INTERNSHIPS are paid, professional work experiences that allow students to work closely with industry professionals to gain skills, experiences, and knowledge important to the profession. They also allow students to connect knowledge from their coursework to professional work experiences, broaden their professional network, and gain different perspectives within their professional field. Internships are higher-level learning experiences than regular summer jobs.
Most internships last 3 months and occur during the summer. However, some students do extended internships that last 6-12 months. Often internships lead to full-time positions or another internship opportunity for the following summer.
Students in the Agronomy and Plant and Landscape Systems majors are required to complete two internships (PLAS 295 and PLAS 395ABLT), while students in the Plant Biology major complete one internship and one research experience.
Finding an Internship
There are many ways to find an internship, including visiting with employers at the CASNR Career Fairs, doing strategic Google searches, browsing industry job boards, going directly to a business website, reviewing internships posted in Handshake (the University’s job board) or weekly email announcements sent from the Department and CASNR Career Services, and getting recommendations from a previous employer or faculty member in your discipline.
Our agronomy students have interned with producers, independent and multi-national businesses, cooperatives, seed and chemical dealers, Extension offices, University research programs, and governmental agencies. Most agronomy students intern in Nebraska or the surrounding states.
Our horticulture students have interned at wholesale and retail nurseries, production greenhouses and nurseries, botanical gardens, floral shops, Extension offices, and University research programs in Nebraska and across the country.
Landscape Design and Management Internships
Our landscape design and management students have interned at botanical gardens, nursery and garden centers, landscape design and management businesses, hardscape sales and installation contractors, Extension offices, city and state parks, University research programs, and golf courses in Nebraska and across the country.
Turfgrass Science and Management Internships
Our turf students have interned at public, private, and resort golf courses; city, high school, college, and professional sport turf facilities; lawncare operations; sod and seed businesses; and research facilities in Nebraska and across the country.
Internship Course Details
- When do I sign-up for internship credit? You will sign-up for internship credit the semester following your internship. If you have a summer internship, you should sign-up for internship credit in the fall semester.
- How do I get a permission code for an internship course? You need to complete an internship contract minimally two weeks before your internship begins. Once that contract has been approved you will receive a permission code. You may not receive internship credit retroactively.
- Where can I find the internship contract? Complete the online internship contract here.
- What internship course should I register for? If you are completing your first internship, you will enroll in PLAS 295. The only prerequisite for PLAS 295 is having sophomore academic standing. Students pursuing the Plant and Landscape Systems major will select a second internship course based on their option. PLAS 395A for agronomy option students, PLAS 395B for horticulture option students, PLAS 395L for landscape design and management option students, and PLAS 395T for turfgrass science and management option students. You must have junior academic standing and course prerequisites for the PLAS 395 courses. See the catalog for specific prerequisites, https://catalog.unl.edu/undergraduate/.
- What course should I select if I am pursuing a minor in agronomy, horticulture, landscape design and management, or turfgrass science and management and want to use an internship as part of my minor? Select one of the PLAS 395 courses. PLAS 395A for agronomy minors, PLAS 395B for horticulture minors, PLAS 395L for landscape design and management minors, and PLAS 395T for turfgrass science and management minors.
- How many credits can I receive for my internship? You are expected to work a minimum of 160 hours over 10 weeks to earn 1 credit. However, you may register for 2 credits if you complete 320+ hours, or 3 credits if you complete 480+ hours during your internship.
- How many credits should I register for? For Plant and Landscape Systems majors, you only need one credit to fill each of the internship requirements (PLAS 295 and 395 series). However, you may register for up to three credits if you work 480+ hours over 10 weeks or two credits if you work a minimum of 320 hours over 10 weeks. The additional credits may be useful to fill free electives in your degree program. Contact your advisor if you have questions about how many credits you should register for.
- If I register for 2 credits, does that complete my entire internship requirement? No, you need to have two different internship experiences, each for a minimum of 1 credit.
- If I am completing an unpaid internship, do I still need a minimum of 160 hours? In cases where you are completing unpaid internships, 1 credit may be earned by working a minimum of 45 hours over at least 10 weeks. The hour commitment is equivalent to adding a 1 credit class to your schedule.
- Why must internships last a minimum of 10 weeks? Depending on the type of internship you have (industry, research, extension, teaching), this 10-week period allows you to see different stages of plant growth and pest management; data acquisition and analysis; or program development, delivery, and evaluation. The specific dates of the internship will be agreed upon by the employer, student, and instructor prior to the start of the internship and will be included on the internship contract.
- How do I come up with learning objectives for my internship? Minimally identify three items you want to learn during each internship. A good way to develop these is to look at the required and preferred skills, knowledge, and experience sections on position descriptions that you would like to have after graduation. Any requirements that you do not have or need to develop further would be good include as learning objectives. Discuss your learning objectives with your internship supervisor, ideally during the interview, but minimally during the first week of your internship.
- What if a conflict occurs during my internship? If a problem arises during your internship, discuss it with your supervisor. If it cannot be resolved, contact Anne Streich, email@example.com, to discuss the problem and solutions for moving forward.
- Who do I contact for other questions about internships? Contact Anne Streich, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- What is an internship? An internship is a professional work experience that allows students to work closely with industry professionals to gains skills, experiences, and knowledge important to the profession. It is a higher-level learning experience than a regular summer job. Most internships last 3 months and occur during the summer. However, some students do extended internships that last 6-12 months.
- Why do I need internships? Internships are an important part of your academic program. They allow you to gain professional experiences, connect knowledge from coursework to professional work experiences, broaden your professional network, develop skills that are in line with your professional goals, and gain different perspectives within your professional field. Often internships lead to full-time positions or another internship opportunity for the following summer.
- Are internships paid or unpaid? It is rare to have an unpaid internship in agronomy, horticulture, landscape design and management, plant biology, or turfgrass science and management. Some internships offer additional benefits such as housing, food, uniforms, and vehicles. It depends on the type of internship you have as to the benefits you will receive.
- How do I find an internship? Internships are readily available in plant, landscape, or soil interest areas. There are many ways to find an internship, including visiting with employers at the CASNR Career Fairs, doing strategic Google searches, browsing industry job boards, going directly to a business website, reviewing internships posted in Handshake (the University’s job board) or weekly email announcements sent from the Department and CASNR Career Services, and getting recommendations from a previous employer or faculty member in your discipline.
- When should I start looking for an agronomy internship? You should attend UNL’s Fall Career Fair, which is normally in mid- to late-September. Many agronomy students interview and accept internships shortly after this career fair. However, there are many internship opportunities available through April. It is best to start early if you want an internship with a specific company.
- When should I start looking for a horticulture internship? November t0 February is a good time for you to connect with horticulture employers. Many employers wait until after the first of the year to start interviewing for summer internships. Most students find internships by inquiring with specific businesses or Googling the type of internship they want in a specific part of the country. For example, if you want a vegetable production internship in California, try Googling ‘vegetable production internship and California’. You can also find several horticulture internships on the American Floral Endowment Career Center website.
- When should I start looking for a landscape design and management internship? October to March is a good time for you to conduct your internship search. Landscape design and management students often contact businesses directly to inquire about internship opportunities, especially for internships located in Nebraska. Faculty teaching design courses and the weekly Department announcement are also good resources to find summer internships. If you are looking for an internship out-of-state, the American Public Gardens Association career center lists internship opportunities at botanic gardens, arboreta, and zoos. Botanic gardens and arboreta commonly interview in January-March for summer positions. The National Association of Landscape Professionals job board lists internships in landscape management and construction, landscape design, irrigation, sales, and lawn care.
- When should I start looking for a turfgrass science and management internship? October to November is a good time for you to start looking for a turf internship. Opportunities will be available through March, but if you have a specific location you want to intern, get that application in during the fall semester. If an announcement is not available for that course or facility, contact the superintendent or turf manager to inquire about internship opportunities. Most students find internships by browsing opportunities found on industry association websites, including the Golf Course Superintendents Association for golf internships; the Sports Turf Managers Association (STMA) for football, soccer, and baseball internships; and TurfNet for golf, sports turf, irrigation, landscape, horticulture, and sales internships. Many sports turf managers like to interview students at the STMA national conference held each year in January.
- When and where should I look for a research internship? Most students involved with research internships are interning with UNL faculty. These opportunities are often included in weekly Department email announcements or are posted in Handshake. Additionally, UCARE and the Nebraska Summer research program are two programs at UNL that you may want to consider. Outside of Nebraska, there are undergraduate research experiences at different universities across the US. To find these opportunities Google ‘summer research experience for undergraduates in’ and whatever area of interest you have.