Senior Internship Project

Watch our ESYS Senior Internship Webinar recorded April 29th, 2021  


The ESYS Program places a significant value on interdisciplinary problem solving and all majors are expected to complete an integrative Senior Project in their final year. 

The ESYS Senior Project is designed by the student to focus on an interdisciplinary environmental problem or research topic. An important component of the Senior Project is an off-campus or laboratory internship.  With prior approval, students may opt to fulfill their internship requirement in the laboratory of participating faculty. The internship should be undertaken during the ESYS 187A&B course sequence (Fall and Winter quarters) and is expected to be a 200-hour commitment (20 weeks at 10 hours per week).

ESYS Program Advisors will provide guidance and a list of potential internship hosts; however, students are ultimately responsible for finding an appropriate internship. The goal of the internship is to gather original data and/or develop analyses and experience that will be reported in the deliverables for the Senior Project. Senior Project deliverables include a 25-page research paper and a poster for presentation.  The research paper and presentation are typically developed during ESYS 187C seminar (Spring quarter).

Contact an ESYS advisor on the VAC with additional questions. 

Faculty Mentorship

Students will identify a UC San Diego Professor to serve as their faculty mentor that oversees their ESYS Senior Project. The student and faculty mentors will meet on an ongoing basis to design and develop the focus and deliverables for the Senior Project. Oversight and coordination of Senior Project Faculty Mentorships will be provided by the ESYS Program advisors. See an outline of Faculty Mentor responsibilities.

Internship Site Supervisors

Oftentimes, seniors will have supervisors on-site at their internships.  These supervisors oversee the day-to-day responsibilities of the student and are a critical part of internship experience.  The site supervisors provide much of the direct contact, hands-on guidance, and training students will receive.  Occasionally, a Faculty Mentor will also act in the role of Site Supervisor.  See an outline of Internship Site Supervisor responsibilities.

Senior Project Deliverables

The deliverables for the Senior Project will include a 25-page research paper and a poster presentation. Students should be working on both of these deliverables during the ESYS 187A&B sequence (Fall and Winter quarter), but they can be developed and completed in the ESYS 187C seminar (Spring quarter).

Submitting an Internship Learning Agreement

The ESYS Internship Learning Agreement form is available via Google Forms here: ESYS Internship Learning Agreement. (This form is only for Environmental Systems majors at UC San Diego that are completing their ESYS Senior Internship Project, students must use their UC San Diego email accounts to access and complete the form).  The form consists of student information, information on where you will be completing your internship as well as identifying your Site Supervisor and Faculty Mentor. It is recommended that students complete this form in collaboration with their site supervisors and faculty mentors.

Along with submitting your Internship Learning Agreement all students completing their ESYS Senior Internship Project must be enrolled in ESYS 187A for the Fall quarter in order to receive credit. It is the responsibility of the student to provide accurate information and to confirm the arrangements for their internship. In order for your form to be approved your site supervisor and faculty mentor will be sent an email asking them to confirm that they will be working with you for the duration of your project.

Students can submit their internship contract for Fall Quarter starting at any time, and contracts will be approved within 1-2 weeks of when they are submitted.  All students should be working on finding an internship and should plan to complete and submit this contract BEFORE the start of the fall quarter  If you are having trouble finding an internship, or if you have any questions on the process, please contact an ESYS advisor via the Virtual Advisor (

*PLEASE NOTE: If you are not able to submit your form and/or secure an internship before the start of the quarter, don’t panic.  You should stay enrolled in ESYS 187A and attend the course. The ESYS Department will work with students as needed to ensure you are able to complete the ESYS Senior Project requirement.

Evaluation Forms

There are two evaluation forms associated with the internship portion of ESYS 187A&B. These include:

Both of these forms must be completed by the Student, the Internship Supervisor and the Faculty Mentor and approved by the ESYS Associate Director. 

The ESYS Program Advisors will provide a schedule for the completion of these forms and evaluations. It is the responsibility of the student to complete the necessary paperwork in a timely manner in order to earn credit for the ESYS 187A&B series.

Student Resources