Procedures to Arrange and Complete a Credit-Bearing Internship
What Qualifies as an Internship?
An internship is a supervised work experience directly related to the student’s academic degree program. The internship takes place outside of the classroom, and is directed by a field supervisor and a GVSU faculty member. An internship may be full or part time, typically lasts for one semester, and can take place during the fall, winter, or spring/summer semesters. The internship should be planned with the faculty advisor the semester prior to when the experience will take place. Both paid and volunteer internships can be completed for credit. Paid internships are usually readily available during the summer through a variety of summer jobs, while volunteer internships can be arranged during any semester. Think about what type of experience you would like to get, and approach those agencies or organizations that are closest to your interests. Don’t hesitate to contact potential internship sponsors personally, as many opportunities are never formally advertised.
Contact Your Faculty Advisor.
Contact your faculty advisor early in the process of planning an internship. Faculty members often have suggestions or professional connections that will facilitate your efforts. At this time, discuss the academic component of the internship with your faculty advisor. The assigned work for the academic component may vary depending upon the nature, goals, and amount of credit of your internship. To fulfill the academic component of an internship, undergraduate students in the Biology and Natural Resources and Environmental Management Programs typically complete one or more of the following assignments:
- A written description of the internship suitable for inclusion in the student’s resume
- A critical self-evaluation of the student’s performance during the internship
- A notebook or journal of activities, accomplishments, and knowledge gained during the internship
- A written report discussing the internship and its relationship to the student’s chosen profession
- An oral presentation on the internship in a relevant course, to a GVSU student group, at Student Scholars Day, or at a professional meeting
Complete an Online Internship Agreement Form.
The online GVSU Internship Agreement form needs to be filled out completely by the student, including a written description of the internship responsibilities and objectives determined through consultation with the faculty advisor and external internship supervisor. The Internship Agreement form will then be reviewed by the external internship supervisor online. After the external internship supervisor has reviewed and approved the agreement, the agreement form is reviewed by your faculty advisor for final approval. Make sure to fill this form out completely, as the Career Center uses this information to send links to online evaluation forms to the internship supervisor and student during the internship semester. To fill out the form, click on the Internship Agreement Form link and then follow the instructions.
Submit a Registration Permit Request.
Once you have completed arrangements with an external internship sponsor and have submitted the online internship agreement form, submit a Registration Permit Request to the Biology Office (3300G Kindschi Hall of Science). Your faculty advisor will need to sign the Registration Permit Request form before it is submitted to the Biology Office. Once this form is processed, you will be able to register for the internship credits online.
Complete Online Evaluation Forms.
Near the end of the internship semester, the GVSU Career Center will contact the internship supervisor to fill out an evaluation form summarizing the student’s performance, and the student to fill out an evaluation form summarizing the student’s perception of the internship experience. The student and internship supervisor will each receive a direct link to their individual evaluation about three weeks prior to the end of the semester. Completed evaluations will be provided to the faculty advisor for use in assigning an internship grade. To receive a final grade in the internship, the assigned work for the academic component also must be completed and submitted to the faculty advisor before the end of the internship semester.
Do Your Best Work!
Most students have found internships to be very valuable in gaining professional experience and developing contacts in the professional community. Make every effort to perform at your highest level of capability during your internship. You are not only representing yourself, but also the GVSU Biology Department and its degree programs. Your performance will not only affect your own grade and career options, but also will affect how GVSU Biology and Natural Resources and Environmental Management students are perceived by others in the professional community. To gain the maximum benefit from your internship, develop a good working relationship with your supervisor, and seek constructive criticism from your supervisor about your performance early in the internship period. If you have any questions or concerns about your internship at any time during the semester, contact your faculty advisor immediately.
Examples of Where Students Have Completed Internships?
- Annis Water Resources Institute
- Big Cat Rescue
- Blandford Nature Center
- Detroit Zoological Society
- Frederik Meijer Gardens
- Grand Rapids Public Museum
- John Ball Zoo
- Michigan Department of Natural Resources
- Michigan Nature Association
- Neogen Corporation
- Novi Doctors of Physical Therapy
- Ottawa County Parks
- Spectrum Health Cytogenetics Lab
- Standale Veterinary Hospital
- University of Michigan Hospital
- West Michigan Humane Society
- Zoetis, Inc
GVSU Career Center Website: Resources for students and employers interested in arranging an internship through GVSU.
Handshake: GVSU Career Center internship and job postings - any announcements we receive are posted here.
The Student Conservation Association (SCA) Website: Clearinghouse for a variety of quality conservation internships in over 50 disciplines throughout the United States.