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Environmental & Plant Biology Internships

Evan Apt ’15 displays pictures from his internship at the Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden in Florida.
Evan Apt ’15 displays pictures from his internship at the Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden in Florida.

Department Internship Coordinator: Dr. Harvey Ballard

Internships across the United States

  • 28 different types of internships
  • 42+ positions at 21 host institutions
  • 10+ positions in Athens, Nelsonville and Amesville (commuter); 9+ elsewhere in Ohio, 25 outside of Ohio

The Plant Biology Majors Internships Program offers positions with many host institutions in and around Athens, around Ohio and across the United States (including Alaska and Hawaii), and in the Bahamas and Jamaica.

The Department of Environmental & Plant Biology offers "pipeline" plant biology internships with host institutions around the United States, especially for upper-level plant biology majors and minors interested in gaining a comprehensive career experience.

  • PBIO's Plant Biology internships are "pre-package," set aside specifically for Ohio University Plant Biology majors and minors, but with an application and selection process like other internships.
  • Some host institutions have no other internships like these, while others have set aside one of their "competitive application" internship positions for OHIO students until mid-November (when the position would revert back to the usual "competitive" outside applicant pool).

The department has facilitated development of these internships through informal partnerships with the host institutions, in order to make the process of identifying worthwhile and suitable internships easier, and to help ensure uniform high quality in career-oriented internships available to our students. While many internships in this program are additional positions under a broader, pre-existing internships program operated by some host institutions, other internship positions are unique, created specifically for our majors and minors and available only to them.

Many internships are structured especially for "terminal degree" students planning to enter a career directly following graduation. However, students anticipating graduate studies in the future also will benefit from the internships, and all majors and minors are welcome to apply.

Many other paid and unpaid internships and research experiences are available outside of the department?s internships program, and the department can help students identify and apply for these, if none of the department internships suit their needs.

Types of Internships Available

Internships by major:

  • B.S. in Plant Biology—broader or multidisciplinary
  • Applied Plant Biology—agriculture/horticulture, landscaping/exhibits, plant propagation and breeding, food or medicinal gardens
  • Field Ecology—land management, field surveys, biomonitoring, conservation, restoration, nature and environmental education

Many internships include special projects or applied research as part of the experience.

Some institutions have multiple internships in different areas, some have multiple positions for one internship.

Housing, Stipends, Costs

Students generally cover their own travel and living costs of internships, but all sites outside the Athens area provide free or nearly free housing, and a few provide a stipend and/or meals.

Most are unpaid summer internships, but:

  • One in Hawaii, two at organic farms, and one at Vinton Furnace State Forest pay a wage.
  • National Arboretum positions have $4,000 PBIO scholarships to cover living costs.
  • Most are 10-14 weeks, fulltime at 40 hours per week, but a few are negotiable part-time (i.e., commuter positions in Athens area) so that students can maintain a part-time job if needed.
  • All internships outside of Athens area provide free or nearly free on-site housing; Wayne National Forest provides a vehicle; organic farms and Forfar Field Station in the Bahamas provide room and board; and the latter also covers international flight from Fort Lauderdale.
  • Modest scholarships are available for many students from the PBIO Department. In 2015 scholarship disbursement policy gives priority to (1) interns with less in-kind compensation than others, and (2) those with ?remote? internships.

Students with flexibility can take off an academic semester. If financial aid is needed, a student can register for up to 15 Internship (4910) credits and other courses as needed and will receive all typical financial aid during the internship.


  • Participants must be actively enrolled Plant Biology majors or minors throughout the application process and internship
  • Internships are aimed primarily at juniors and seniors. (Sophomores may have sufficient background and skills for a few internships.)

To apply, students should have completed the following:

  • Core and other PBIO courses relevant to the internship
  • Junior composition course
  • At least one semester of undergrad research, or PACE

Regarding eligibility, internships are developed primarily for junior and continuing senior Plant Biology majors and minors, with advanced coursework, skill sets and, in many cases, undergraduate research experience substantial writing and speaking ability assumed by the host institutions. While sophomores are not prohibited from applying, seniors and juniors get priority for placement.

Interested students should certainly study the requirements and qualifications stated by a host institution for a particular internship before applying to it, to be sure the student will meet most or all criteria expected by the institution by the time the internship takes place. Savvy freshmen and sophomores intending to participate in an internship in the future will benefit greatly by ensuring they have taken all core courses as well as advanced ones relevant to particular internships prior to application, including Undergraduate Research (PBIO 4940) and Writing for the Science Researcher (PBIO 4180J).

Priority for positions: (1) junior and senior ?Terminal degree? majors who have not done an internship yet, (2) other juniors and senior majors, and (3) all others.

Application Packet

Contact Us

For more information, or to make suggestions for future internship opportunities, please contact Dr. Harvey Ballard, Internships Coordinator.