The Department of Horticulture requires that all undergraduates complete an internship or work experience, or a research project in a horticulture-related position, before graduation. This must be preapproved by the Academic Advisor and the Internship Committee Chair. Financial assistance for internship expenses such as travel and lodging, and to supplement income for low or non-paying internships, is available through the E.R. Jackman Internship Support Program.

Completing an internship provides students with the opportunity to gain practical experience while receiving credit for their work. We are unable to award credit or financial assistance for internships falling under this university policy: During the internship, students apply the science and theory that they have learned in courses to real world situations.

How to Complete the Internship Process

  1. Make arrangements for a position. Numerous jobs and internships are listed each year in the Internship Database, Handshake website managed by the OSU Career Development Center, and emailed to students on our listserv. These positions range from local area summer jobs to 6 and 9 month internships offered all over the U.S. and in international settings. Talking with students and faculty is also a good way to find out about potential internships. You are welcome to set up your own internship but it must first be approved by the Academic Advisor and Internship Committee Chair.
  2. Submit an Intent Form. The intent form is an agreement among you, your employer, and the Department of Horticulture. If you have questions about whether or not a particular job meets the criteria for the internship program, please see the Academic Advisor. The Internship Committee will be the final judge on whether or not a prospective job qualifies. You must submit a completed Intent Form to the Academic Advisor before you start the internship. If we don't have a completed Intent Form in our files by then, your work experience will not count as an internship.
  3. Work the minimum time required for completion of the internship. Students must complete a minimum of 360 hours of internship. These hours may be completed over any time period and don’t need to be continuous. 
  4. Register for HORT 410. By completing 360 hours, you are eligible for 12 credits of HORT 410. You are permitted, however, to enroll in only 6 credits of HORT 410, to minimize your costs. Enrollment in a minimum of 6 credits of HORT 410 is required for completion of your degree. Enrollment in the HORT 410 credits does not need to be done during the time of the internship – HORT 410 credits may be taken before or after your internship is performed and may be distributed across multiple terms. The Academic Advisor will assist you in scheduling your internship credits. 
  5. Submit an internship report. Your internship grade is the grade given to your internship report. Be sure to carefully follow the guidelines given in the Report Grading Rubric. All students should also submit a completed Student Evaluation Form and a completed Employer Evaluation Form. Reports and completed forms are due the fifth Friday of the next term after you finish working. For example, someone working over the summer will turn their paper in the fifth Friday of fall term. Reports must be handed in by the deadline or you will lose points.
  6. Receive your grade. If you register for HORT 410 before you actually do your internship, or before you complete and submit the internship report in time for a grade to be given that term, you will receive an incomplete grade which will be removed as soon as your final internship grade is determined. The incomplete grade will be an INC/F and will roll over to the F grade after one year! Therefore, it's generally best to not enroll in HORT 410 until you've completed the internship and the report is, or will soon be completed. There are situations, however, where it may be to your financial benefit to register for HORT 410 ahead of time - be sure to discuss this with your advisor for their guidance. 

How is the Internship Graded?

After completion of the work experience and submission of the reports and evaluations described above, the Internship Committee will convene and distribute reports to faculty members that best match the internship area (e.g. turfgrass, nursery, landscape, viticulture, etc.). Reports will be assessed by faculty according to the Report Grading Rubric and awarded a letter grade (A to F). The Internship Committee will be the final judge on whether or not the student has fulfilled the internship requirements.

Note: Students who quit early or are released from their employment will not receive credit.

Student Internship Responsibilities

Students will be expected to:

  • Provide their own room, board, and transportation associated with the job if necessary.
  • Conduct themselves in a manner befitting the program, the Department of Horticulture, and Oregon State University.
  • Use the training experience to increase their knowledge of the horticultural industry and its practices.
  • Apply themselves well to assigned work and responsibilities, demonstrate a positive attitude and provide an objective evaluation of the work experience, the employer, and the program.

Employer Internship Responsibilities

Employer Cooperators will be expected to:

  • Pay a reasonable wage scale for the type of work involved. When possible, it is appropriate for the employer to provide assistance with transportation, room and board, or other benefits. The employer should consider employment of students an investment in the future of the horticulture industry.
  • Provide the student an opportunity for a meaningful work and learning experience. Particularly useful internship work experiences are those which provide diverse experiences which give students an overview and appreciation of various aspects of the operation or business. For example, where applicable, the employer should expose the student to all phases of the operation, familiarize him or her with special techniques and equipment, business aspects, financing, personnel management, and more.
  • Conduct periodic discussions and reviews with the student during the course of employment, informing him or her about job performance and willingness to work on various job assignments.
  • Make suggestions to the Department of Horticulture for program improvement and implementation.

Internship FAQs

IE3 Global Internships

IE3 Global Internships is OSU's international internship program, which allows students to explore their professional goals and career paths in an international context. The program can be a bridge between a student’s academic experience at OSU and future employment or studies in a graduate or professional school. IE3 Global offers internships at over 100 different organizations in 50 countries from New Zealand to South Africa to Chile. Internships are available in a variety of private sector companies, nonprofit organizations, and educational institutions around the world and within a variety of fields and academic focuses, including viticulture and horticulture. Participating students can earn up to 12 academic credits and are eligible for financial aid to help cover costs.

Objectives of the Internship Program

Experience working in a horticultural or closely related industry
Critically analyze horticultural business operations
Develop manual skills - use equipment, learn techniques, etc.
Develop confidence and leadership ability while working with others
Determine whether a student has a real interest in the field
Develop personal contact with leaders in the industry
Develop job placement opportunities
Apply theory to actual work experience
Identify gaps in the student's own educational program
Prepare a personal resume and experience aspects of seeking employment, such as interviewing
Earn 6 or 12 credit hours towards graduation (HORT 410)