Internships and Theses

The Department of Geography requires every student enrolled in the program leading to the Bachelor of Arts to complete either a Co-op/Internship (GEOG 300) or a senior thesis (GEOG 488). Generally, students who plan to go directly into the workforce should follow the co-op/internship option, while students interested in graduate school are encouraged to write a thesis. In some cases, students may benefit from completing both or completing two internships.

Internships

Co-ops and internships are intended to give students a real-world work experience in a area related to geography. Geography students have completed co-ops and internships with a wide variety of government agencies and private companies. Students should plan their internships for late in the junior year or in the senior year. A student should start looking for an internship at least a year prior to the intended start date, because some government agencies require an application that far in advance.

During the internship, students are off campus approximately 12-15 hours per week (for a total of 180 hours over the semester). Students often find that internships are most successful when remaining classes are scheduled for MWF or TTh. However, the timing of internships may be very flexible. See the list (at the bottom of this page) in which MU Geography students have gained valuable experience. If you would like to talk to a fellow student about their experience, contact your advisor, or any geography professor, and we will try to arrange it.

What is the difference between a co-op and an internship? Not much. The two terms are used interchangeably. 

A student wishing to register for GEOG300 must meet the following conditions:

  1. Declared a Geography major or minor.
  2. Transfer and second degree students must first successfully complete at least 12 credits at MU.
  3. New first-time, undergraduate students must first successfully complete at least 24 credits at MU.
  4. A minimum CGPA and major/minor GPA of at least 2.0 is required.
  5. Have approval from the Department Internship Coordinator, Dr. Kathleen Schreiber, and the Department Chair, Dr. Jessica Kelly.
  6. All credit-bearing internship assignments must be approved by the Dean of the College of Science and Technology.

Choose from the links below to get started.

The Harrisburg Internship Semester

If you are interested in public policy, you have the opportunity to see it in action. By taking part in The...

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Senior Thesis and Honors Thesis

GEOG 488 Senior Thesis, GEOG 489 Honors Thesis and GEOG 498 Independent Study in Geography are three courses available to students majoring in geography. They are not offered as scheduled classes because these are specialized  and unique learning experiences. Please note that another very different possibility is for a student to take a course on an Individualized Instruction basis, which involves taking a course usually offered as a scheduled class, during a semester in which that class is not offered, by working with the professor who usually teaches that course.

      You will have noticed that either GEOG 488 Senior Thesis and GEOG 489 Honors Thesis is an alternative to the co-op/internship experience in the block of capstone experiences required of all majors. While the co-op/internship experience gives you real-world experiences in a working environment, and is the best choice for students who will be seeking employment upon graduation, either the senior thesis or the co-op/internship experiences are well-suited to students intending to pursue graduate studies. Completing a thesis usually appeals to students who want to enter a more academically intensive graduate program and who may have thoughts of eventually pursuing a doctoral degree, while the co-op/internship appeals to students looking for a more practical or “applied” geography master program.

      The purpose of completing a thesis is to give you the experience of writing a complete research paper in which a significant part of your background work on the paper involves becoming acquainted with a body of professional literature in geography or a related discipline agreed to by your supervising professor. Your research will involve data collection and analysis, fieldwork or other basic research tasks as well. While the scope of your senior thesis project will not be as broad as the scope of a graduate thesis or dissertation, it will be much more thorough than that involved in writing a research paper for any other course. For these reasons, GEOG488 or GEOG489 may count for Advanced Writing (AW) credits as part of the general education requirement.

      For GEOG 488 Senior Thesis, the research should be done over two consecutive terms. During the first term, you should sign up for one credit with a faculty adviser who would supervise your bibliographic research on a thesis topic and your preparation of a detailed proposal for departmental approval. During the second term, you would earn two credits for undertaking the research project and writing the thesis. Department faculty will accept, reject, or call for revisions in the submitted thesis.

      To complete GEOG 489 Honors Thesis, you must have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 and the endorsement of a faculty member. The program generally consist of two to four semesters of supervised tutorial work, reading, self-instruction, creative inquiry and research, which culminates in the production of a thesis or project. One to four credits may be earned for each of the departmental honors courses (see specific departments’ requirements). Grades in these courses are determined by the faculty supervisor and departmental committee. The honors thesis is examined by and orally defended before the departmental committee. A grade of B- or better must be earned. The honors thesis is then presented to the Honors and Awards Committee for review. Titles of completed works are published in the commencement program.

  • Internships Held by MU Geography Students
    Alphabetical Listing by Employer

     

    Employer Position
    Adecco-Fairless Hills  
    Advanced Geoservices Corp  
    Aevidum Spatial Manager
    Alaska State Parks Volunteer Trail Crew
    Baltimore County Department of Recreation and Parks  
    Berks County Conservancy  
    Berks County Conservation District  
    Berks County Planning Commission (Reading) Intern
    Biodiversity Group Recruitment and Fund Raising Intern
    Capital RC&D Area Council Survey Intern
    Center for Geographic Information  
    Central American Relief Efforts Intern
    Chesapeake Bay Foundation Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program
    Chester County GIS Department GIS Intern
    Chester County Health Department Intern
    Chuck Powers Intern
    Church World Service-Prime UAS Reception & Placement Intern
    City of Key West Planning Intern
    City of Lancaster Housing & Neighborhood Development Intern
    Clean Water Action Project (Phila.) Intern
    Clinton Co. Conservation District Office Conservation Technical Assistant
    Coalition for Smart Growth Intern
    Codorus State Park Park Aid
    Community Action Program  
    Cornell University Research Intern
    Delaware Co. Office of Housing and Community Development Intern
    Donnelley GeoSystems, Inc. GIS Intern
    Dove Christian Fellowship Int'l Intern
    Earth Engineering Inc. Intern
    ELA Group Business Development Analyst
    Elite Coach Tour Group/Operations Intern
    Ephrata Borough Electrical Utility GIS Technician
    Funk's Farm Market Assistant to Aquatic Supervisor
    Gary M Flood, PLS  
    Geographit GIS Technician
    Greater Plymouth Community Center  Arts, Craft, Nature & Science Specialist
    HACC Arboretum  Mapper
    Harrisburg City Bureau of Planning Planning Intern
    Hawk Mountain Sanctuary Association Conservation Intern
    Herbert, Rowland and Grubic, Inc. GIS Intern
    Housing Development Corp. Intern
    Hunterdon County Division of GIS (New Jersey) GIS Technician
    Iron Compass Map Co. GIS Intern
    James Buchanan Foundation-Wheatland  
    James Street Improvement District Planning & Economic Development Intern
    KCI Technologies Engineering Intern
    Kleinschmidt Association  
    Koch's Nursery Company  
    Lancaster Campaign  
    Lancaster County Board of Assessment Appeals  
    Lancaster County Conservancy Stewardship Crew & Special Project Intern
    Lancaster County Emergency Management Agency Emergency Planning Assistant
    Lancaster County GIS Department GIS Intern/Mapping Section Intern
    Lancaster County Parks & Recreation Park Naturalist Intern
    Lancaster County Parks--Environ Center Environmentalist
    Lancaster County Planning Commission Historic Pres. Intern
    Lancaster County Planning Commission Advance Planning Intern
    Lancaster County Planning Commission Traffic Counting Technician
    Lancaster County Planning Commission Countywide Planning Intern
    Lancaster County Planning Commission GIS Technician
    Lancaster County Planning Commission Transportation Intern
    Lancaster County Solid Waste Management Authority Intern
    Lancaster County Wide Communications MSAG/GIS/CAD Intern
    Lancaster Farmland Trust Farmland Preservation Field Intern
    Lancaster Inter-Municipal Committee ORI Analyst Inter/GIS Team Leader
    Landis Valley Museum  
    Landstudies  
    Lebanon County Soil Conservation Service Intern
    Little Brook Orchids Commercial Greenhouse Asst. Intern
    LIVE Green Community Service Intern
    Lower Paxton Township Community Development Manager
    Lower Pottsgrove Township Intern
    Manheim Boro Code Compliance Intern
    Mapquest  
    Marple Township Intern to Building Inspector
    Martin O'Connell Associates Intern
    Maryland Nat'l Capitol Park& Plan. Comm. Intern
    Matthew & Hockley Associates (Lebanon) Draftsperson
    Mifflin County Department of Public Safety Intern
    Minder's Nursery Intern
    Montgomery County Planning Commission  
    MU Development Office GIS Implementer
    MU Disaster Research Center Research Assistant
    MU Ganser Library Geographic Information Systems Intern
    MU Geography Department Field Research Intern
    MU Geography Department GIS Project Assistant
    Muddy Run Environmental Education Center Environmental Ed.Intern
    National Aquarium in Baltimore, MD Aquarium Intern
    Nature Conservancy-Annville  
    Nature Conservancy-Conshohocken  
    Nolde Forest Environmental Education Center Environmental Ed.Intern
    North Museum of Natural History and Science  
    Nuteam, Inc  
    Paradise Township Intern/Comp. Plan
    Penn's Trail Environmental Intern
    Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (Harrisburg) Forest Insect Pest Aide
    Pennsylvania Department of Conservation/Natural Resources State Park Intern
    Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Environmental Protection Intern
    Engineering, Scientific & Technical Intern
    Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection, Bureau of Waterways Engineering  Intern
    Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection, Mapping and GIS division GIS intern
    Pennsylvania Environmental Resource Consortium Sustainability Information Intern
    Pennsylvania Parks & Forests Foundation Intern
    Pennsylvania Dept. of Transportation Intern
    Pequea Township Planning Intern
    Perkiomen Waterhead Conservancy Conservation Intern
    Promised Land Farm Sustainable Agriculture Intern
    Philadelphia Water Development Intern
    Promised Land Farm Sustainable Agriculture Intern
    Schuylkill Haven Borough Intern
    Shadowlight Group  
    Susquehanna Aquacultures, Inc. (York Haven) Intern
    Rettew Associates GIS Intern
    Ten Thousand Villages  
    The Body Shop Sales Leader
    The Nature Conservancy, Phila. Region (Lanc.) Stewardship Intern
    Tier De Inc  
    Township of Whitehall Bureau of Planning, Zoning & Development Intern
    Traffic Planning and Design, Inc  
    Trexler Lehigh County Game Preserve  
    Union County Planning Commission  
    United Water PA GIS Engineer Assistance
    United Way of York County SecureCorps Volunteer
    U.S. Army Corp of Engineers Intern
    US Geological Survey  
    Wayne County Department of Planning  
    West Lampeter Township Community Development Intern
    Wetlands Institute  
    Wildlife Managers, Inc. Intern
    Work and Travel Company  
    York County Planning Department Intern
    York County Rail Trail Authority Trail Development Intern
  • Internships by Employer Type

    Local and County Government

    • Baltimore County Department of Recreation and Parks
    • Berks County Conservancy
    • Berks County Conservation District
    • Berks County Planning Commission (Reading)
    • Chester County GIS Department
    • Chester County Health Department
    • City of Lancaster
    • Ephrata Borough Electrical Utility
    • Harrisburg City Bureau of Planning
    • Hunterdon County Division of GIS
    • Lancaster County Board of Assessment Appeals
    • Lancaster County Conservancy
    • Lancaster County Emergency Management Agency
    • Lancaster County GIS Department
    • Lancaster County Parks & Recreation
    • Lancaster County Planning Commission
    • Lebanon County Soil Conservation Service
    • Lower Pottsgrove Township
    • Manheim Boro
    • Maryland Nat'l Capitol Park& Plan. Comm.
    • Montgomery County Planning Commission
    • Paradise Township
    • Pequea Township
    • Trexler Lehigh County Game Preserve
    • Union County Planning Commission
    • York County Planning Department

    State and Federal Government

    Nonprofit & Educational

    • Clean Water Action Project (Phila.)
    • Center for Geographic Information
    • Community Action Program
    • Dove Christian Fellowship Int'l
    • Greater Plymouth Community Center
    • Housing Development Corp.
    • James Buchanan Foundation-Wheatland
    • Lancaster Campaign
    • Lancaster Farmland Trust
    • MU Disaster Research Center
    • Nature Conservancy-Annville
    • Nature Conservancy-Conshohocken
    • Nolde Forest Environmental Education Center
    • North Museum of Natural History and Science
    • The Nature Conservancy, Phila. Region (Lanc.)
    • Wildlife Managers, Inc.

    Private companies

    • Adecco-Fairless Hills
    • Advanced Geoservices Corp
    • Gary M Flood, PLS
    • Iron Compass Map Co.
    • Kleinschmidt Association
    • Koch's Nursery Company
    • Landstudies
    • Mapquest
    • Martin O'Connell Associates
    • Matthew & Hockley Associates (Lebanon)
    • Minder's Nursery
    • Nuteam, Inc.
    • Shadowlight Group
    • Ten Thousand Villages
    • Tier De Inc
    • Traffic Planning and Design, Inc
    • Work and Travel Company