Field Programs and Internships

Many UC Santa Cruz students complement their major programs with field experience or internships, which also provide opportunities to become involved in public service activities in the local community and throughout the world. Most of the field programs described below are open to students in a range of majors, although some are restricted to students pursuing a designated area of study. Students in all majors may apply for internships sponsored by the Career Center.

In addition to the off-campus placements provided by the programs described below, independent field study opportunities are available through some UCSC colleges and departments.

Chancellor’s Undergraduate Internship Program (CUIP)

The Chancellor's Undergraduate Internship Program (CUIP) provides on-campus internships in programs and departments throughout UC Santa Cruz. Interns work with a mentor to develop personal and professional skills and take a leading role in producing projects. A two-unit leadership seminar class is required for fall, winter, and spring quarters. A scholarship of $8,200 is paid toward the intern’s registration fees for the academic year.

Community Studies Field-Study Program

Community Studies is the oldest interdisciplinary undergraduate degree program at UCSC. Its hallmarks are a focus on social justice and a distinctive pedagogy that integrates classroom learning and an extended six-month field study. Not only is full-time field study a requirement of the major, it is the centerpiece of a core curriculum through which students prepare for, then immerse themselves in a setting where they participate in and analyze the social justice work of an organization. Upon return from field study, students integrate topical and experiential learning in a capstone project (usually a senior essay) that uses their field notes as a key source for analysis.

With the guidance of faculty and staff advisors, community studies students choose field placements related to one of the program’s areas of focus in economic justice and health justice. Placements have included community health clinics, women’s and feminist organizations, immigrant-rights centers, media and policy advocacy organizations, homeless resource and support groups, sustainable development projects, queer and transgender organizations, neighborhood or workers’ collectives, civil rights groups, community food security programs, legal clinics, community-based cultural organizations, programs for seniors, tenant or labor unions, HIV/AIDS advocacy groups, harm reduction programs, government agencies and the offices of elected officials, and many other organizations committed to working for social justice. As political, economic, cultural and technological landscapes shift, so do the needs and opportunities for social justice organizing. Throughout its history Community Studies has been noteworthy for being attuned and responsive to innovative in field-study opportunities in a changing world.

The practical experience gained from the six-month field study, combined with their topical learning, provides graduates with many choices. About half go on to graduate or professional study in education, urban studies, public health, public administration, social work, planning, law, policy studies, medicine, nursing, or academic disciplines like sociology, anthropology, and politics. Others enter the work world directly, in many cases continuing with non-profit agencies like those in which they did their field study. Community Studies graduates are social entrepreneurs, community organizers, program directors, public officials, teachers, therapists, librarians, social workers, news directors, union officials, labor organizers, forest management consultants, reporters, youth workers, and artists. According to a recent alumni survey, almost 100 alumni have founded nonprofit social justice organizations, and many more have served on nonprofit boards and/or in executive director positions.

The field study program is open to Community Studies majors only. The entire major usually takes two years to complete. For more information, see the Community Studies website.

Economics Field-Study Program

The Economics Department offers its majors the opportunity to integrate their academic knowledge with career-related work. The field-study program places students in internships under the supervision of a faculty sponsor and a professional in the workplace. Students can select from a wide variety of field placements such as accounting firms, community nonprofits, government agencies, brokerage firms, marketing agencies, banks, and businesses in Santa Cruz and beyond. Students apply and prepare for field study a quarter in advance. Acceptance into the field-study program is determined by academic standing, class level, and successful completion of Economics 100A, 100B, and 113 (see Economics courses). Students may earn a maximum of 10 credits and complete up to two quarters in a field placement.

Along with the training and supervision by a professional in the workplace, students receive guidance from a faculty sponsor who directs their academic project. Completion of this project and the job supervisor's evaluation of performance earn the student credit. Economics Field Study (Economics 193 or 198, see Economics courses) does not satisfy an upper-division requirement for the major and is available on a passing/not passing (P/NP) basis only.

Further information is available from the Economics Field Study Office, 402 Engineering 2 Bldg.; by phone at (831) 459-5028; or by email at

Environmental Studies Field and Internship Program

Open to all UCSC students, the Environmental Studies Field and Internship Program is an integral academic component of the environmental studies major, and it augments the research and professional development of undergraduate students (see Environmental Studies). Interns are placed, individually and in groups, in both on-campus and off-campus agencies, where their work often results in publications and resource documents, and in many cases serves as the primary basis for policy formation within a particular agency or organization. Placements have included research for small businesses; learning all aspects of running an organic farm; writing policy documents for state agencies, nongovernmental organizations, and planning departments; assignments as natural history interpretive guides for state and national parks; and apprentice positions with consultants, architects, solar-energy designers, agroecologists, and teachers. Student intern placements are also obtainable working with coffee growers, teachers, and agricultural specialists in Costa Rica, Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Mexico.

Part- and full-time placements are available, and students may receive two to 15 course credits for their work. Each student’s placement is supervised by a team of supporters: a faculty advisor, field sponsor, and the internship coordinator. Students spend 12 to 15 hours each week on their assignments for every 5 credits they receive.

Internships and fieldwork are designed to complement a student’s coursework and are available for both lower- and upper-division credit. Often, the internship leads to a summer job or employment after graduation. Qualified environmental studies majors may undertake a senior internship to fulfill the department’s comprehensive requirement. In addition, internships provide a fieldwork component for some environmental studies courses. Undergraduates are also afforded ample opportunities to intern on faculty and graduate-student research projects.

Further information is available from the Environmental Studies Field and Internship Program Office, 491 Interdisciplinary Sciences Building, (831) 459-2104, email: More information is available at

The Everett Program (formerly the Global Information Internship Program)

The Everett Program is focused on connecting the university to community partners on a global scale. It supports social change using the tools of technology, social entrepreneurship, and research.

The Everett Program recruits highly motivated and innovative students who are committed to developing social enterprises and contributing to social justice and environmental sustainability movements at the global and local levels. The program consists of three quarters of rigorous classes, practical technology labs, and project labs. It empowers students to focus their passion for social change by teaching them how to research, plan, design, fund, implement, and evaluate projects in collaboration with community change agents, using information and communication tools. Students are supported and encouraged to participate in outside-of-class trainings, competitions, outside grants, and opportunities to connect with the Everett alumni network.

Everett-sponsored students have worked with Muslim feminists in Malaysia, coffee farmer co-ops in Central America, democracy-advocating NGOs in Ghana, and aspiring high school students in Watsonville. For more information, see As managers of the program, past students who have become Everett Fellows also facilitate peer-to-peer technology and project labs throughout the year. These focus on training students in valuable skills such as participatory mapping, website and graphic design, digital video storytelling, social media campaigns, and robotic programming. The Everett Program’s year-long series is interdisciplinary and counts as an upper-division elective for several social science majors. It also serves as a foundation for the major and minor in global information and social enterprise studies (GISES), which is sponsored by the Department of Sociology. For more information on the GISES and Intensive Sociology major and minor, please see Sociology Department Majors and Minors.

Fieldwork in Education Programs

The M.A. in Education/California SB 2042 Preliminary Teacher Credential program provides students with necessary credential preparation for K–12 teaching in the California public schools. Preparation is offered for the Multiple Subject Preliminary credential (typically Grades K–6), and the Single Subject Preliminary credential (typically Grades 7–12) in the following subject areas: English, math, social science, and science. Credential students may also pursue a Bilingual Authorization in Spanish. Students pursuing the Education M.A./California Preliminary Credential must complete a three-quarter student teaching course sequence. Student teaching placements are restricted to enrolled students. The student-teaching sequence consists of five courses: Education 200, 201, 202A, 202B, and 202C. Fall and winter quarters of the sequence involve part-time placements in public schools in Santa Cruz County, Monterey County, and Santa Clara County. Spring quarter is a full-time experience in which student teachers take over full responsibility for the daily instructional program of the classroom in which they are placed. Substantial fieldwork in K–12 classrooms is also incorporated in other courses required for the teaching credential.

The minor in education is an undergraduate program in which students explore the history of educational thought and philosophy; the politics and economics of education, learning theory, and pedagogy; and issues of cultural and linguistic diversity related to schooling. As a part of the six-course minor sequence, students engage in field study in local schools through Education 180, Introduction to Teaching.

For more information, contact the Education Department, 1280 McHenry Library Building, (831) 459-4102, or

Health Sciences Internship Program

A requirement of the Human Biology major, the Health Sciences Internship Program offers students a unique opportunity for personal growth and professional development. Paired with a professional mentor, students spend one quarter interning in a health-related setting. Placement opportunities cover a broad range, from individual physicians to community clinics and hospitals, hospices, non-profits, and public health agencies. The Health Sciences Internship coordinator works with students to prepare them for their internship and maintains a list of appropriate placements. Junior and senior human biology majors only are eligible to apply. Applications are due two quarters in advance. For further information, contact the Health Sciences Internship Coordinator at

Latin American and Latino Studies Field-Study and Internship Opportunities

All Latin American and Latino Studies majors are strongly encouraged to undertake either (1) a field study in Latin America, the Caribbean, or a Latino/a community in the U.S.; or (2) formal academic study abroad through the UC Education Abroad Program (UCEAP). These paths are the best ways to improve language skills, explore the nature and direction of specific academic and career interests in relation to Latin American and Latino studies, and deepen cross-cultural understanding and relationships based on personal experience.

Field studies comprise independent, community-based study projects for academic credit, done under faculty sponsorship and arranged on an individual basis. Students can do full-time field study for one quarter for full academic credit, part-time field study scheduled in conjunction with formal coursework at UCSC, or field study as an extension of the UC Education Abroad Program (UCEAP). Projects vary widely, but students who want to develop a field-study proposal are expected to prepare for it by acquiring fluency in the appropriate language, prior cross-cultural experience, and upper-division coursework on the region and/or topic that is to be the focus of the study.

Students who wish to pursue a full-time field study are advised to speak with their faculty advisor to assess their eligibility and preparation, as well as to receive needed guidance, ideally a quarter or two in advance.

Many of the students who have done full-time field study have developed a senior thesis based on that work. Students who pursue a part-time field study are highly encouraged to discuss their plan with their faculty advisor as well.

Local opportunities for internships and field study in Latino/a communities on California’s Central Coast are numerous. Credit for up to three upper-division courses may be applied toward the major from field study; however, course credit from field study and study abroad combined may not exceed three upper-division courses. Students should check the Latin American and Latino Studies Department website for further information regarding the field-study process and course credit. A listing of local field-study programs and petition forms are available at the LALS Department office, 32 Merrill Academic Building.

For more information, contact the LALS office at

Psychology Field-Study Program

The Psychology Field-Study Program provides qualified students an opportunity to integrate what they have learned in the classroom with direct service to a community agency. Each year, more than 200 students develop new skills and clarify personal and professional goals by working as interns in schools, criminal justice programs, and mental health and other social service agencies, where they are supervised by a professional within that organization. Psychology faculty members sponsor field-study students, helping them to synthesize their intern experience with psychology coursework and guiding them through an academic project.

Junior and senior psychology majors in good academic standing are eligible to apply for this competitive program. There is a minimum commitment of two quarters. Interested students should attend an information meeting, held every quarter, for a general overview and application. The schedule for each quarter is posted at the start of instruction. For more information, visit the Psychology Field Study Program website.

University of California Center Sacramento

The University of California Center Sacramento offers students a chance to spend a quarter fully immersed in legislative and/or community service programs in the state capital. Students intern a minimum of 24 hours per week in the Assembly, Senate, Governor’s Office, and with state agencies and nonprofit organizations. They also enroll in related courses taught at the UC Sacramento Center one block from the Capitol Building. Students live with other UC campus participants in a living and learning community. This opportunity is available to students from any major and is open to undergraduate and graduate students. For information, see the UCSC Career Center website.

The University of California Center Sacramento offers students a chance to spend a quarter fully immersed in legislative and/or community service programs in the state capital. Students intern a minimum of 24 hours per week in the Assembly, Senate, Governor’s Office, and with state agencies and nonprofit organizations. They also enroll in related courses taught at the UC Sacramento Center one block from the Capitol Building. Students live with other UC campus participants in a living and learning community. This opportunity is available to students from any major and is open to undergraduate and graduate students. For information, see the UCSC Career Center website