Professional Experiences

FWCB Students should have several professional experiences while in college. Internships help you gain experience, learn about professions, develop skills, and build a network. Many employers and grad schools seek candidates with internship experience. Students completing the Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology curriculum are required to complete a "Professional Experience". Students completing internships/professional experiences before Fall 2016 should follow these guidelines. (.pdf)

Starting Fall 2016, all students must complete a Professional Experience and the associated reflection class (.pdf), either ESPM 4096, Professional Experience Program: Internship, or CFAN 3096, Making the Most of Your Internship (see schedule below). These classes are designed to help you to complete pre- and post-reflection components of the experience. Be sure to register for one of these courses prior to beginning a professional experience – retroactive enrollment is not allowed.

If you are doing your professional experience in…

You should register for…

And things will start in …


ESPM 4096 – Fall Semester*

May/June with pre-internship orientation and “pre-flection”


CFAN 3096- Fall Semester

Fall coincident with classes


CFAN 3096- Spring Semester

Spring coincident with classes

*Concurrent registration in CFAN 3096 during Summer Session is possible for extenuating circumstances

You have three options for fulfilling the FWCB professional experience; each is described more fully below. Note that each of these options requires discussion with the Major Coordinator and/or the instructor for ESPM 4096.

  1. Complete an approved internship that involves at least 120 hours of supervised work time
  2. Complete a supervised research experience consisting of at least 120 hours, having appointed and supervised tasks, and independent of a course other than directed study. REU and UROP projects can be used to meet this requirement, and they are especially recommended for students considering graduate school.
  3. Complete an approved study abroad program that includes a comprehensive capstone project addressing fisheries, wildlife, or conservation of biodiversity.

Finding an Internship

Connect with Career and Internship Services to learn more about internships, or to get help finding one. C&IS provides an Internship Guide (.pdf) that provides extensive resources for students like:

  • What is an Internship? An overview and frequently asked questions.
  • How to plan for an internship: Plan ahead so you'll find one that fits your goals.
  • Online Job Search Tools: Browse these websites to find internship openings.
  • Consider an internship abroad.
  • Read about other students' internship experiences: Search for past internship experiences on GoldPASS to identify organizations that might fit your internship goals.

Job & Internship opportunities will be sent directly to undergrads by e-mail. Announcements will also be sent out through Twitter. Follow us on twitter!

Funding an Internship

CFANS offers multiple Undergraduate Internship Grants, worth up to $1000. These grants offer financial assistance to CFANS students doing an unpaid internship in spring, fall, or summer. This is a competitive grant for which you must apply. Eligibility requirements, application deadlines, and instructions can be found here. Select the CFANS link.

Undergraduate Research Opportunities

The U of M's Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) provides a stipend to undergraduates for special research, scholarly, or creative projects done with a faculty member. You must apply and be accepted into the UROP program. To apply, you'll develop your own research proposal, usually in partnership or with the permission of a faculty member. Applications are accepted twice a year. They're judged on the quality of the proposed project, and on the educational benefit to the student.

More information on UROP and other research opportunities can be found here.

Mentor Program

The CFANS mentor program is an excellent opportunity for students to connect with professionals working in their areas of career interest. Through this relationship students can get an inside view of how various companies and organizations work, how professionals balance life and career and learn how to better prepare for the working world. In the past few years, about 6 FWCB students have been mentored by alumni or other natural resource professionals. We'd love to have dozens of students involved in this program each year.

Careers in FWCB

Learn more about career options for FWCB majors (.pdf).