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Academic Programs:

Sustainability Internship Program

McMaster’s Sustainability Internship Program was created in 2009 by McMaster’s Academic Sustainability Programs Office in collaboration with a group of highly engaged faculty members and their students. The program was developed with the purpose of enabling all students to apply their theoretical knowledge of sustainability to address a real-world problem.

More information about the development of the Sustainability Internship Program can be found in the McMaster 2011 Sustainability Annual Report (pp. 6-7).



The objectives of the Sustainability Internship Program are as follows:

  • Engage all Faculties in working together to provide opportunities for undergraduate students to gain academic credit for experiential learning
  • Support collaboration between students, faculty, staff, and the broader community
  • Highlight the achievements of students who have successfully completed their sustainability internship


Through annual revision and enhancement, the Sustainability Internship Program has been expanded each year for the past seven years and has supported more than 100 students* in experiential learning at McMaster. Starting in 2013, all ASP Annual Reports include a full section highlighting the work of students who have successfully completed their Sustainability Internship. Past reports can be found at


The Sustainability Internship Program is made possible through collaboration with Faculties from across campus with support from faculty, staff, community members, and especially the students who devote their time and energy into self-directed, community-based, and experiential learning about sustainability.

How the Program Works

As an important part of the internship, the student is expected to find both an academic and non-academic supervisor who will help guide their project and support their experiential learning. The supervisors will work with the student to identify discipline concepts, readings, and methods of evaluation related to the specific course for which academic credit will be given. It is expected that the student will lead the project from design to implementation, which not only ensures sustained enthusiasm throughout the program but also ensures that the program satisfies the goals and expectations of the student. Upon successful completion of the stated requirements by both supervisors, a grade is awarded to the student. In cases where full course credit is awarded, the process is completed by the student’s home Faculty.

For further information about the internship program including finer details of the process, timelines, and available resources please visit the Community-Based Experiential Learning Resource Guide.

For information on obtaining academic credit, students can navigate to our page specifically devoted to Academic Credit for the Sustainability Internship Program.

Academic Credit

Undergraduate Students

Undergraduate students have the opportunity to receive academic credit for their participation in the Sustainability Internship Program. Students are encouraged to contact their Faculty to learn about available opportunities.

NOTE: Sustainability internships are non-paid experiential opportunities. Course credit is awarded upon successful completion by the student’s home Faculty. See courses offered by each Faculty, listed below.

Graduate Students 

Graduate students are encouraged to view the Graduate/Undergraduate Collaboration in Experiential Learning (GUCEL) Program, for related opportunities.

Obtaining Academic Credit, by Faculty

Applicable Course: COMMERCE 4EL3 – Experiential Learning in Business

Course Description: This course is defined as a structured experiential learning based project that a student undertakes under the supervision of a faculty member, with the authorization of the Associate Dean (Academic), from the DeGroote School of Business. It may be completed as a team activity or as an independent project / leadership activity. The focus is on developing managerial decision making, project management, resource management and leadership skills in preparation for a career in business.

Contact Information: Please contact the Faculty Office (DSB 104, ext. 24433) to speak with an Academic Advisor

Applicable Course: ENGN MGT 5B03 – Engineering and Management Projects

Course Description: Capstone course: Students work in multidisciplinary teams to solve an integrated engineering and business problem in an organization. Team, project and client management skills are developed.

Contact Information: 
Anna Sciascetti
Engineering & Society/Engineering & Management
905 525-9140 ext. 27679

Applicable Course: ENGSOCTY 4Y03 - Society Capstone Design

Course Description: In multi-disciplinary teams, students will complete a capstone design project that incorporates holistic design, social sustainability, community resilience and aesthetic elements.

Contact Information:
Cameron Churchill
Engineering & Society
905 525-9140 ext. 23179

Applicable Course(s):

Science students wishing to complete a science experiential course are encouraged to contact the Science Career & Cooperative Education office for information about course options.

Students are required to complete an application form, including a detailed learning contract, evaluation criteria, and must secure a Placement Supervisor and an Academic Supervisor. Academic Supervisors must be a faculty member in the Faculty of Science.

All applications are reviewed and approved on an individual basis.

Contact Information: 
Science Career & Cooperative Education, BSB 127

Contact Information:
Ruthanne Talbot 
Programming and Outreach Manager (Experiential Education, Faculty of Social Sciences)
Email address:
KTH 102
(905) 525-9140 ext. 23382

Applicable Course(s): ARTS&SCI 3EE3, 3X03, 4A06, 4C06, 4EE6

Course Descriptions:

Contact information:

Shelley Anderson
Arts & Science Program Administrator
Commons 105
Email address:
(905) 525-9140 ext. 24655

Rebecca Bishop
Arts & Science Program Administrator
Commons 105
Email address:
(905) 525-9140 ext. 23153