An essential component of the Professional Science Masters degree is an internship or cooperative educational experience with an off-campus business, industry, government agency, or research institute that is directly related to your area of study.
This should be an integrative learning experience, engaging you in real world work situations involving technical problems, teamwork, communication skills, and decision-making. Your internship experience occurs in lieu of a master's research project and thesis, and is, therefore, an extremely important part of your graduate program. The experience should be new and add to your current set of skills.
We encourage you to explore internship opportunities as soon as you've been accepted into the PSM@ENSC degree program. Your PSM Advisor, graduate committee, and other professional contacts can facilitate your efforts to secure an internship, but the responsibility to do so is yours. It is generally not acceptable to do your internship with the same company you have worked for in the past, unless it is in an entirely different area and you can clearly demonstrate what new skills you will acquire through the experience. Similarly, it is generally not acceptable that you do your internship on-campus, unless you are purposefully trying to learn new skills that cannot be obtained elsewhere.
For all internships, the first step is to develop an Internship Proposal in collaboration with your PSM Advisor and on-site internship supervisor, which is then submitted to your graduate committee for signed approval.
Most students begin their internship at the end of their first year of academic study, but this is flexible, depending on project opportunities and schedule requirements. A minimum of 6 credits of internship (ENSC 510) should be earned, which is equivalent to 3 months full-time work (i.e., 40 hours/week) or 80 hours/internship credit for a minimum of 480 hours required to complete the program. You can register for these credits either during one term (full-time) or over several terms based on internship requirements.
One-third of the way through your internship, you should check-in with the PSM advisor and your major professor (if applicable) to ensure that your project is on-track as outlined in your internship proposal. If any revisions need to be made because of unexpected events affecting progress, they should be made as soon as possible.
Throughout your internship, it is required that you maintain an Internship Journal. If you are conducting scientific experiments, a daily log should be detailed enough to enable someone to repeat your work. If you are required to sign a disclosure agreement with the company hosting your internship, the PSM advisor or your major professor should sign the same agreement to maintain transparency during your internship. Problems you encounter and how they are resolved should all be recorded in this journal. If you are working more in an administrative position, your daily log should include details about meetings, strategies, and action items. In both situations, the journal is designed to facilitate development of effective work habits. See examples of internship journal entries at the link above.
At the conclusion of your internship, your on-site internship supervisor will be expected to provide the PSM Advisor and with a written evaluation of your performance. Click here to download the Internship Supervisor's Evaluation Form.
You will be required to write a Final Internship Report, presented in both scientific as well as business plan formats. Follow the link for specific instructions and requirements. This will help you develop your skills in written communication for both business and technical audiences.