Internships for Sustainable Food & Farming (Campus) Students: 

Looking to intern with a farm or project?

Western Massachusetts is a unique place to study and practice agriculture; there are abundant and diverse local farms, initiatives, and organizations where students can gain valuable hands-on experience!

During the Fall (Sept-Dec) and Spring (early Feb-mid/late May) semesters students can earn credit gaining relevant experience working on/with a farm or organization.  These credits can be applied to a semester total, and students usually are registered for a STOCKSCH 398 Practicum, which can count toward their Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems electives. Practicum classes may be taken pass/fail or for a letter (A, B, C, etc.) grade. A maximum credit load (without override) is 19 credits; if the internship is completed in the fall/spring students typically pursue a 1-4 credit internship in lieu of a course.  If there is consistent mentorship available from the farm/organization and it works with the student’s schedule and learning goals, sometimes students can earn more than 4 credits during the semester. 

What about the Summer and Winter?

Students can earn internship credits during the summer and winter sessions, but in order to do so they must pay about 200$/credit.  For a student with incentive/need to earn credit /a credit ‘deficit’ (certain transfer students or double majors for example) with an interest in the work of the farm/organization this arrangement could be a fine fit!  

However for the 'typical' student, while it surely could provide great experience, internships during summer/winter may have less appeal because in order for students to earn summer credits they have to pay additionally for them. 

How do the credits work?

Summer/Winter: In the summer, one credit = approximately 35-40 hours total/credit up to 9 credits max. We try to be flexible in the summer because we have students working in a variety of settings but that is the general formula we use.  Students are expected to keep track of their own hours.

During the Fall/Spring semester: one credit = approximately 3 hours per week over the semester (some weeks may be more than 3 and others less but the total should be 35 to 40 hours per credit).  For example, a 3 credit internship is apx. 9 hours of work per week. Students are expected to keep track of their own hours.

Where to find an internship?

SSF students find internships in many different ways, often having good luck looking at job board websites independent from the university. Some of our favorites can be found on our Greatest Hits doc. Additionally, we maintain a list of search engines to local, national and international internships on our "Finding Good Work" page.  Check out these examples of previous students' work for inspiration.

Looking at University Job Boards:

  • Stockbridge Career Net lists current positions here on our website that are relevant to Stockbridge students.
  • Handshake is the University-wide system for finding internships. 

How do I get started?

Students will discuss the opportunity with their advisor (Sarah Berquist or Lisa DePiano) and determine how to proceed.  Advisors will recommend a faculty sponsor to oversee the project and facilitate the student enrolling in credits, as protocols vary depending on the term.

Faculty Sponsor Examples:

Role of Faculty Sponsor

Once a project/internship is identified, students complete a contract with their faculty sponsor that outlines the student’s learning goals, timeline, expectations, and the project/reflection to be submitted for a letter grade. See a Sample Contract here.  

The faculty sponsor is responsible for helping students articulate their learning goals and timeline, holding periodic check-ins, and clarifying criteria for the graded project.  Effective internships provide students with a point person/contact at the farm/organization from whom they will receive direction, supervision and mentorship carrying out the day-to-day tasks and work.

Fall/Spring: Faculty sponsor and/or advisor will ensure student is enrolled in credits once contract is completed.

Summer/Winter: Students complete a webform through University Without Walls (UWW) and get billed for the tuition for those summer/winter credits (approx $200/cr).

Some Definitions:

Independent Study - an exploration of a topic of interest that adds value to your education. Generally includes library research and personal interviews with experts. The result of the study is an academic product that may be graded by a faculty sponsor.

Internship - this is an experiential learning opportunity that contributes to your educational or career goals. It may also include library research and/or personal interviews with experts but more often is focused on a work experience. The grade is based on feedback from an on site supervisor, as well as an academic product and/or report.

Practicum - another word for internship.

Apprenticeship - generally this is an internship experience in which the student will pay the instructor a fee for instruction and guidance.