Internship Requirements for FWCS Undergraduates
OVERVIEW OF INTERNSHIP REQUIREMENTS
Two internship courses are required to graduate: a 40-hour Exploratory Internship with an accompanying 1-credit class, and a 200+ hour Intensive Internship with a 3-credit class. 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, and don't miss the links to helpful downloadable materials such as the Internships Guide (which has a section dedicated for non-traditional students), the Conference Guide, the Internship Support Awards, links to the FWCS Resume and Cover Letter Guides, and more.
EXPLORATORY INTERNSHIP (40+ hrs)
An exploratory internship involves completing a professional experience of at least 40 hours of learning time in a fish, wildlife, or conservation setting, and completing the associated 1-credit canvas course of FW410 Exploratory Internship. Students may fulfill this requirement by attending a multi-day professional conference, or by participating in 40 hours of FWCS-relevant work or skills-training.
Some examples of work students have done for their exploratory internship are: conducting research with OSU faculty and graduate students through the FW Undergraduate Mentorship Program, URSA Engage, the CAS Beginning Undergraduate Research Support Program, or the University Legislative Scholars program; volunteering with a local conservation organization or wildlife rehabilitation center; completing a series of ride-alongs with law enforcement officers; participating in a series of trainings or workshops (even virtual); assisting a local biologist with field work. We encourage students to get creative, make a plan that works best for them, and pitch this to the FWCS Internship Coordinator for approval in advance!
For students who complete their exploratory internship by attending a multi-day conference, they may research and participate in the conference of their choosing, and pending email approval in advance by the 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). You can search for your state or regional TWS Chapter or AFS Chapter, and look for details on their annual meeting and workshops!
** Review the FWCS Conference Guide to learn about popular conferences in our field and their upcoming dates. **
INTENSIVE INTERNSHIP (200+ hrs)
An intensive internship involves completing a 200+ hour professional experience with a fisheries, wildlife, or conservation organization that is relevant to your unique career interests, and completing the associated 3-credit canvas course of FW410 Intensive Internship. In short, the goal of the intensive internship is to help you gain the professional network, experiences and technical skills to be a more competitive applicant for the jobs you seek after graduation!
Students based at the Corvallis campus often complete their intensive internship by participating in a full-time, seasonal position. However, students may instead complete part-time and longer-term, and even fully remote, intensive internships. We encourage students to get creative and propose the intensive internship that will be the best for your unique career goals and situation. The intensive internship is intended to be completed in the latter half of your degree after you've taken FW209, but may be completed earlier if an opportunity arises.
Students from communities that have been traditionally underrepresented or historically excluded from our fields may 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 International Internship 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.firstname.lastname@example.org) must directly approve, in advance, your exploratory and your intensive internship plans with the student before they can register for FW 410. To request internship approval, email the Internship Coordinator in advance of starting your internship 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 should generally take the FW410 internship course in the same term that they complete the total required hours. Each student must register for FW 410 Internship and complete the assignments, all of which are on canvas, to receive a grade and complete the internship requirement.
- Past experiences generally cannot count for internship requirements. But, if you have over 3 years of full-time previous experience in the FWCS field, 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.
- If you are a student who plans to complete 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 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, volunteer, and/or international intensive internships, or whom are presenting their research at a conference. Such students are encouraged to apply for the E.R. Jackman Internship Support Award from the College of Agricultural Sciences; apply in October for a winter term internship, in January for spring term, and in April for summer and fall term.
Students may also apply, at any time, for the the FWCS Travel and Internship Awards. Please note that the awards are restricted to students who are completing this internship to complete their intensive internship (FW 410), or whom are presenting research at a conference. 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 should email FW.email@example.com, with their research supervisor(s) cc'ed, and include details on the number of credits, term, and nature of the research.
WHAT IF I CAN'T FIND AN INTERNSHIP?
We encourage students to get creative and be proactive in their internship search. Do search the job boards and apply to many opportunities, but also be creative and proactive in your search. Many students, especially those with schedule or location constraints, will find their internship not by just looking for advertised positions, but rather by reaching out to organizations and professionals and starting a conversation about setting up an internship or volunteer opportunity. For example, you can send an Inquiry Email to a local conservation organization, in which you explain your interests in their work and availability for an internship, and ask if they would be open to discussing further. We encourage students to make a broad list of all potential employers in your area, which may include public lands at the city, county, state, or federal level, local non-profits such as watershed councils, wildlife rehabilitation centers, or sustainability organizations, or environmental consulting companies. You can also research FWCS faculty who do research that interests you; perhaps they have graduate students who could use your help with remote data analysis or even field work. Another great way to find internship opportunities in your area is to attend a state-level conference, such as a state chapter of The Wildlife Society or the American Fisheries Society, and meet professionals who may be hiring or who are open to developing an internship. Remember, we want your internship to advance you towards your unique career goals, and so we encourage you to get creative, be proactive, and find opportunities that work well for your unique interests and situation!
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.