Research and Internship

The Department of Environmental and Ocean Sciences is committed to providing students with hands-on experience to prepare them for their careers and education.

A few notes before you get started:

  1. You must complete your internship and research units before taking senior seminar.
  2. You will not receive credit for any internship work unless it is approved by the internship coordinator (Eric Cathcart) prior to working any hours. Professor Cathcart's email is
  3. You will not receive a passing grade for any internship or research units until all requirements, including a poster for Creative Collaborations, are complete.
  4. Disclaimer: Paid and unpaid internship opportunities are posted for informational purposes only. The postings do not constitute an endorsement by the University of the opinions or activities of the internship provider.
  5. Every year the department holds a Capstone Informational Meeting to help students start thinking about their research. Click this link to view the slides from the Spring 2017 Capstone Meeting.
Sidney stands in the estuary. Sidney Williams, Class of 2019 Conducting field work in the Tijuana River Estuary.

"Undergraduate research has enhanced my experience by being able to see and work hands on in the field and learn more about what I could do in the future to make a lasting impact.”


Internship Capstone (EOSC 498)

Our commitment to fieldwork, internships and lab experience is seen in our capstone course for Environmental and Ocean Science majors. Its purpose is to provide our students with:

  • Practical work experience in his/her field of study
  • The opportunity to apply classroom knowledge to authentic work situations
  • The ability to focus career goals
  • Professionals contacts outside of USD


  1. Work at an internship site for a minimum of 45 hours per unit of credit. You will need to have a work site supervisor who is willing to monitor your progress, verify your work hours and complete the final evaluation form. Your work time needs to be documented and approved by your supervisor and should be handed in by the end of the semester. In addition to your hours on site you should expect to spend an additional 5-6 hours per unit of credit each semester completing assignments for your internship class.
  2. Turn in a completed, signed Internship Agreement Form before the second full week of the semester.
  3. Maintain a journal following the guidelines outlined HERE. At least six entries are expected per unit of credit.
  4. Write two biographies (3-4 pages each) based on personal interviews with professional mentors from your internship site.
  5. Visit Career Services and write a resumé and cover letter for a future job and/or internship.
  6. Attend scheduled group meetings and individual meetings with the instructor. During meetings we will discuss journal entries, resumés and cover letters, research conference presentations and other issues.
  7. Have your internship supervisor turn in an evaluation of you and your internship.
  8. Complete a poster of the results of your internship for presentation at the USD Creative Collaborations Conference in the spring. Click here to view examples of poster presentations from the class of 2017.

All materials are due by the last day of class each semester.

Garrett is working in the lab. Garrett Evensen, Class of 2018 Calibrating standard curves to calculate nutrient concentrations.

“Undergraduate research has taught me a lot about patience and troubleshooting problems, and being an EOSC major is great because you get to go into the field.”


Internship opportunities

Private companies and scientific research

  • Environmental consulting firms (e.g., Nautilus Environmental)
  • Southwest Fisheries Science Center, National Marine Fisheries Service
  • Environmental law firms
  • Hubbs-Sea World Research Institute
  • Service firms
  • Center for the Reproduction of Endangered Species (CRES), SD Zoo
  • Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR)
  • The Science Exchange


  • Ocean Discovery Institute
  • Stephen Birch Aquarium Museum
  • Sea Camp
  • Earthwatch Institute
  • Service firms
  • School for Field Studies
  • Local K-12 Schools

Nonprofit and political organizations

  • Think Green Live Clean (USD Alumni-operated)
  • Friends of Famosa Slough
  • San Diego Coastkeeper

Museums and parks

  • City of San Diego Parks and Recreation Department
  • Torrey Pines State Reserve
  • County of San Diego, Department of Parks and Recreation
  • Tecolote Canyon Natural Park
  • Batiquitos Lagoon Foundation
  • Cabrillo National Monument
  • San Diego Natural History Museum


  • Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve
  • The Student Conservation Association
  • Sea World
  • Congressional Offices
Rachel is working on a microscope. Rachel Hill, Class of 2019 In the lab dissecting a Fundulus.

“Undergraduate research has taught me practical skills. I appreciate the close mentorship opportunity. EOSC majors have the best field trips and classes are really hands-on.”