Professional experience

The School of Environment, Science and Engineering Internship Program is available to students enrolled in the Bachelor of Environmental Science, the Bachelor of Marine Science and Management, and the Bachelor of Environmental Science/Bachelor of Marine Science and Management combined degree.

The Internship Program has, for over 12 years, provided students with the opportunity to gain volunteer workplace experience to supplement the practical skills and the theoretical foundations provided throughout their studies. Students gain industry experience in organisations across the environmental science spectrum including local, state and federal government agencies; non-government organisations; private consultancies; and business enterprises throughout Australia and overseas.

Benefits for our students

The Internship Program provides students with an opportunity to undertake an eight- week volunteer work placement for course credit. The program prepares students for the workforce and many have obtained full-time employment after graduation as a result of experience gained and the contacts they made during their Internship. A structured and supervised internship:

  • provides students with workplace settings in which to test skills, theories and philosophies that have been developed in the classroom
  • puts students into direct contact with professionals, industry organisations and potential employers in the field of natural resource management
  • gives students the opportunity to prepare job applications and undergo job interview training.

Benefits for the host agency

The Internship Program provides industry with a valuable resource of highly motivated and semi-qualified prospective employees. Specific benefits include:

  • the ability to develop and trial studies, undertake research or conduct a feasibility study, using a voluntary labour resource
  • obtaining access to university resources such as library material/equipment, archives and staff expertise
  • providing new opportunities for networking with academics, researchers and consultants
  • the freedom to place the student to achieve maximum benefit to the host, for the duration of the program. Our only requirement is that students gain 'professional experience'.

In the long-term, host organisations have the opportunity to shape the work habits of potential employees, and to directly affect the future education of Australia's applied scientists and natural resource managers through their interaction with Southern Cross University.

Student internship profiles

Mitchell McGrath undertook his Internship with Wyong Shire Council working with Environmental Health Officers. As a result of his work experience, he gained employment with the Council doing research on faecal contamination in the Tuggerah Lakes. Mitchell said,

"I think a massive thing that I found very useful was all the group work throughout my study at Southern Cross University. All the group work helped me to feel comfortable in a group situation".

Shay-Maree Young, one of the Marine Science and Management students, undertook her work experience at Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort on the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef. Among her duties she undertook guided trips of the island, helped with fish feeding, took the guests on snorkelling tours, dodged Noddy Tern poo, and played 'airstrip cricket'. Of her experience she said,

"The Internship has opened up a whole new chapter for me. I just wanted to say thank you for the amazing experience, and this opportunity will open more and more doors in the future for my career".

Daniel Reinhard organised his own Internship with a mining company in the Northern Territory. In addition to working on mine site rehabilitation and environmental management and testing, he experienced the joys of shift work, and after a training session became an official mine site snake catcher. Daniel said,

"The Internship has allowed me to make the transition from uni to work and settle in to my new job. It has given me a taste of what I am going to be doing in the year to come".

Duration of the Internship Program

The Program requires students to complete an 8-week (or equivalent) volunteer placement with a host agency or organisation. Placements occur during the student's summer vacation, from November through to February. Arrangements can be made for alternative times if necessary. During this time, students will undertake volunteer work, furthering their practical abilities and gaining invaluable industry experience. Due to the voluntary nature of the program, hosting a student requires minimal costs for the host organisation.

Student eligibility and selection

Students are eligible for selection into the Internship Program towards the end of their second year of full-time study. Placements are available throughout Australia and competition for internship placements is competitive. Applicants will be selected according to the quality of application, academic record and, a short interview. Students also have the opportunity to arrange their own positions with prior approval from the School of Environment, Science and Engineering.

Insurance cover for students

Students involved in unpaid work experience through the Internship Program are automatically covered by the University's insurance policy.


Internship Coordinator:

T: +61 2 6620 3637