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Division of Natural Sciences & MathematicsDepartment of Geography & the Environment

Students

STUDENTS

Internship Program

RESOURCES FOR STUDENTS

ABOUT THE PROGRAM

The primary goal of the student internship program is to give students educational experiences in real-world settings to help them grow with their degree.  Students learn to make professional connections and develop relationships with various companies, organizations, or government offices based on their own developing specific areas of expertise.  The internship program is a resource designed to help guide students through the process of finding, registering, and evaluating each internship, and get them started on a path toward a career in their field.


GETTING STARTED

Students interested in pursuing an internship should seek a position that is aligned with their own personal, education, and career goals.  This may include reaching out to specific organizations in search of special opportunities, applying for advertised positions provided, or just looking to volunteer to gain some experience.  Internships may be paid or non-paid, full-time or part-time, and can occur during any academic quarter throughout the year (Fall, Winter, Spring, or Summer).  The goal of the internship is not to provide cheap labor, but to gain valuable experience to help set your career in motion.

Finding an internship:  Students are expected to find their own internships, but several resources are available to assist in your search.  Students seeking guidance with resumes and cover letters are encouraged to reach out to the DU Career Center to schedule an appointment.  Students are also welcome to make an appointment with the Internship Program Director to discuss your options on how to get started with an internship experience.  You may also want to research your own internship opportunities that best fit your goals or are beyond the positions available through the director.

Please see the links below to help you in your search


REGISTERING AN INTERNSHIP

Once you have been offered an internship position, complete the following steps in order to get the experience registered with University.  Your options may vary, so see below for details.

Contact the Internship Program Director to get the internship registered.   The Director can approve whether the position is appropriate to be registered as internship, and can provide guidelines on how to make the internship official.  We require that all DU students register their internship with the department, whether for credit or not. University College students are not required to register their internship if they choose not to pursue credit hours.  Be prepared to include an offer letter (formal or informal) from your site supervisor so we can ensure this is an official position.

Determine the number of credits. Some students have the option to sign up For Credit or For Zero-Credit, depending on their needs.  Be advised, students pursuing a B.A. can register for a maximum of 60 credit hours in a single department. This means any course heading with GEOG, GEOL, and ENVI will count toward 60 hours in the Department of Geography and the Environment.  If you are close to the 60 hour maximum, it may affect your decision on whether to register your internship for credit or zero-credit.

  • For credit: The general rule of thumb for deciding how many credits to register for depends on the number of hours of work per week, over a 10-week period.  Students can sign up for 1 credit hour for every 10 hours worked per week, 2 credits for 20 hours per week, 3 credits for 30 hours per week, and 4 credits for 40 hours per week, or full-time over the full internship experience.  Please consult the Internship Director for credit hour approval given your particular internship situation.
  • For zero-credit: DU students have the option to sign up for zero credit hours for their internship, if appropriate.  This removes the cost of tuition (since tuition charges are calculated based on the number of credit hours) but still maintains an official registry of the student’s internship activities.  The zero-credit option is not available to University College students.

Log into your Pioneer Careers Online Account for Approval:  Prior to starting your internship, login to your Pioneer Careers Online Account to document information about the position.  The link above should take you to the Experiential Learning Page.  Click on the +New Opportunity button in the upper right-hand corner. Be prepared to complete all information required.  If anything is left blank, you will not be allowed to Save. 

In general, Dr. Kristopher Kuzera (303-871-3378) will be your faculty supervisor.  The start date should be in the quarter which you are registering.  For credit hours, discuss with the internship director prior to filling out the form.  Subject and course numbers will be based on the following:

  • DU Undergraduate Students will sign up for GEOG 3999 (0-4 credit hours)
  • DU Graduate Students will sign up for GEOG 4999 (0-4 credit hours)
  • University College Students will sign up for GIS 4980 (1-4 credits)

Click Save when complete.

Completion of this form will allow the faculty supervisor to approve your internship.  Once approved, information will be sent to the Registrar where you will be informed that you can register for the internship.


GRADING INTERNS

During your internship, you will be asked to document your experience and provide a detailed reflection upon completion of the position.  You will be evaluated using the following tools:

  • Keep a weekly journal regarding your experiences and how they relate to your degree.  Entries can be open ended, and reflect your thoughts or activities for that week.  Expectation is around 250 words per entry
  • Write an overall assessment of your internship experience upon completion. Again, the content is open ended but should reflect on how this internship added to your college degree.  You can use the content from your journal entries to support your synopsis.  Expectation is around 1000 words.
  • The internship director will also have a conversation with your site supervisor to make sure your experience was fruitful and beneficial for both the student and the sponsoring organization.

All of these measures will be factored in when assessing your final grade. Both the journal and reflection paper should be emailed to your faculty supervisor prior to the end of the academic quarter in which the experience is registered, generally during Week 10.


YOUR RIGHTS AS AN INTERN

If you register an internship for DU credit, we expect you to be working in a safe and respectful learning environment with a supervisor who is committed to providing professional guidance and mentorship. If you end up in an internship situation where there is no supervision, mentorship, or feedback, or where you are frequently asked to do menial tasks that are unrelated to the goals of the internship as laid out in your detailed job description, you are encouraged to contact the Internship Program Director immediately. The Director will work with you to develop strategies to address the problem, and get involved with the supervisor directly if necessary. 

You are allowed to receive credit for both paid and unpaid internships. If you do an unpaid internship, you should know that the US Department of Labor has put together a set of guidelines to help "for-profit" organizations to know if their unpaid internship meet the rules laid out in the Fair Labor Standards Act, the most important of which is that the "internship experience is for the benefit of the intern".

Although those specific guidelines do not apply to non-profit organizations, we still expect non-profit internship hosts to provide supervision, mentorship, and constructive feedback. 

Internship Director Contact Information

Kristopher KuzeraKristopher Kuzera, PhD
Teaching Assistant Professor and Internship Program Director
Department of Geography and the Environment
University of Denver
2050 E Iliff Ave, Boettcher West 128
Denver, CO 80208
[email protected]
303-871-3378