Ecosystem Internship

About the subject

Undertaking this subject provides an exciting opportunity to gain exposure and develop skills in project management, problem solving, multi-disciplinary workplace practice, institutional policy and strategy mapping, project reporting and communication whilst exploring different career pathways. You will spend 200 hours (five weeks) working in your host organisation across government, industry or non-government organisation (NGO).

View the Handbook (SCIE90027)

Important notice for international students

Most international students will be studying in Australia on a student visa, which means that they are not permitted to work for more than 40 hours per fortnight. Internships taken as part of Faculty of Science degrees will be counted towards this 40-hour limit unless they fall into one of the following categories:

  • When the internship is taken outside of Australia
  • When students are completing volunteer work for their internship. For work to count as voluntary it must meet the following conditions:
    • The student’s main purpose is to study in Australia and voluntary work remains secondary to this, and
    • the work involved would not otherwise be undertaken by an Australian resident, and
    • the work is genuinely voluntary for a non-profit organisation and no remuneration, in cash or kind, is received in return for the activity.

This means that students must count hours completed for their internships as they would any other job unless they fall into one of the above categories. Please note this is regardless of whether the internship is paid or unpaid.

Students are encouraged to check the exact conditions of their visa on the Department of Home Affairs webpage. Students can also find advice on the University’s student visa webpage.

Master of Ecosystem Management and Conservation and Master of Environment students: Students enrolled in Master of Ecosystem Management and Conservation & Master of Environment course may not be affected by these visa rules as these courses have a recorded work component, therefore international students who are working their visa-allowed paid hours will not be impacted if they choose to do a 25 point internship subject.

What are the benefits?

Students comment that they are able to:

  • Identify and articulate their knowledge and skills and apply them to relevant science organisational contexts and work-settings;
  • Demonstrate their analytical, research and problem-solving skills;
  • Understand the value of industry and professional networks and their importance to lifelong learning and career progression;
  • Gain greater confidence in their ability to contribute to a global work environment, awareness of the strengths they offer to a future employer as well as areas to further develop beyond their degree.

Interested in the subject?

It is important to start researching and planning early. We recommend you start this process a semester in advance. Here are some steps to guide you:

  • 1. Get informed
  • 2. Find placement opportunities

    Sourcing a placement can be a new challenge that takes time, but the experience will teach you many skills about how to search for and apply for work. Consider placement opportunities in fields you might be interested in for your career - it's a great chance to gain experience in a field you may wish to work in one day! There are a number of resources available to you to assist with this process:

    Don’t focus your search just on big organisations that you are already familiar with, try the smaller ones too. Ask your fellow students, academics, supervisors, family and friends if they know of any places you could contact within their networks.

    PLEASE NOTE: Once you have considered where you might apply for a placement, please get in contact with the subject coordinator, Prof Gerd Bossinger ( Gerd will need to approve the placement before you submit the subject application form.

  • 3. Prepare your resume and cover letter

    When you apply for an internship placement it is common practice to supply your cover letter and resume. Before you start applying for placements, it’s helpful to have these documents ready.

    Prepare your cover letter and resume using these resources:

    Utilise the Careers Centre resources to improve your documents before sending them to organisations.

  • 4. Apply for placements

    Once you have found organisations that interest you and have your documents ready, it’s time to approach people to ask them to host you for a placement:

    Once you have made contact with an organisation or company, you should send them the document called Information for Internship Hosts which will let them know of their responsibilities. If they have any further queries, contact details of University staff are in the document who will be able to assist. You will also need to send them the Host Risk Assessment form [PDF] to complete. You will need to attach this completed document to your subject application form.

  • 5. Found a placement?

    Once you have secured your placement and have approval from Gerd Bossinger, you can complete the online application form for the subject.

    PLEASE NOTE: You will need to get the host to send you a letter or email confirmation of your placement to upload to the application form. You will also need to upload the Host Risk Assessment form (see step 4 above) completed by your host.

    Apply here for placements within Australia

    If your internship is based internationally, please see:

    International Internship in Environment (GEOG90022)

    Important note: if you are studying online outside Australia there may be local laws or regulations restricting, or in some cases prohibiting the use of a VPN. Before connecting to any university systems with a VPN you must check the regulations that apply in your current location. If you are in a location where VPN access is restricted, contact Student Equity & Disability Services (SEDS) for advice on whether there are practical alternatives you might be able to access.

    Financial assistance to access Work Integrated Learning opportunities (Faculty of Science students only)

    A discretionary fund is available to Faculty of Science students who face financial barriers to undertaking a for-credit internship and/or University approved experience within Australia. Barriers might include: distance of internship from primary residence requiring flight and accommodation costs, extra child care expenditure due to internship commitments, vaccinations and medical expenses associated with your internship.

    Find more information and how to apply here.

  • 6. Enrol in the subject

    After your application has been submitted, we will contact you advising of the outcome of your application. This may take up to 14 days as we wait for legal documentation to be completed by the host. Please email if you have any questions about your application.

    Please note: You will not be able to enrol in SCIE90027 until all of the approvals have been received and a requisite waiver has been applied for the subject. We will email you once this has been done. You will then be able to enrol into the subject and will need to complete compulsory online pre-placement modules before you begin your placement.

Frequently asked questions

If you have any further questions, contact us at