships FAQ's, which should answer most common questions about internships, and has a section devoted to non-traditional students and internships.
EXPLORATORY INTERNSHIP (40+ hrs)
An exploratory internship involves a professional experience of at least 40 hours of learning time in a natural resource setting, generally off-campus. Students may fulfill this requirement by attending a multi-day professional conference, or by participating in 40-hours of work with a local organization or professional such as volunteering, job shadowing, or training.
Some examples of hands-on work students have done for their exploratory internship are: conducting research with OSU faculty and graduate students through programs like the FW Undergraduate Mentorship Program, URSA Engage, the CAS Beginning Undergraduate Research Support Program, or the University Legislative Scholars program. Other students may volunteer with a local conservation organization of interest, do ride-alongs with law enforcement, or assist a local biologist with field work.
For students who complete their exploratory internship by attending a multi-day conference, they may research and participate in the conference of their choosing, pending email approval by the FWCS Internship Coordinator. FWCS has strong ties to The Wildlife Society and The American Fisheries Society, both of which host annual conferences at the national level and at the state chapter level. The FWCS Department supports student attendance at the annual conferences of the Oregon Chapter of TWS and the Oregon Chapter of AFS, with dozens of undergraduates attending with their peers each year (more info here).
** Review the FWCS Conference Guide to learn about popular conferences in our field and their upcoming dates. **
INTENSIVE INTERNSHIP (200+ hrs)
An intensive internship helps you advance towards your post-graduation career goals by building relationships with a potential employer and gaining technical skills to complement the academic/conceptual knowledge you learn in the classroom. It involves a 200+ hour professional experience with a fisheries, wildlife, or conservation organization. The aim is to experience enough depth and breadth in practices and procedures that you gain competence in one or more facets of a position or organization.
Students based at the Corvallis campus often complete their intensive internship by participating in a full-time, seasonal position. However, students may instead complete their intensive internship through part-time and longer-term, or even fully remote, internships. Students from communities that have been traditionally underrepresented or historically excluded from our fields can consider applying for the FWCS VIEW Fellowship to engage in paid summer research with FWCS faculty.
Interning abroad with OSU GO through an IE3 international internship or field-based study abroad program can also count as your intensive internship; they host dozens of FWCS-focused internships across the globe. If you find an international internship external to OSU GO, you may complete this Disclaimer Form and email to the Internship Coordinator with details on your proposed internship.Are you concerned about how you will fit in an intensive internship into your already busy schedule? Please know that every single student graduating from our degree program, including hundreds of Ecampus students with life responsibilities like families and full-time jobs, has been able to complete the internship requirements. These students often find and complete intensive internships that are part time and longer-term, and even remote. Examples of these abound, including students who set up internships with local wildlife biologists for just 5 hours per week over 6 months, or students who worked remotely with a FWCS faculty member to analyze data and write up research reports. Please see the FAQ section in the FWCS Internships Guide to read more on Ecampus student internships.
PLEASE NOTE THAT:
- The FWCS Internship Coordinator (FW.email@example.com) must directly approve, in advance, your exploratory and your intensive internship plans with the student before they register for FW 410. To request internship approval, email the Internship Coordinator with details on the position, including the organization & position title, start/end dates, total hours you will complete, and how it relates to your career goals.
- Students must complete the internship experience during the same term that they complete the FW 410 Internship course, unless previously approved by the Internship Coordinator. Each student must register for FW 410 Internship and complete the syllabus assignments to receive a grade.
- Past experiences generally cannot count for internship requirements. If you have over 3 years of full-time previous experience in the FWCS field, however, email the Internship Coordinator to explain your background and career goals, and attach your resume with details on the nature and amount of time spent in each position.
- The FW 410 internship courses, especially the Intensive Internship, are designed to be completed during the latter half of your degree, after you have taken FW 209. If you are accepted to an internship before you take FW 209, email the Internship Coordinator with the information listed above.
- If you are a student who completes a second approved internship, you may be able to apply these additional FW 410 credits to your Specialization. Please review the FWCS Specialization Guide and contact the Internship Coordinator in advance.
STEPS TO COMPLETE YOUR FWCS INTERNSHIPS
1. PREPARE - around the time that you've completed your Biology and Chemistry series, your advisor will guide you to register for FW 209 Career Skills for Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences, a required course that will teach you the skills needed to search for, apply to, and attain internships and jobs, including resume and cover letter writing, networking, and interviewing.But even before you take FW 209, you can prepare for internships by reviewing the FWCS Careers Page, which includes the FWCS Resume and Cover Letter Guides, and reviewing the Weekly Opportunity List emails sent by the Internship Coordinator, which include a link to our internal jobs database, the FWCS Opportunity List.
Make a plan of when and where you would like to intern. If you wish to attend a conference for your exploratory internship, review the linked Conference List above and explore conference websites to determine which is most interesting and feasible for you. And, get involved in clubs like the Fisheries & Wildlife Club and apply for OSU research programs aimed at freshman, sophomore, and transfer students like those mentioned in the Exploratory section above.
2. APPLY for internship/job positions.
3. EMAIL & GET APPROVED. When offered an internship/job in the FWCS field, email the Internship Coordinator immediately, providing the name of the organization, a link to the organization’s website, the position title, start/end dates, the total hours you will complete by the end of the position, and how this fits into your career goals. In this email you may include the completed Intensive Internship Training Agreement or Exploratory Internship Training Agreement, which includes your supervisor's signature.4. REGISTER for FW 410. If approved, the Internship Coordinator will direct you on which upcoming term to enroll in the appropriate FW 410 course. You will generally take the course the term you will complete the required 40 or 200 hours, unless previously discussed and approved with the Internship Coordinator. Remember to register for the section in your campus (Corvallis or Ecampus) and for the correct internship type, whether Exploratory (1 credit) or Intensive (3 credits).
5. REVIEW the CANVAS COURSE and the syllabus before starting your internship. Once registered, you will find all assignments in the canvas course, including the Training Agreement, which you'll need to review and sign with your supervisor before starting your internship.
6. CONSIDER FUNDING. If you’re doing a low-paying or volunteer position, read the Funding section below to learn how you can apply for internship funding awards.
7. ENJOY YOUR INTERNSHIP and complete all assignments in the canvas course. Don’t forget about the Intensive Internship Evaluation Form, which your supervisor will need to fill out and submit to you or the Internship Coordinator between Week 8 and Week 10 of the quarter.
Financial assistance is available to students participating in low-paying or volunteer internships. Applications with a list of selection criteria for the E.R. Jackman Internship Support award from the College of Agricultural Sciences are accepted three times a year -- October for winter term consideration, January for spring term consideration, and April for summer and fall term consideration.
Applications for the FWCS Travel and Internship Awards are accepted at any time. For more information or to apply, download the linked application and submit via email. For internship funding questions, please contact the Internship Coordinator.
FW 401 RESEARCH CREDITIf a student has already completed their internship requirements AND is continuing to engage in research with an OSU faculty, they have the option to enroll in FW 401 Research Credit and apply these credits to their Specialization. Students and their research supervisors should first review the FW 401 Research Syllabus and Student Guide, and determine the number of research credits appropriate for their work in the upcoming term (each 1 credit corresponds to 3 hours/week of research work).Then, the student's research supervisor should contact the Instructor of Record to create a unique section of FW 401 for the following term. They will then be granted an override to register. Please know that research credits are optional, and that students may engage in research without registering for these credits.
FWCS INTERNSHIP COORDINATOR
Still have questions about your internship plan after reading this and the Careers Page? Contact the FWCS Internship Coordinator.
Have questions about FWCS Curriculum? Explore the FWCS Advising Guide and webpage here.