Directed Internship, Anthropology 469

Overview of an Anthropology Internship

A museology student handles a stemmed glass wearing white gloves

Most anthropologists work outside of academe in a variety of organizations. An internship is a planned and supervised learning experience in which a student completes activities that mutually benefit a student and an organization or the organization's clientele. The Department of Anthropology offers graded course credit for internships, repeatable to 15 credits (with no more than 10 credits counted toward the major). It is possible to intern with different organizations, but it is expected that most students will choose to stay with the same organization if they intern more than one quarter since it affords the opportunity to deepen their experiences with the same organization and its activities.

Benefits of an Anthropology Internship

An internship sponsored through the Department of Anthropology can give students:

  • Work experience in a professional environment
  • A chance to develop professional skills and explore career options
  • A professional network and references
  • An opportunity to link academic learning with hands-on experience
  • A means to learn more about the way organizations work
  • A way to strengthen a resume and become more competitive for jobs and/or acceptance to graduate programs
  • Opportunities for growth in setting goals, self-assessing, and building confidence

Since anthropology is an expansive field, devoted to understanding human activities and, through applied anthropology, to contributing to desired change, many different internship settings lend themselves to anthropological learning and training. (See Museology for specific internship information related to museum internships). Most students will probably opt for internships with local organizations, but internships may also be pursued outside of the area, in other parts of the U.S. or internationally. Internships may be undertaken during any quarter (including summer) if the sponsoring faculty member (see below) agrees.

How do I sign up?

Contact Lauren Townshend, the Anthropology Department manager for additional details.

Email anthropology@wwu.edu or call 360-650-3613 or set up a Zoom appointment.

Anthropology office hours: Mon-Fri 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

It is expected that students pursuing an internship will read ALL the copy below. 

You will find the answers to most of the questions you have by doing so.

All About Directed Internship, Anthropology 469

Students who wish to earn credit for an internship must have completed 30 credit hours in anthropology which include core courses in an area of concentration and one advanced course whose content (ideally) is related to the projected internship experience. (Special circumstances may be taken into consideration for waiving some of these qualifications, to be determined by the Faculty Sponsor.)

All arrangements for an internship must be completed no later than the registration period in the quarter preceding the internship quarter. With arrangements in place, a faculty sponsor may issue an override for the internship (Anth 469, Directed Internship).

For 5 credits of internship credit, a student must work a total of 100 hours (10 hours per week on average) in their internship. For students opting for 10 credits in a given quarter, a student must work a total of 200 hours in their internship.

Supervisors are informed that they are not to expect students to work during Finals Week unless there are hours to be completed (which may be arranged through the supervisor) that were unfilled due to excused absences.

How Anth 469 is Graded

80% of the final grade will come from the Internship Supervisor's assessment of the student's work (see Evaluation Form).

15% of the final grade will be based on Canvas assignments and the Faculty Sponsor's assessment of student attainment of Learning Plan goals.

5% of the final grade will be based on completion of a one page Assessment of the Internship Site/Experience (to help guide faculty advisement of future students interested in the internship site) and a Student's Self-Assessment of

  1. Attaining her or his goals as indicated on the Learning Plan  
  2. Professionally performing in the specified areas of the Supervisor's Evaluation form

The Student's Self-Assessment is to be written as a three to four page reflective essay. A copy should be submitted to both the Intern Supervisor and Faculty Sponsor at the end of DEAD WEEK.

The Assessment of the Internship Site/Experience document should also be submitted to the Faculty Sponsor at the end of DEAD WEEK. A Faculty Sponsor will share information taken from the latter with an Intern Supervisor or Organization, if deemed helpful for future changes, but only after a student's grade has been determined.

Weekly Assignments on Canvas

In addition to the hours devoted to the internship itself, students will complete weekly assignments that will appear on the Anthropology 469 Canvas site. Assignments will be explained on the Canvas and the preferred length will be specified. Some assignments may require preparation that spans more than one week. Example assignments include: an appraisal of how the internship work contributes to a specific project and the overall mission of an organization; ways that you can connect your internship learning to academic anthropological learning, and explorations of some of your stated learning goals and strategies.

Students will automatically be enrolled in the Canvas Internship course upon registration.

For those students who pursue an internship with the same organization in a second or third quarter, a plan for assignments will be generated by the student him/herself in consultation with the faculty sponsor. These might include such activities as making a presentation to a class, creating an annotated bibliography on readings that pertain to the internship, and deepening ways of reflecting on the internship learning experiences. It is expected that the faculty sponsor and the student will create a separate contract for the assignments.

Ways to Locate an Optimal Internship:

To find a good internship match, students should think carefully about their objectives in pursuing an internship.

It is important to do some background study of potential internship opportunities. Read the descriptions that organizations create for themselves and their internship projects. Some organizations are very specific about the kinds of activities they expect interns to do; others may be receptive to students developing a project in coordination with them.

Valuable skills and experiences in internships that are not specifically aligned with a student's current interests might be considered as ways to explore new venues and activities, to develop diverse personal experiences, and to demonstrate flexibility.

There are three main ways to locate an internship that can match your interests and goals:

  1. Select an organization with its opportunities from those specifically listed with the Department of Anthropology. Some of these internships may be found through other links, since organizations often seek interns with various backgrounds.
  2. Select an organization offering internships that is listed through WWU’s Career Center. The Career Center automatically sends out updates on internships if you sign up for their emails.
  3. Select an organization listed through some other reliable source (e.g. see Links for other opportunities). It is important to verify as much information about a projected internship as possible before making a commitment (and arrangements that may include traveling to another location, etc.). A faculty sponsor cannot as easily intercede, if necessary, if an internship is not locally-based.

Two last KEY pieces of information:

Faculty sponsor's responsibilities include:

  • Advising a student for the procedural tasks in setting up an internship
  • Supporting a student pursuing an internship in whatever way are needed, e.g. intervening if there is a problem identified by the student and/or supervisor that needs attention
  • Providing feedback to students on their written assignments on Canvas
  • Gathering data from the intern supervisor (evaluation) and the student (self-assessment and assignments) to combine with the faculty sponsor's assessment to assign a final grade

There are no texts assigned for the Internship Experience.

However, students may find the Resources for Anthropology Students helpful. You can find this page on the menu:

Advising > Current Students > Anthropology Careers.

Students may also decide to incorporate readings into their Internship learning plans.