Internships and FAQs

All history majors are encouraged to consider an internship (HIST 497) in history as part of their undergraduate study, especially if they are thinking about teaching history in the public schools or a career in public history. Internships give students the opportunity to apply the historical skills learned in the classroom and gain work experience – all while receiving university credit. HIST 497 is also intended to help students prepare job application material and to learn how to market what they have learned in the classroom to future employers.

Undergraduate history majors can apply up to 4 units of internship credit towards the history major. Each unit of internship credit requires 45 hours of work. Therefore, a student enrolled in a 4-unit internship is expected to perform 180 hours of work over the course of the semester. Internships can be spread out over several semesters with the approval of the internship coordinator.

Please note: students are responsible for securing their own internships. Many students intern at organizations with which they have standing relationships or shared interests such as museums, schools, historical societies, state parks, county agencies and non-profit organizations, and other government agencies. Your internship must be history-related. Not all internships are appropriate for history department credit. Because finding an internship often takes several weeks, students are encouraged to begin this process well ahead of time, preferably before the semester begins. Undergraduate internships must be approved before you begin your placement. Approval of internships will be at the discretion of the internship coordinator. The History Department will not retroactively approve undergraduate internships or internship hours.

For information about undergraduate history internships, contact Professor Samuel Cohen, Stevenson Hall 2070C; samuel.cohen@sonoma.edu.

Internship FAQs for History Students

Q: Can I get credit for an internship?

A: Yes. If you are an undergraduate history major, you can apply up to 4 units of internship credit toward the 40 units required for the history major. If you are an M.A. student, you can apply 2-4 units of internship credit toward your degree.

Q: How do I find an internship?

A: It is up to you to find an internship. Many students intern at organizations with which they have standing relationships or shared interests, like museums, schools, and government agencies. If you would like to do an internship but have no particular organization in mind, you should contact the History Department's internship coordinator. The coordinator maintains a list of organizations that are presently looking for interns or that have employed history students in the past. SSU's Career Services (Salazar 1070) also maintains a list of internship possibilities. Because finding an internship often takes several weeks, students are encouraged to begin this process well ahead of time, preferably before the semester begins.

Q: Must my internship be history-related?

A: Yes. Because internships often inform future career decisions, they are almost always worthwhile experiences. But not all internships are appropriate for history credit. The History Department tries to be as liberal as possible when deciding what constitutes a history-related internship. If you have questions about the merits of a particular internship, please contact the internship coordinator.

Q: Must my internship be done on a volunteer basis?

A: No. As long as internships are history-related, they can be either paid or unpaid positions at for-profit or non-profit organizations.

Q: Will I receive a letter grade for my internship?

A: It depends. If you are an undergraduate student, you must take the internship course (Hist 497) on a credit/no-credit basis. If you are an M.A. student, you must take the internship course (Hist 593) for a grade.

Q: How many internship units should I enroll for?

A: The History Department requires 45 hours of work for each unit of credit. Therefore, a student who enrolls in a 4-unit internship would be expected to perform 180 hours of work over the course of the semester, or 12 hours per week for 15 weeks.

Q: How will you evaluate whether I worked the appropriate number of hours?

A: You will be required to submit a letter from your on-site supervisor at the end of the semester verifying the number of hours you have worked. In addition, you will have to write a brief paper, typically 4-5 pages, describing what you have done and how it informs the field of history. Depending on the specific circumstances of your internship, there may be additional requirements as well.

Q: I've located an internship! How do I enroll in the internship course?

A: Great! To enroll in your internship, you must do the following:

  1. Meet with the internship coordinator and secure an approved internship placement. This must be done no later than the second week of the semester in which you hope to enroll for an internship.
  2. Complete a copy of SSU’s internship contract. After your on-site supervisor signs the contract, you should return it to the coordinator. The internship coordinator and History Department staff will get the final signatures and work to register your internship.
  3. Congratulations! You are now an intern! Within a few weeks, you should see HIST 497 on your SSU schedule.

Q: Is there anything else I should know?

A: Yes! If your internship is at a government agency or other non-profit organization, you are eligible to apply for the Donaldson Fellowship, which will provide up to $500.00 per unit of internship credit. This is a competitive award with a formal application. In addition, in recent semesters the School of Social Sciences has administered its own fellowship program to help student interns offset transportation costs. If you are interested in applying for either of these awards, contact the History Department.