Environmental Science Internships

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Choosing an Internship in Environmental Science

Internships can be a life and career changing portion of the college curricula. Sometimes they are required by your school, but often they are not, it simply depends on your school and program. They leave lasting memories and can be one of the most valuable aspects of obtaining your degree. Internships provide professional work experience to the inexperienced. Oftentimes, just getting your foot in the door is the hardest part. Remember that while doing an internship you are already working in your chosen field and everything you do can carry forward through your environmentalist career. You may be fortunate enough to be offered a position at the end of your internship. A good intern is already trained and familiar with the operational procedures of the company where they worked.

If you are looking for Environmental internships, you have a variety of places from which to find them. Look for one specific to your major using some of our great advice and resources.

What Is an Internship?

An internship is an opportunity to come into a professional environment with little or no experience and work hands-on in your chosen field. There are many different internship situations. It may be one day/week, or full-time. The internship position may be for a paid or volunteer worker. There may be a full-fledged internship training program for many students, or you may be the only one in amongst otherwise experienced workers.

Am I Required to Do an Internship If I Major in Environmental Science?

Of course the answer to that question depends completely on what course of study and school you choose. However, it is highly likely all colleges and universities would encourage you to do internships; through them, through special programs, or by finding something on your own. Environmental Science majors may have different opportunities available to them than policy/management, or studies majors. You should be encouraged to work in your field early to get a taste of the work environment you anticipate entering. If it isn't part of your regular semester, perhaps you would consider doing a summer or winter break internship.

Benefits of Doing an Internship in Environmental Studies

Get Your Foot in the Door

Environmental Studies, Science, Policy, and Management are like other professions in that much of your career can be based on who you know. Most believe the best way to get to know more people in your field is through work, which an internship provides. You may be offered a position at the completion of your interview, or you may be given contacts to pursue other positions with after graduation.

Do You Like the Work?

It is important that you are passionate about your work in the Environmental field. Another huge benefit in an internship could be in determining if you actually like the work you have chosen. Perhaps you have decided that you don't like travelling on ocean-going vessels so instead of continuing to major in oceanography, you decide to pursue a career in maritime law. Or, as another example, you realize you need to change your curricula a little so you understand more of the real-world applications of your degree when you are done, by taking extra engineering or chemistry classes.

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Environmental Science Internship Possibilities

A great way to procure an internship through your school, which allows you to work while you attend classes, is through a work-study program. Oftentimes work-studies are need-based assistance, so some students may not qualify for these positions.

Work-study students may work in their own department or one closely related, or for a graduate advisor if their school offers such degrees. Even though you may be competing with a lower number of students to get the position you want, it still helps to be the best you can be and remember, if you are an Environmental Science major, you may be competing with some of the toughest competitors out there; pre-med students.

Another place to find connections is your department's office. They should have some sort of bulletin board/email list of current positions. People in the community may come to them to look for interns without advertising elsewhere.

If you know a business you are interested in working for, it can't hurt to contact them directly and enquire about any openings. If you do make this inquiry, try to be sure you have gone through their website at the bare minimum to check what policies they have in place regarding interns. You wouldn't want to turn them off from you by appearing unprepared.

Lastly, there are established programs with many leading government agencies, private companies, and well known not-for-profit groups. Each of these groups will be explored in further detail at the various specialty majors.

Environmental Science Internship Resources

Government Agency Internships in Environmental Science

NOAA - National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is tasked with understanding weather, and changes to the ocean and earth, as well as protecting marine resources. NOAA is another agency with active internships. Find more information about National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration internships.

The National Park Service (NPS) works to preserve history and maintain National Parks for the public. NPS has a program for immersing students in Environmental Science. Learn more about Mosaics in Science internships that are offered in national parks across the United States. Applications are accepted December through January for the following summer.

The National Science Foundation is an independent federal agency dedicated to promote the progress of science while protecting the country. NSF has one of the greatest internship programs going for Environmental Science majors. The program helps undergraduates gain field experience; Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU).

Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) is an institute of the United States Department of Energy. ORISE grants numerous internships and fellowships in Environmental fields.

The United States Department of Energy (DOE) is tasked with ensuring a prosperous future for the country while utilizing transformative science and technology in meeting our energy needs. A variety of internships are available with the DOE, most of which are usually performed during the summer. Also, review Internships, Fellowships, Graduate & Postdoctoral Opportunities, Student Programs and Internships and Stipend Based Internships.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) is involved in both human health and natural aspects of Environmental Science. Explore EPA internships, fellowships, and recent graduate positions. Opportunities are offered at its Washington D.C. headquarters, ten regional offices, and nationwide labs and research centers. Join the Pathways Program to gain paid experience in the Federal government as a student or recent graduate.

The United States Geological Service (USGS) has sites across the country dedicated to studying the Earth, minimizing loss and damage to life by natural disasters, and managing our natural resources. Review the available USGS resources for finding internships, paid employment, and volunteering in the field of Environmental Science.

Not-for-Profit Internships in Environmental Science


The Environmental Defense Fund's mission is to preserve the natural systems on which life depends, through sound science and economics. EDF accepts undergraduate, recent graduate, and graduate students for internships in a variety of positions; policy, science, and general studies.
American Geophysical Union (AGU) is an international non-profit scientific community. Their mission is to advance the understanding of Earth sciences. They have over 62,000 members and are governed by a board. Check out the internships currently offered by AGU.

Sierra Club
The Sierra Club boosts 3.8 million members and supporters as well as 64 local chapters. They believe in exploring, enjoying, and preserving the outdoors and have helped pass the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, and the Endangered Species Act.

The World Wildlife Fund follows a mission of stopping the degradation to the planet Earth and learning to live more in harmony with nature. The WWF Young Adult Volunteer Internship Program provides diverse opportunities in priority conservation programs worldwide, including roles in communications, policy and advocacy, environmental education, project monitoring, and field assignments. Gain hands-on experience, expertise, and knowledge to advance your future professional career.

Environmental Policy/Management Internships

Government Agency Internships in Environmental Policy/Management


The Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) is the White House's group tasked with promoting the health of the country, promoting clean energy, and protecting natural systems. They currently are seeking to curb carbon pollution. The CEQ Internship Program offers both part-time (16-34 hours per week) and full-time (minimum 35 hours per week) paid, in-person internships in Washington, D.C.

Please note: Many of the agencies listed under Environmental Science may also have positions more closely related to policy available.

Not-for-Profit Internships in Environmental Policy/Management

The Environmental Defense Fund's mission is to preserve the natural systems on which life depends, through sound science and economics. They accept undergraduate, recent graduate, and graduate students for internships in a variety of positions; policy, science, and general studies.

The Environmental Law and Policy Center is dedicated to protecting the Midwest's Environment and Natural Heritage. They are headquartered in downtown Chicago and accept students year round in science and policy, as well as legal students during the summer.

The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) is tasked with working to reform federal policy for the sustainability of food systems, natural resources, and rural communities. They have secured funding for dozens of programs which promote conservation and sustainability. Three times a year positions are available.

Sierra Club
The Sierra Club boosts 3.8 million members and supporters as well as 64 local chapters. They believe in exploring and preserving the outdoors and have helped pass the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, and the Endangered Species Act. Environmental Law Program internships are available in Oakland, D.C., and Denver and are currently accepting applications for Summer 2024, Fall 2024, and Spring 2025.

The S. Green Building Council (USGBC) is a private non-profit organization, comprised of tens of thousands of member organizations, chapters, and student volunteers, that promotes sustainability in the design, construction and operation of buildings. Internships are available in a wide variety of topics, including policy and design. Most positions are in Washington, D.C.

The Washington Center (TWC) for Internships and Academic Seminars is an independent, non-profit organization allowing students worldwide the chance to work in Washington, D.C. in order to foster academic and professional achievement, leadership, and civic engagement.

  • TWC's Academic Internship Program provides a comprehensive experience to help you gain the necessary experience, skills, and network for success, all while earning academic credit.
  • Also, TWC collaborates with various U.S. federal agencies to provide funded diversity internships. The goal is to enhance diversity in the federal workforce, recognizing the value of diverse perspectives in fostering innovation and positive change. These opportunities encompass 15-week fall and spring internships, as well as 10-week summer internships.

Environmental Studies Internships

Government Agency Internships in Environmental Studies

The National Research Energy Laboratory (NREL) is a laboratory of the Department of Engery (DOE) focused on renewable energy and energy efficiency technology. Internship positions are available for undergraduate and graduate students. Positions are available both during the school year and in the summer. Learn more about the many NERL internships.

An area that isn't often considered with Environmental Studies is transportation. There is a very real need for more ecologically educated workers. The United States Department of Transportation (DOT) offers internships in 13 different administrations. Learn more about the various internships offered by the DOT.

Please note: Agencies listed under Environmental Science are most likely to have Environmental Studies internships as well.

Private Company Internships in Environmental Studies

Advanced Energy
Advanced Energy Industries (AEI) is a leader in technology for numerous green technology items such as solar cells. AEI offers internship programs all year at the home base in Colorado and at their other worldwide sites.
Eos Energy Storage follows its mission by producing cost effective energy storage solutions that are less expensive than other technologies. They offer internships in business development, though opportunities may change. An interest and understanding of clean technology is critical for working for them.

Tesla Motors is considered a leader in alternative technology for vehicles. Just formed in 2003, Telsa electric vehicles have a global footprint, and the company employees over 140k full time workers. Tesla offers internships of 3, 6, 8, and 12 months for college students.

SIG is a global trading firm where workers use their own capital to trade financial products. SIG's Trading Internship Program offers college seniors a summer intern program to experience life as a trader with SIG. Energy is one of the commodities traded, so an interest in all energies is beneficial. Like other senior college programs, often recruiting is done from the internship. Learn more about SIG full-time trading positions and internships.

AECOM is a global infrastructure consulting firm providing comprehensive professional services across the project lifecycle, including advisory, planning, design, engineering, and program/construction management. Projects encompass transportation, buildings, water, new energy, and the environment, serving clients in both the public and private sectors. If you're passionate about environmental engineering, an internship at AECOM could be a good match. Learn more about AECOM's summer internship program.

Not-for-Profit Internships in Environmental Studies


The Environmental Defense Fund's mission is to preserve the natural systems on which life depends, through sound science and economics. They accept undergraduate, recent graduate, and graduate students for internships in a variety of positions; policy, science, and general studies.


The American Council On Renewable Energy (ACORE) is a non-profit organization composed of diverse businesses and groups. Its mission is to contribute to the establishment of a secure and prosperous America by promoting clean, renewable energy. ACORE achieves this by offering an educational platform that caters to various interests, including technology, finance, policy, and market development. Acore welcomes current students and recent graduates with an interest in renewable energy careers for its internships.

The Student Conservation Association (SCA) is a non-profit organization dedicated to building the next generation of conservation leaders through hands on experience. The SCA offers a wide range of internship opportunities to students in agencies, organizations and sustainable businesses.

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Alternatives to Internships in Environmental Fields

If you can't find an internship or work-study position, maybe you can volunteer or work for someone. Perhaps your school just isn't set up for internships, or you need to make more money than an internship might offer. If you are able to get a paying job or volunteer through an established volunteer program, you may receive many, of not more of the same benefits as an intern.

More Places to Find Environmental Science Internships

Local Internships in Environmental Science may be found by contacting your Department Program Office at your school, or going to the Career Guidance Office of the school. If you know a student that has worked somewhere you want to work, talk to them for contact information.

Create Your Own Internship in Environmental Science by picking a place you would like to work someday and either approaching them directly, or asking your school office to do it for you. Often, if you are required to do an intern as part of your degree, the department will have a well-established internship program and will be more than happy to pursue new companies, as they may be able to keep that contact for future students.

Depending on your circumstances, you also may be eligible for a more unique internship such as one of the ones listed below:

Some Things to Keep in Mind

Whether you are the first student or the thirtieth student through an internship program at an employer, remember that you represent the school which sent you there. Your behavior could make or break opportunities for future students. A good future employee should always look to leave the best impression for all.

If you have gone through a vetted internship program, through your school, or a well-known name, you will probably not have any issues. However, if this is the first time the company where you are going has an intern, keep an eye out for yourself. Be aware that some employers may equate an intern with free labor. Just because you may not be paid doesn't mean you don't have rights. You should still be considered an employee. If any uncomfortable situations arise, either ask your direct supervisor for help, or if that seems too difficult, go back to your school counselor or program advisor.

If something someone does or asks you to do appears to be unethical, or you in any way feel unable to perform the work without further training or instruction, let someone know. Do not endanger yourself! Companies may not be treating you in such a manner due to any malignancy, but out of ignorance. Perhaps they have never had an inexperienced worker, or perhaps they believed their training program was adequate. Regardless, look out for yourself, as you are the best one for that job!

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