Sustainability internships

An internship is more than a part-time job or volunteer position, but rather a short-term, hands-on, supervised work experience with a professional organization that is designed to increase a student’s knowledge of a professional career field through significant learning objectives.

At the School of Sustainability, the internship is combined with academic coursework that encourages critical reflection on the internship experience. The School of Sustainability screens each internship carefully to monitor for a rich experience that directly focuses on an area of sustainability.

Learning objectives for the School of Sustainability Internship Program:

  • Apply the knowledge and skills learned in the academic program to a professional environment.
  • Build communication, teamwork, problem-solving, leadership and other transferable skills necessary for a successful career in sustainability.
  • Network with industry professionals.
  • Gain information to assist in determining a post-graduation career path.
  • Help facilitate the transition from the role of student to the role of professional.

All School of Sustainability undergraduates are required to complete at least one credit-bearing internship prior to graduation (Capstone Internship), though students are encouraged to do as many internships as they can over the course of their undergraduate career.

What do sustainability internships look like?

Sustainability is an interdisciplinary area of study, and there are a wide variety of opportunities in industries including the public and private sectors, non-profits, education and environmental.

Please read about:

Torin Sadow’s sustainability and urban planning internship with the City of Bisbee

Christine Carmazzi’s sustainability internship with Patton Valley Vineyards

Justyn Beach, Pollution Prevention Intern with Arizona Department of Environmental Quality

Sustainability majors have done internships with the following organizations (not a comprehensive list):

Public Sector: City of Phoenix, City of Tempe, City of Chandler, City of Mesa, Town of Gilbert, Town of Apache Junction, Flood Control District of Maricopa County, Colorado Department of Local Affairs, Municipality of Dubai, City of Atlanta, Coconino County Sustainable Building Program and the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality

Private Sector: The Farm at South Mountain, Aramark, NRG, Starbucks, General Motors (GM), United Parcel Service (UPS), Nationwide Insurance, Pierce Energy Planning, VALI Homes, Grand Valley Funeral Homes, Arizona Diamondbacks, Sun Valley Solar, Isagenix and Salt River Fields

Not-for-Profit: Central Arizona Project, Project C.U.R.E., Local First Arizona, Arizona Forward, TigerMountain Foundation, Clark Park Farmers Market, Phoenix Public Market, Trellis Affordable Housing, Be Kind People Project snd Greenlight Solutions

Education: Desert Marigold School, Broadmor Elementary, Osborn School District, Desert Heights Prepratory Academy, Booker T. Washington Elementary and the Sustainability Teachers Academy

Environmental: Arizona Game & Fish, Liberty Wildlife, The Arboretum at Flagstaff, Climate Action Campaign, Community Environmental Council, Desert Botanical Gardens, Orange County Coastkeeper, Solano Land Trust and Citizen’s Climate Lobby

Steps to finding an internship

Step-by-step instructions for obtaining an internship and registering for credit

  1. Review the SOS Internship Program site. Review internships on SustainabilityConnect and other resources. Think about what kinds of internships you are most interested in (at least 3 months prior to start of semester).
  2. Update your resume and cover letter. Make sure these documents are in a professional format and content is both current and relevant for each internship you are applying for. For resume review, send materials to the SOS Internship Coordinator and/or utilize ASU Career Services Resume Dropbox resource.
  3. Start applying for internships. Plan/expect to apply for multiple internships. If internship is not already approved via SustainabilityConnect, send job description to Internship Coordinator for review and approval.
  4. Work directly with internship provider on application and interview process. Make sure to adequately prepare for interview (thoroughly research organization, be prepared to talk about your experience and why you are a good fit for the position). Expect a formal interview.
  5. Repeat steps 1-4 as needed until internship is secured. Accept desired internship and notify the School of Sustainability Internship Coordinator.
  6. Complete required registration paperwork with internship supervisor. Submit paperwork to the School of Sustainability Internship Coordinator (at least 2 weeks prior to start of semester).
  7. Register for SOS 484 course upon clearance from Internship Coordinator.
  8. Begin internship and start SOS 484 coursework (first week of ASU term—fall, spring or summer).

Create your own internship:

It’s also possible to create your own internship by contacting employers in your field of interest and describing your qualifications, interests and how you can contribute to their success. Descriptions of existing internships are helpful to frame your discussion with a possible internship host. Focus on the advantages to the organization in hiring an intern, such as having an extra person to assist with projects, offer new perspectives on organizational issues and provide new ideas.

While you cannot get internship credit for a current job that you hold, there may be opportunities to work within the same company, as long as the experience you will undertake is a NEW one for you and directly related to sustainability.

Finding an internship requires preparation and commitment, so if you would like to complete one or are required to for your capstone, plan to begin your search 2-4 months in advance. The Internship & Experiential Education Specialist is available as a resource for you throughout the entire internship process.


School of Sustainability Internship Program


Handshake, ASU’s career and internship platform

Online Internship Resources, ASU Career and Professional Development Services

Resume, Cover Letter, Interview Skills develop skills through ASU Career and Professional Development Services

Next steps

School of Sustainability majors can schedule an appointment with the School of Sustainability’s Assistant Director or Internship and Experiential Education, using our online scheduling system, or email [email protected]. Current SOS majors should review the SOS Internship Program site