The internship begins when students return from Friday Harbor Labs and typically runs through the Summer semester and Fall emester of the second year. The MS Marine Biology Director provides guidance during the internship, and assists students in locating internship opportunities the previous fall.

During their internship, students will be enrolled in an Internship Tutorial, or Reflection Seminar. This seminar is designed to complement learning during and after the internship placement. Students will participate in activities to integrate academic learning and experiential learning including written reflections and monthly reports.

The internship is designed to move students closer to their eventual career goal. Although we provide examples of past internships elsewhere, we work with students on an individual basis to pursue an internship experience specific to their career and research interests. Beside that general goal, there are not many set rules, as we allow the student and internship advisor to negotiate directly to determine the parameters of the internship. However here are some guidelines and factors to consider:

Time frame: The internship can be any length in time. Students are available as soon as the Friday Harbor session ends, and some students are now permanently employed, many years later, exactly where they completed their internship. However, June 1st is a typical start date, and students complete their degree requirements in early December. Shorter internship opportunities are permitted, and past students have elected to do multiple internship opportunities during this six-month period.

Hours: Weekly work hours can vary tremendously among internships and even within a given internship (e.g. field time vs. lab or writing time). However, students should approach this period as a short intense period where weekly hours well in excess of a 40 may occur, as they are receiving valuable career training. If the internship is unpaid and financial limitations exist for the student, the advisor will need to consider that a student working 20 hours per week in their lab (similar to research fellowship requirements at Northeastern University) will also be working 20+ hours per week to meet expenses for room and board.

Pay: Internships can be paid or unpaid. However, paid internships opportunities may not be directly aligned with a research area most applicable to a student’s career goals. Therefore, we also encourage our students to pursue unpaid internships, with both the student and advisor understanding that if financial concerns exist, the student may need to split time between their internship and a paid job to make ends meet. We leave this subject to negotiation between the student and their potential advisor.