Research Internship

Internship Guidelines
420.805 – Internship and Capstone Thesis

All master’s degree candidates in our program are encouraged (but not required) to undertake an internship or research project during their academic time at Hopkins. Many environmental students find internships to be a valuable component of their overall learning experience. This course is designed to allow students to have a Capstone/Thesis Internship Experience as well as the standard Capstone (Independent Research Project) in an internship format. Students in the ESP program may propose an internship that receives full course credit toward the MS in Environmental Science and Policy. Students may propose to participate in existing internship programs, or they may arrange an individual internship. In most cases, students should have completed four or more courses toward their degree before seeking an internship, and proposals must be submitted to the Program Committee at least 30 days before the start of the target term. Students should consult their faculty advisor on any internship proposal, and written advisor recommendations on a proposal are encouraged.


Proposals will be evaluated on a competitive basis in the order in which they are received, with the final decisions made by the program director. Because of the program’s emphasis on classroom interaction, only a limited number of internships will be approved for any term, and priority will be given to students who have completed the most degree-level courses and who submit proposals that demonstrate the best internship experience.

An internship generally should last the same time period as a typical graduate term, and will result in one full-course credit toward the master’s degree. Because students receive course credit for internships, they pay tuition levels equal to one program course. Credit will only be assigned or accepted in cases where a Hopkins faculty member is directly involved in determining both the course content and in evaluating the student’s work. The internship should be purposeful, provide opportunities for reflection, present a continual challenge to the student, and incorporate active learning, with the student as an active participant in all stages of the experience from planning to evaluation. The final stage of the internship course is a written capstone or thesis.

The Process:

Students may seek their own internships around the world and in any appropriate setting. Students in the MS in Environmental Science and Policy degree program should write a minimum 3-4 page internship proposal with input from their academic advisor and their on-site internship supervisor.

The completed proposal should be reviewed by and receive signed approval from the student, the on-site internship supervisor, and the ESP advisor. The proposal must be approved at least 30 days prior to the anticipated start date of the internship. Failure to do so could jeopardize the entire experience and credit may not be awarded.

The following items must be included in the internship proposal:

  1. Title Page
  2. Proposal
    1. Internship Site: include a brief summary describing the company and their goals, complete work address, phone and e-mail contact details for supervisor(s), and any compensation/ reimbursement provided.
    2. Internship Position Title: include a 1-2 sentence description of your key responsibilities as an intern.
    3. Timeline: list specific beginning and ending dates, number of work hours/week, and total number of hours you will spend on this internship.
    4. Project Description: describe in detail what you will be doing and how you will be doing it. If you will be conducting research, details about the overall project (including a description of the problem, project rationale, objectives, methodology, outcomes, and references) should be attached in the appendices. The body of the Project Description should focus on your activities.
    5. Project Outcomes: explain what new skills and/or knowledge you will be acquiring through this internship, and how this experience will move you forward along your career path. The ultimate outcome for the course should be a written capstone or thesis.

If Your Internship Is Approved:

You will be notified and given registration instructions. If the sponsoring organization needs any formal letters or other documentation from the university, it is the student’s responsibility to request them and provide appropriate details. Before an internship begins, all students must present a letter from the sponsoring organization documenting approval for the internship. Depending on the situation, a faculty member or other person may be appointed to monitor the internship and to receive a final report from the intern’s supervisor and from the intern.

Before the experience is completed the student will need to submit your final internship/thesis paper electronically so that it can be posted on the JScholarship website.

Students that do not complete the written capstone thesis may sign up for 420.888 – Capstone or Thesis Continuation until the project is completed.

For more information, contact

Dr. Jerry Burgess
Program Director, Environmental Sciences and Policy

Proposals may be submitted to the internship coordinator by hardcopy or by email. Either way, it is recommended that the student contact their advisor a few days later to make sure the proposal has been received.