ESYS Senior Internship Project FAQs
The ESYS Senior Internship Project lasts for a full academic year. Students begin in Fall quarter and finish in Spring quarter, earning 4 Upper Division units each quarter (12 total). Fall and Winter quarters are spent completing the “internship” portion of the project (ESYS 187A and ESYS 187B). In Spring quarter, students take the Senior Seminar class (ESYS 187C). Students may not deviate from this schedule except in rare, outstanding circumstances.
Since the ESYS Senior Internship Project takes a full year to complete, students need to plan accordingly. We recommend meeting with ESYS advisors regularly to ensure student’s plans are appropriate.
The ESYS Senior Internship Project should be undertaken during what you believe will be your last FULL year at UC San Diego. If you’re not sure exactly which quarter you plan to graduate, make sure to come in and speak with an ESYS advisor to develop a plan and decide the most appropriate time to complete the ESYS Senior Internship Project.
While it is not uncommon for students to begin work at their internship sites before the start of Fall quarter, students cannot begin earning units or accruing hours toward the 200-hour minimum until Fall quarter begins. Students must also continue through the entirety of Winter quarter, as you are earning units during that time.
The projects ESYS Seniors complete are incredibly varied and students do internships in many different places. We want students to take their best guess at the kinds of jobs they can see themselves doing after graduation, and to find an internship related to that path. The essential requirements for a valid internship project are listed on the Senior Internship Project Details page.
One of the best resources for finding ideas for an ESYS Senior Internship Project is to see what students have done in previous years. Visit the Previous Senior Projects page to see a list of these. Of course, these are just examples and there are certainly new opportunities and projects to be completed.
No. Although the ESYS advisors will provide guidance on possible opportunities and work with students on developing connections, students are ultimately responsible for finding their internship.
Probably! All projects must be approved by the ESYS Faculty Director, but we always encourage students to take advantage of opportunities they might already be a part of when deciding what they want to do for their ESYS Senior Internship Project. It’s not uncommon at all for the ESYS Senior Internship Project to be a continuation of a something students are already working on, provided that the basic guidelines of the ESYS Senior Internship Project are met.
Yes! In fact, almost half of students complete their ESYS Senior Internship Project with an organization not based at UC San Diego.
Yes. Students can use either paid or unpaid internships for the ESYS Senior Internship Project, as long as the basic requirements of the project are met. Paid and unpaid internships have their pros and cons, and we want students to find their best fit.
Unfortunately, no. Due to the logistics and supervision requirements of the ESYS Senior Internship Project, we do not allow students to complete their projects abroad. The one exception we have made in the past has been with students participating in the “UC DC” Program. Even in those rare cases, a great deal of planning and approval was required.
However, we do not want this to dissuade students interested in studying abroad from going. The ESYS advisors will do their best to work with you to see if studying abroad is feasible within your academic plan.
Site 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.
The Faculty Mentors are UC San Diego Faculty and exist in more of a “big picture” role, assisting student with their project design and developing the focus and deliverables for the Senior Project. They are a great resource for finding research related to your topic. In some cases, your Site Supervisor and Faculty Mentor might be the same person. The Faculty Mentor is also responsible for assigning students either a ‘Pass’ or ‘No Pass’ grade at the completion of ESYS 187A and ESYS 187B. Students are responsible for finding their own Faculty Mentor.
Any UC San Diego faculty with the ability to assign grades/units to undergraduates is eligible to serve as a Faculty Mentor. Ideally, the Faculty Mentor should be someone with experience in the field related to your ESYS Senior Internship Project topic and/or someone with whom you have an existing relationship (i.e. you’ve taken their course, worked in their lab, etc.).
Students should register for ESYS 187A in Fall and ESYS 187B in Winter during the year they will be completing the Senior Project using WebReg. Seats are made available for all students that need the course.
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 identifies 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 contact for Fall 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 (vac.ucsd.edu).