Graduate Internships: A Faculty Guide


IAS graduate students have the opportunity to conduct internships with non-profit organizations, public agencies, companies, institutions, and UW campus units as a means of gaining practical experience while fulfilling elective credits.  In addition to fulfilling the functions of the internship position, students seeking academic credit are responsible for completing a specified number of hours, establishing a set of learning goals, and submitting an academic product.
Students are responsible for securing internships and may apply for advertised positions or design an internship in collaboration with an internship site.  The Graduate Office is available to help students locate options and negotiate relationships.
Elective internship course offerings include:
MACS: BCULST 520, Internship (2-5 credits, max 10)
MAPS: BPOLST 520, Policy Internship (2-5 credits, max 10)
MFA: BCWRIT 520, Internship (2-5 credits, max 5)

The Faculty Internship Supervisor/Advisor

A key role in the internship process is the Faculty Internship Supervisor/Advisor.  This person oversees the academic components of the internship. Students are responsible for recruiting this advisor and should consider faculty members’ research areas and backgrounds as they relate to the context of the internship site. First consideration should be given to faculty members within the students’ respective graduate program, although other IAS faculty members may be considered.  If students are unsure of whom to approach, the Graduate Office is available to provide recommendations. 
The Faculty Internship Supervisor/Advisor assists the student in developing his/her Internship Agreement, a contract which outlines several facets of the internship, including but not limited to:
a) an applicable number of credits, based on the ratio of 3‐5 hours/week per credit during one 10‐week quarter:
- 6-10 hours/week or 60-100 hours total = 2 credits
- 9-15 hours/week or 90-150 hours total = 3 credits
- 12-20 hours/week or 120-200 hours total = 4 credits
- 15-25 hours/week or 150-250 = 5 credits
c) an academic product due at the completion of the internship. The academic product should provide clear benefits to a student’s learning, the internship site, and the University of Washington.

What to Expect: Process Steps

As a prospective Faculty Internship Supervisor/Advisor, a student may approach you to advise his/her internship.  Should you accept this assignment, here is a list of activities to anticipate.  The student is responsible for initiating and completing all requirements of the internship.
1. Student writes a preliminary draft of his/her internship agreement to share with you for input.
2. You review the draft to ensure that the number of credits is appropriate, the learning goals reflect skills and knowledge areas relevant to your program’s academic aims, and that the academic product meets graduate-level rigor.
3. Once you and the student have arrived at a final version of the agreement, this document is shared with the student’s Internship Site Supervisor for additional input.
4. The final agreement should be approved by the student, Faculty Advisor, and Site Supervisor.  Approval is demonstrated by each party physically signing a hard copy of the document or each party emailing their approval to the Graduate Office ( All parties should retain an electronic or hard copy of the agreement.
5. Once the IAS Graduate Office receives all approvals, the Graduate Program Advisor emails the student your faculty code for registration.  You will be copied on this message.
6. During the internship, you will liaise with the student as needed; however, it is recommended that you and the student establish regular check in points.  You may also consider arranging a meeting with the student and Site Supervisor to learn more about the site and the student’s learning process.
7. At the conclusion of the internship, the student submits the academic product to you.
8. The student is responsible for facilitating the completion of two additional forms:
During the final two weeks of the quarter, the student asks his/her Site Supervisor to complete an Intern Evaluation form and meets with this person for an in-person review.  The form is intended to serve as a conversation tool for reviewing the student’s strengths, accomplishments, and growing edges.  The student should then submit this form to you and arrange a similar conversation with you.  You may use this form to inform your student’s grade of NC/CR.
This form is submitted to the Graduate Office only.  It allows the student to reflect on his/her overall experience with the internship.  Feedback is confidential and only reviewed by graduate staff to inform future engagement with the internship site and the overall internship process.
9. At the end of the quarter, IAS Alumni and Community Relations Manager Lisa Olason will contact the Internship Site Supervisor to establish an ongoing connection with IAS and to explore further opportunities for engagement.

Special considerations: Summer internships

IAS graduate students have the option of conducting internships for elective credit during Summer quarter.  Students interested in this option are advised by the Graduate Office to secure faculty advisors and internship agreement/proposal approvals before the conclusion of Spring quarter.  Because many faculty members are off-contract during summer and unavailable to advise, students must locate a Faculty Internship Supervisor/Advisor who is accessible during this period.  The Graduate Office can assist students in locating available advisors; however, the viability of an internship is contingent on locating an appropriate match.

Cultural Studies and Policy Studies only: At the discretion of his/her Faculty Internship Supervisor/Advisor, a student may conduct his/her internship during the summer and complete the academic product during the fall, registering for Fall quarter academic credit.  This allows the student to take advantage of Fall tuition rates, which are the same for 7-18 credits.  The student may only begin accruing hours toward his/her internship once the agreement/proposal is approved by all parties and submitted to the Graduate Office.

Cultivating an Internship Site

Students: Learn more about how to locate and cultivate a good internship opportunity


For Internship Sites

Potential internship sites and site supervisors should refer to the Internship Site Guide and contact the IAS Graduate Office with questions about hosting an intern.


For organizations looking to create an internship for IAS graduate students, please refer to our guide for Developing a Graduate Internship.