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The Earth Systems Internship

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The Earth Systems internship requirement provides students with the opportunity to apply their interdisciplinary environmental problem-solving skills to a real-world project. Students are expected to choose a project that supports their Earth Systems academic interests – be that policy work, scientific field and/or lab research, environmental education, or work with a business or non-profit organization. Examples of previous internships include:

  • Policy analysis on climate change regulations through Stanford in Government
  • Scientific research conducted under a Stanford faculty member via the SESUR program
  • Self-designed project investigating the process for becoming a successful organic farmer through interviews and site visits
  • Development of environmental curriculum for K-12 students on plant reproduction
  • Research with a local solar power company on the ideal interval for washing solar panels to maintain maximum power generation.

The internship experience must consist of at least 270 hours of work in total. Students enroll in Earthsys 260 (1 unit) for the internship. 

The Internship is required of and restricted to all declared majors. It is commonly undertaken during the summer between the Junior and Senior years, but can be fulfilled year-round. 

The internship must allow students to have either their own project or a piece of a larger project that they can “own” and apply their academic skills to during the period of the internship. For this reason, acting as a lab assistant, conducting trail maintenance, fund-raising, collecting signatures, etc. are not appropriate internship projects. 

Finding an Internship

Earth Systems staff, Suki Hoagland as the Internship Director and student advisors, are great resources for finding an internship. Immediately upon declaring, students should schedule an appointment with Suki Hoagland ( to discuss potential opportunities. Please watch your email for opportunities sent via the esmajors e-mail list. Student Advisors are also available to share tips on how they secured internships.

Internships may be found through established Stanford programs such as SESUR, Stanford in Government, Stanford in Washington, Haas Center for Public Service Fellowships, the Bill Lane Center for the American West Fellowships, etc. You may also visit our Internship Resources webpage. Internships may also be self-designed or found through other sources outside Stanford. All internships must be approved by the Internship Director, Suki Hoagland. 

Internship Approval

An Earth Systems internship project must be pre-approved by Suki Hoagland to meet the internship requirement. Once an internship is secured, submit the Internship Proposal and Request for Approval Form. You will need to upload this to the Earthsys 260 Canvas course page.  

The proposal will be reviewed by the Internship Director. Criteria for approving an internship include relevance to Earth Systems; appropriateness of the internship project, organization, and mentor; and the potential for the student to have a significant learning opportunity through the internship.

Enrollment in Earthsys 260

Students must enroll in Earthsys 260 for 1 unit. You may enroll in Earthsys 260 once your internship is approved during the academic year.  You do not need to enroll in this course at the same time you are completing your internship hours (i.e. summer quarter).

Assignments: Final Product, Supervisor and Self Evaluations

Final Deliverable
Upon completion of the internship, each student must submit a final product to be approved by their internship supervisor. This could be a 15 page technical paper or a different kind of deliverable requiring pre-approval from Suki Hoagland ( Completed final deliverables must be submitted via the Earthsys 260 Canvas course page by the last day of classes of the quarter following the internship. 

Examples of Deliverables

  • Technical paper: Students who completed research projects will likely use a standard research format: introduction, research question, methods, data and analysis, discussion and conclusion, ideas for future research.. 
  • Policy brief: Students who conducted policy research may write a brief or white paper that reviews contending proposals for the issue under debate, analyzes the options and recommends a new policy. 
  • Media: For some internships, organizations might benefit from a new website, establishment of a social media presence, creation of a blog and/or podcast series. 

These are just some ideas. All students choosing the non-technical paper option must get approval from Suki Hoagland ( 

Self Evaluation
Self evaluation forms are due by the last day of classes of the quarter following the internship. 
Self Evaluation forms must be submitted via the Earthsys 260 Canvas course page. 

Supervisor Evaluation 
Supervisor evaluation forms are due upon completion of the internship. 
Please provide your supervisor with the following form: Internship Supervisor Evaluation.


To earn academic credit for your internship, please enroll in EARTHSYS 260 under Suki Hoagland's section for 1 unit.

All internships will carry a mandatory S/NC grade option. Earning an “S” grade will be based on the acceptance of the internship final product and the completed evaluations. An “N” grade will be assigned to your internship course until all work is completed (the “N” grade at Stanford designates a "work in progress").  

You will receive an "S" grade once the following is completed and approved.

Internship Forms