Why Consider an Internship?
Internships complement academic training and expose students to valuable and practical new experiences by providing instruction beyond the classroom. Hands-on training under the close tutelage of a mentor helps shape personal, educational and professional goals. Internships afford students the opportunity to meet with proven leaders in their fields, establishing valuable contacts and networking opportunities vital to a future career. Internship experience also enhances the curriculum vitae and/or resume, strengthening a prospective job applicant’s qualifications. Upon successful completion of an internship many supervisors provide effective letters of recommendation. In some cases, internships lead to full time positions within the organization. The Baltimore-Washington area offers unique opportunities for internships unmatched anywhere else in the United States. Institutions featuring local and broader topics in art, media, education, museums, government service, libraries and archives are readily accessible to UMBC students. For current internship opportunities, click on Careers/Internships on the menu bar above.
How Do I Earn Academic Credit For an Internship?
Undergraduate students may earn up to 3 credits for an internship (HIST 391). Graduate students may also earn up to 3 academic credits (HIST 790) and 3 credits of HIST 790 are required for M.A. students in the Public History Track. Registration for HIST 790 or HIST 391 requires pre-approval from a History Department faculty advisor. Students must register for HIST 790 or HIST 391 only during the Spring or Fall semesters, although the internship may be completed any time throughout the academic year. A three-credit-hour internships require 120 hours of work. Students must submit a completed InternshipContract Form before beginning an assignment.
How Do I Get an Internship?
Generally, students should begin looking for an internship opportunity several months prior to a desired start date. Identify your interests, goals and needs, and contact your academic advisor for guidance on an internship that will best meet your requirements. The Department of History features internships opportunities on this website. The UMBC Shriver Center is also a good source for possibilities. Some organizations offering internships require an application form (often available for download at their web site). Many positions also require a writing sample. A number of federal organizations require background security checks that have long lead times, so applying early is crucial.Many organizations receive fewer applications for fall and spring than summer. Fall and spring sessions generally allow interns a more substantive role in their assigned offices due to the longer length of stay. Additional resources for finding an internship:
- National Directory of Internships. National Society for Internships and Experiential Education.
- Smithsonian Opportunities for Research and Study. Office of Fellowships and Grants, Smithsonian Institution
- Internships: A Directory for Career-Finders. Sara D. Gilbert (1995).
- America’s Top Internships. Mark Oldman and Samer Hamadeh. (1995).
- The Internship Bible. Mark Oldman and Samer Hamadeh. (1996).
- Internships ’98, Peterson’s Guides. (1997).
- Student Internship Programs with the Federal Government
What Does an Intern Do?
Once accepted into an organization, you will be introduced to your area of responsibility. History-related internships are often interdisciplinary, so you can expect to be involved in many of the functions integral to the organization’s daily operations. As an intern, you may have the opportunity to:
- conduct academic research
- create finding aids
- write analytical reports
- catalog primary documents
- attend meetings and conferences
- develop interpretive talks
- plan events, coordinate conferences
- answer research queries
- prepare brochures and educational materials
- update web sites
- monitor current events
- serve as a tour guide
Are Interns Paid?
While some internships do offer a stipend, many are unpaid positions. Nevertheless, the value of an internship should never be measured in monetary terms. Non-funded interns can seek funding from outside the prospective organization.