Research and Internships

The environmental programs at Sweet Briar offer students an excellent opportunity to conduct research under the supervision of department faculty. Our facilities are unparalleled and totally available for student use.

Kate Macklin ('13) presenting the results of her researchOur students engage in significant environmental research, not projects to keep you busy so you can fulfill a requirement. Our students investigate real environmental issues and address real problems. You will understand the entire process of research through hands-on work and extensive one-on-one interaction with professors. Then, as with any other scientist, you present your results at an off-campus professional meeting along with your peers!

Data from Sweet Briar environmental research has been presented at meetings of the American Geophysical Union, the Association of Southeastern Biologists, the University of Maryland and the Society for Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry.


All environmental studies and environmental science students are required to conduct research for at least one semester or participate in an internship. Selected students are invited to participate in faculty research; all faculty have from one to three research students each semester.

Sweet Briar students conduct environmentally relevant research and often present their data at scientific meetings during the academic year. Recent students have attended meetings at such locations as Baltimore, Washington, Memphis, and Boone, N.C. These students have found such high level of activity to be extremely valuable. Research and faculty interaction are among the advantages of Sweet Briar.

Recent student internships have included work with the National Audubon Society, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Robert E. Lee Soil and Water Conservation District, the Sierra Club and the White House Council on Environmental Quality. Our faculty strongly believe that internships enhance the marketability of our graduates as well as their educational experience. If you plan to go to work after graduation, we recommend you choose the internship option.

Environmental Junior Year/Semester

The Environmental Junior Year enables rising juniors to expand their study of environmental problems by spending all or part of their junior year at one of several universities in different regions of the country. These include the University of California at Santa Barbara; Texas A&M; American University in Washington, D.C.; the University of Washington; Florida State University; Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute; and Duke University's Marine Laboratory in Beaufort, N.C. Other students spend a semester or year overseas with costs partially defrayed by the department.

Recent countries hosting our students have included Australia, Tanzania, Mongolia, Kenya and Costa Rica. We encourage such extended interaction at other institutions, and our programs are designed to make it easy for you to take advantage of these opportunities.