Program Curriculum



As a Policy Studies student, you have the opportunity to conduct an internship with a non-profit organization, public agency, company, or campus unit to gain practical experience during your course of study. If you are seeking credit for your internship, you will be responsible for completing a specified number of hours and an academic, policy-related product, in addition to fulfilling the functions of your position. Your academic product should provide clear benefits to your learning, the internship site, and the University of Washington. Once you’ve completed the following prerequisites: BPOLST 500: Policy Process and BPOLST 502: Statistics for Policy Studies,* you are eligible to register for 2-5 credits of  BPOLST 520, the internship course, during a given quarter. Students may earn up to 10 credits of BPOLST 520 during the Policy Studies program.  Please note: BPOLST 520 credits do not count toward your 10 required BPOLST course-based elective credits.

Below is an overview of the entire internship process, and all documents referenced may be found in the focus box on the right side of this page.

Exploring and applying for internships

  1. Begin exploring and applying for internships 4-6 weeks in advance of the first day of the quarter in which you wish to receive academic credit.  In addition, please notify the Graduate Office of your intent to conduct an internship during this timeframe.
  2. You may have a particular internship opportunity in mind, and if so, go ahead and apply.  If you do not, begin researching internship options through various sources, including: UWB Career News, HuskyJobs, Idealist, InternMatch, Craigslist, etc.
  3. Some organizations are not overtly recruiting interns but are open to co-creating an internship once they understand the skills and expertise you have to offer. The Graduate Office is available for consultation on approaching organizations that align with your academic interests.

Preparing for your internship

  1. While searching and applying for internships, consider who might serve as your Faculty Advisor. Ideally, this person will have expertise related to the sector and/or context of the internship site, and s/he may be your Capstone Advisor.  First consideration should be given to Policy Studies faculty members, although other IAS faculty members may be considered.  The Graduate Office is available to provide suggestions on advisors.
  2. While in the search and application process, talk to potential Faculty Advisor(s) about serving in this capacity and secure a commitment. Please note: If you are interested in conducting an internship during Summer quarter, many faculty members will be off-contract and not available.  Therefore, it is advised that you start these conversations 4-6 weeks in advance of Summer quarter. Additionally, if you plan to conduct an internship during Fall quarter, you should contact potential Faculty Advisors before the end of Spring quarter, as faculty members may not be available to consider advising until mid-September.
  3. Once your internship site and Faculty Advisor have been secured, notify the Graduate Office of this arrangement.
  4. Work with your Faculty Advisor to complete your Internship Agreement, which outlines the following:

    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

    b) a set of learning goals (see Examples: Learning Goals and Academic Products)

    c) an academic product due at the completion of the internship (see Examples: Learning Goals and Academic Products)
  5. Share a draft of your Internship Agreement with your Site Supervisor for review and input. Be sure to discuss potential confidentiality issues associated with your academic product, and agree on its public nature (options outlined in the Internship Agreement).
  6. The final version of your Internship Agreement should be signed by you, your Faculty Advisor, and your Site Supervisor.  In lieu of actual signatures, you and your advisors may email agreement with this document to the Graduate Office
  7. Provide all parties with copies.  Submit an additional copy of your Internship Agreement to the Graduate Office, who will provide your Faculty Advisor’s code for registration.

Conducting your internship

  1. Fulfill your assigned duties, keep a record of your hours, and work on your academic product.
  2. Maintain good communication with both your Site Supervisor and Faculty Advisor regarding job performance, work progress, and any questions or issues that arise.

Completing your internship

  1. Near the completion of your internship, ask your Site Supervisor to complete an Intern Evaluation and meet with him/her for an in-person review.
  2. Arrange a meeting with your Faculty Advisor to review your Intern Evaluation and overall internship experience. Submit your academic product.
  3. Submit an Internship Evaluation to the Graduate Office. This confidential form is only accessible to graduate staff and helps us determine whether to refer future students to your site. It also informs future internship processes.
  4. Your Faculty Advisor assigns a grade of CR/NC.

Internship documents reference chart


Copy to be retained by:


Faculty Advisor

Site Supervisor

Graduate Office

Internship Agreement





Intern Evaluation





Internship Evaluation






 * Students who wish to take BPOLST 520 before completing BPOLST 502 may submit a General Petition.