Internship Guidelines

 

Internships/Internship Exemptions

Graduate students enrolled in the research paper or coursework streams are also required to do an internship as part of their Collaborative Specialization requirements and must fill out and submit the Internship Placement Form. 

The purpose of the internship is to provide a student with professional work experience involving some environmental problem(s) related to the student's program of study and research.   The experience may be either paid or on a voluntary basis.   It should consist of the equivalent of at least 2.5 or 3 months full-time employment.   Many students do their internships in the summer term.   Off-campus internships are strongly recommended in order for students to gain practical experience in the "real world."

The internship is a significant component of the Environmental Studies Collaborative Specialization and is designed to offer students from various academic backgrounds an opportunity to expand their interdisciplinary experience at the practical level and turn their theoretical knowledge into practical skills. The approval of internship placement is done in consultation with the student's home unit supervisor (Graduate Coordinator) and the School of the Environenment's Graduate Coordinator and Graduate Administrator prior to commencing the internship activity.  The internship form must be submitted to the School of the Environment Graduate Administrator and is signed by the School's Director. 

Since the inception of the Environmental Studies Collaborative Specialization in the 1970s (formerly Collaborative Program), all students requiring internships have been successfully placed, or have successfully applied for an internship exemption based on previous relevant work experience.  The satisfactory placement of a student in an internship depends strongly on the initiative of the student with the assistance of his/her supervisor and other faculty members.  Also, the School of the Environment's Graduate Administrator helps as much as possible by providing lists of previous student placements and current opportunities, as well as by acting as a liaison between the student and a potential placement organization.  When a student is ready to start looking for an internship, s/he should contact the School's Graduate Administrator for information on current opportunities. 

Nota bene: Students in the coursework stream who do not have an internship requirement in the degree program must register on ROSI for ENV 4444Y (internship) at the beginning of the academic year or the term in which they plan to take the internship. Please note that if you plan to do the internship during the summer term, you must re-register on ROSI for the summer term at the end of the winter/spring term before the registration deadline set by the School of Graduate Studies. Please check the SGS academic calendar for registration deadlines.

Internship Exemption

Students with relevant environmental work experience, gained prior to starting the Collaborative Specialization, may be exempted from their internship requirement with approval from the School of the Environment Director, and the home department's Graduate Coordinator.  At the time of admission to the home department, the student should fill out and submit the Internship Exemption Form, accompanied by the SGS Course Exemption Form, and write a letter to the School of the Environment Director outlining his/her relevant work experience and provide supporting documentation from the organization.  If the exemption request is approved, this may reduce a student's coursework load and length of the program.

Types of Internships

The following internship models have been successfully applied in past years:

  1. Practical Internship: the student finds work in an organization undertaking environmental work (government, industry or consultancy) for 3 or more months.   The staff of the interning office have the student conduct research and/or perform other duties related to topics that would be acceptable for the research component of their degree.   This is the most popular choice of internship.
  2. School of the Environment Internship or campus-based internship:  the student undertakes a research project supervised by a faculty member(s) associated with the School of the Environment. 

Upon completion of the internship, a written assessment of the student's performance by the Internship supervisor is required in order for the student to receive credit.  This should be one page or less in length and should be written on the organization's letterhead and addressed to the Graduate Administrator at the School of the Environment.  Internships are evaluated on the basis of credit/non-credit.

International Visa students will require a letter from the home department that indicates an internship is required as part of their academic programs.   The International Student Centre located at 33 St. George St. (tel. 416-978-2564) can also help with this.