HISTORY 493: Internship

From the VCU Course Bulletin: Semester course, variable credit. 2-4 credits per semester; maximum total of six credits. Open generally to students of senior class standing. Students receive credit for work on historical projects with approved agencies. Determination of the amount of credit, and permission of Director of Internships, must be procured prior to registration for the course.

VCU was one of the first schools in the nation to offer formal internships in history. Since the program started in 1977, more than three hundred sixty students have received academic credit and job experience by working on projects of an historical nature with approved museums and agencies. Interns have written research papers and mini-histories, developed interpretive programs, prepared exhibitions, catalogued manuscript collections, conducted oral history interviews, led tours, researched and developed grant applications, participated in archaeological projects, and discharged a variety of administrative duties.

Placements to date include Agecroft Hall; the American Civil War Museum; the Black History Museum and Cultural Center; Chesterfield County Historical Society; Congregation Beth Ahabah Museum and Archives; Henrico County Parks and Recreation (historic sites); the Holocaust Museum; Hollywood Cemetery; the Library of Virginia, Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site, Magnolia Grange Museum House, Maymont House and Foundation; Meadow Farm Museum; Petersburg National Battlefield Park, Richmond National Battlefield Park, and Colonial National Historic Park (all three under the National Park Service); VCU Libraries Special Collections and Archives; VCU Virtual Curation Lab; the Valentine (museum); Virginia Department of Historic Resources (various divisions); the Virginia Historical Society (now the Virginia Museum of History and Culture); the Virginia State Law Library / State Supreme Court; the Virginia War Memorial; and Wilton House Museum.

Guidelines and Procedures

To be accepted into the program, a student must:

  1. be in good academic standing and generally of senior class status,
  2. have the ability to work with others and to work under supervision, and be regarded as conscientious, reliable, and mature,
  3. complete an internship application form,
  4. generally have had academic training or prior work experience appropriate to the prospective internship, and
  5. be interviewed by the Director of Interns and have explicit approval to enroll in History 493.

Credit Hours HIST 493: 2 credits = 90 hours; 3 credits = 135 hours; 4 credits = 180 hours. (Registering for more than 4 credits is possible only in the summer: 5 credits = 225 hours; 6 credits = 270 hours.)

The internship must be consistent with the mission of the agency and must require a minimum of three hours of work (each week) for each hour of academic credit desired (meaning, three credits require at least nine hours of internship work per week.)

At the beginning of the Internship semester, the project must be defined in a formal, written "contract" agreed to and signed by the student, the agency supervisor, and the director of internships.

Progress reports must be submitted by both the intern and supervisor at least once by mid-semester; and written evaluations will be submitted by both parties at semester's end. Grade and credit will be determined by the Director of Internships in consultation with the supervisor.

Internship Checklist

In order to successfully complete your internship and get full credit, abide by the following procedures. These procedures are not optional. Much of your grade in History 493—or even whether you complete the course—comes from the promptness and completeness with which you follow these procedures. If you expect to get full credit for your work, you must not only do a good job for your agency supervisor, you must write good reports for the director of internships and submit them on time. It is your responsibility, too, to make your internship supervisor aware of the importance of prompt and full reports. (Remember: supervisors are busy people who do not usually follow academic calendars.)

_____1. PERMISSION. You must obtain the permission of the director of internships to register for HIST 493.

_____2. REGISTRATION. Don't forget to register for HIST 493.

_____3. "CONTRACT STATEMENT." The "contract statement" drawn up by your internship supervisor, and agreed to by you, needs to be returned to the director of interns by these deadlines: fall semester, SEPT. 1; spring semester, FEB. 1; summer, JUNE 1.

_____4. INTERIM REPORT. You and your supervisor must each write a mid-semester interim progress report. This report simply explains the progress you have made toward fulfilling your internship goals. A page or two will usually suffice. Be specific. The director of interns cannot properly evaluate your work if your report is vague and general. Be sure to mention how many hours you have completed at this point of the internship (out of the total 135 hours required for a 3 credit internship). Also discuss what history skills you have been learning, or practicing. The director of interns needs to receive these interim reports no later than October 10 in the fall semester, March 10 in the spring semester, and July 10 in the summer.

_____5. FINAL REPORT. You and your supervisor must each write a final report evaluating your internship. A couple of pages, concise and specific, will usually suffice for your report. (Your supervisor's report is apt to be shorter.) If you have written brochures, bibliographies, program guides, etc., as part of your internship, be sure to include these with your final report. Be sure to explain if you have completed the 135 hours required (for a 3 credit internship). The director of interns needs to receive these final reports by the last regularly scheduled day of classes in the fall and spring semesters, and by August l0 in the summer.

Internship Agreement Statement

The goal of the VCU History Internship Program is to give students meaningful job experience through work on projects of a historical nature with approved museums and agencies.

An internship project must be defined in a formal, "written contract" agreed to and signed by the student, the agency supervisor, and the director of interns. The internship agreement defines the student intern's tasks and must be consistent with the mission of the agency and the internship program.

Important: This agreement statement, signed by the student and his/her supervisor, needs to be returned to the Director of Internships by the following dates: fall semester, SEPTEMBER 1; spring semester, FEBRUARY 1; summer semester, JUNE 1.