Internships and Independent Study


Agricultural Science 495 Internship is a cooperative educational program between the Agricultural Science major in the College of Agricultural Sciences at The Pennsylvania State University and approved employers who furnish facilities and instruction that help students acquire the skills and knowledge needed in their chosen vocation.

Agricultural Science 495 Internship (1-10 credits). Includes independent study and supervised field experience related to the student's professional interest. Limited to Agricultural Science majors. To earn credit for an internship, students must consult with an Agricultural Sciences instructor and complete the internship proposal form below.

Agricultural Sciences 496 Independent Study. Independent Studies are creative projects, including research and design, which are supervised on an individual basis and which fall outside the scope of formal courses. To earn credit for a independent study, students must consult with an Agricultural Sciences instructor and complete the independent study proposal form below.


  • Provide students an opportunity for an off-campus learning experience relevant to their academic program.
  • Permit students to explore their personal interests in depth.
  • Assist students to establish career goals related to their specific interests and professional aspirations.
  • Increase student motivation for their chosen field by integrating classroom instruction with planned and supervised practical experience.
  • Prepare students for employment in an agricultural occupation through professional field experience.
  • Enable students to identify courses needed to prepare for their career goals.


The course is limited to students with at least a fifth semester standing and a cumulative grade point average of 2.00 or higher. Students are encouraged to take this course prior to enrolling in their last college semester.

Successful completion of the following coursework: At least 9 credits in subject area related to internship experience.

Operational Principles

The student internship concept as practiced at Penn State University's College of Agricultural Sciences adheres to the following operational and philosophical principles:

  • That each student intern shall have well defined work activities that are regarded as worthwhile by the cooperating agency with whom the student intern is affiliated, the intern, and the faculty advisor.
  • That each student intern shall develop specific learning objectives that can be readily identified and reviewed periodically throughout the work period.
  • That each student intern shall be supported by an academic advisor, instructor, and a cooperating agency representative. The roles of these support persons are to assist with task identification, learning objectives, carrying out of the task, counseling the student, and carrying through with ideas and projects initiated.
  • That each student intern contract as an independent agent with the cooperating agency to do the work and pursue the learning objectives.
  • That regular meetings be scheduled to permit student-to-agency supervisor and student-to-instructor feedback and accountability.
  • That each student intern assess the worth of the internship experience, produce a mid-semester and final report for the course instructor addressing the items as described in the Ag Science Internship Handbook.

Enrollment Procedures

  • The student must contact their adviser or program coordinator to get a signature on the Internship/ Independent Study Proposal Form for Undergraduate Students to verify that his/her GPA is ≥ 2.0 and that he/ she completed the major-specific required coursework.
  • No later than one month prior to the beginning of the semester in which the internship is to be taken, the student must arrange an interview with a representative of the cooperating agency. The student's adviser, internship faculty supervisor and the site supervisor must determine whether an available position will provide an experience that supports the student's academic and career objectives. Further, they should be assured the student's interests and academic preparation will satisfy the demands of the cooperating agency.
  • On approval of the site supervisor, and with the work description or schedule of anticipated activities, the student will submit the "Internship Proposal Form for AESE" to the office of the internship faculty supervisor. At that time, the Internship agreement will be completed.
  • The student may schedule the course for 1 to 10 credits; the credit is based upon the evaluation of the position by the adviser, employer, and instructor using these criteria:
    • Number of skills to be learned
    • Depth of knowledge required to perform tasks
    • Breadth of skills and knowledge one can acquire that cannot be obtained in the University
    • The individual needs of the learner
    • The amount of time committed to the internship
  • The student will proceed with registration for the course following the registration instructions issued by the University each semester.  The completed Internship Proposal Form for AESE must be submitted to 107 Armsby Building for scheduling.

Students may arrange with the course instructor to register early. These arrangements must be made at least three weeks prior to the regularly scheduled semester registration.


Credits earned from this course can be used as agriculture selections or free electives.


The internship faculty supervisor will determine how a student is graded.

Please visit the college's internship website for possible opportunities.

TIP: Impressing an employer through an internship is a very successful strategy!