Next Application Deadline May 15 Get Info

The sustainability field is highly dynamic, and today’s employers want candidates with practical, hands-on experience.


Our career-oriented coursework culminates in a Professional Service Semester (PSS) that allows you to apply your skills to real-world projects with the top environmental organizations and build critical skills so that you graduate prepared to advance quickly in the workforce.

With the one-on-one support of a faculty mentor, students spend four months working full time with an NGO or government agency, or in the private sector on applied projects across a broad range of environmental and sustainability topics. The practicum can be based in the U.S. or internationally, with some students also taking advantage of remote opportunities. The majority are paid positions, whether a job or an internship. Students in unpaid or low-paid positions can apply for experiential learning grants from the Institute.

Finding Your Practicum

Practicum planning starts in the first semester. Our faculty are all engaged professionals with active networks. Our courses feature guest speakers from various organizations, as well as hands-on projects with clients that can evolve into practicum placements. We also have an extensive alumni network, and many alumni can offer placement in their current workplaces and act as mentors. Many students attend conferences, and faculty members connect them to others in their extensive professional networks. Carolyn Meyer, director of experiential learning, works closely with students to help them secure placements that best fit their professional goals and make the most of the experience. Our track record is impressive, with 100 percent of our students receiving placements, most of which are their top choices.

Your Career and Academic Advisor

Many of our students secure their first job after graduate school through the network developed at their practicum. Your advisor in the Center for Advising and Career Services is available to help you clarify your professional goals and career readiness. Lynn Foden’s customized approach will help you develop or strengthen your résumé, cover letters, online presence, networking, interviewing, and negotiation skills.

Practicum Sites

You may seek opportunities on your own or apply to one of many options that are shared through the Institute. We often have more employers seeking students than we have students to fill the positions—including paid positions.

Practicum placements reflect the range of organizations where our graduates make their careers, including nonprofits, consultancies, federal, state, and local governments, the private sector, international organizations, and think tanks.

Select Practicum Organizations

  • Conservation International
  • Environmental Defense Fund 
  • World Wildlife Fund (WWF)
  • Oceana
  • African Wildlife Foundation
  • Blue Sky Maritime Coalition
  • California Department of Food and Agriculture 
  • Mercy Corps and USAID
  • National Parks Service, Washington, DC
  • Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve 
  • Mongol Ecology Center 
  • Stimson Center
  • Finless Foods

Student Profiles

Alex Shahbazi

Saving Polar Bears Is a Complex Geopolitical Puzzle

An internship with Polar Bears International helped Alex Shahbazi hone his skills as he sought common ground among Arctic nations.

Rachel Herring

Studying Energy Sovereignty for Tribal Nations

A member of the Choctaw Nation, Rachel Herring worked on a yearlong internship with the Department of Energy’s Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs through Sandia National Laboratory.

Maddy Springfield

Swimming with Whale Sharks: What Goes on Beneath the Waves

Madison Springfield spent a semester at the Whale Shark and Oceanic Research Center in Honduras.