College of Humanities & Social Sciences

Directed Internship, Anthropology 469


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 themajor). 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.

Overview of Completing an Internship for Anthropology Credit:

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 the Museology link 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?

FIRST STEP: Choose an organization. Either pick an established internship from the Internships page, or any organization with whom you hope to intern for, and contact them to find out if they have an opening or if they would be willing to have an intern. Determine if the position is a good match for you.

SECOND STEP: Create a resume (If the organization requires it). A faculty sponsor can advise a student in creating this document. WWU's Career Center can also help.

THIRD STEP: Have an Anthropology professor agree to serve as your Faculty Sponsor. Choose a professor whose teaching and research interests align with your potential organization's goals.

FOURTH STEP: Determine the details about the internship with the appropriate contact. You will need to contact this person within the organization to determine the working hours and duties required.

FIFTH STEP: Complete the Internship Learning Contract and the Learning Plan. Get all of the necessary signatures. You will need information about internship duties and hours to complete this paperwork. All of these documents will need to be signed by the student, the student's internship supervisor and the faculty sponsor.

SIXTH STEP: Print out the following documents under the FOR ORGANIZATIONS tab and give it to your future supervisor. See below:

  • The entire FOR ORGANIZATIONS page from the Internship website.
  • The Internship Evaluation Form

SEVENTH STEP: Contact your faculty sponsor for an override code. Once the faculty sponsor has given you an override code, you may register for the 469 - Directed Internship class. PLEASE NOTE: If you wish to intern in the summer you must make arrangements with an Anthropology Professor to be your faculty sponsor BEFORE you contact an organization.

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.

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.

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 apresentation 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.

Steps for registering for Anth 469 include:

It is recommended that a student approach a faculty member whose teaching and research interests make it likely that the faculty member has an affinity to the organization offering an internship. Students and their faculty sponsors should decide if they want to meet in person one or more times during the quarter or if they will be in touch (as needed) through email or phone.

Depending on an organization's requirements, a student may also need to submit a resume to the prospective organization and/or a letter of interest for pursuing an internship with an organization.

If needed, the faculty sponsor will advise a student in the creation of these documents.

Completion of the Learning Plan (Insert as Parts D & E of the Contract). Please note the three methods of evaluation explained in this document that should be inserted in the evaluation section (F) of the Learning Contract.

It is best to begin this process at the beginning of the preceding quarter of the internship since it requires working out arrangements with an internship supervisor, identifying a faculty sponsor, writing learning objectives, etc. Ideally, the learning contract (which includes the learning plan) should be completed the quarter before an internship, but it may be submitted by the end of the first week of the interning quarter IF the internship supervisor and the faculty sponsor agree to that deadline.

  1. Obtaining a faculty member's consent to serve as the Faculty Sponsor
  2. Completion of the Internship Learning Contract
  3. Documents must be signed by the student, the student's internship supervisor and the faculty sponsor.

Basic Steps in Setting Up Your Internship:

Use the following as a checklist:

  1. Access The WWU Career Services website to read the Student Guide to Developing an Internship.
  2. Consider signing up for one of the WWU Career Services workshops on internships and other workshops as appropriate. For example, take a workshop on resume writing if a placement requires a resume.
  3. Think carefully about your objectives for an internship (see Student's Guide)
  4. Look for the best internship fit for you (remember that there are three main ways to locate an internship).
  5. Determine if you can intern there in the quarter you desire, and if it is, in fact, a good match.
  6. Contact an appropriate Anthropology faculty member and secure her or his agreement to act as your faculty sponsor of your planned internship.
  7. Contact the internship organization with whom you hope to work in an upcoming quarter (either through phone, email or formal letter, depending on stipulations associated with web information on the organization) to discuss:
    • the kinds of work activities you would be assigned
    • the scope of other tasks that might fit with your learning goals (for the number of credit hours you expect to earn)
  8. Draft your Learning Plan (D and E on the Internship Learning Contract) and take the draft to your faculty sponsor for feedback and revision suggestions.
  9. Arrange a meeting with your potential Internship Supervisor to get further feedback on the Learning Plan so that you can revise and complete the Internship Learning Contract.
  10. Print out the following and give it to your future supervisor:
    • The entire For Organizations page from the Internship website
    • The Internship Evaluation Form
  11. Finalize your Internship Learning Plan and Contract and obtain signatures from the faculty sponsor and intern supervisor. Make copies to distribute to everyone who signs.
  12. In the course registration period before the quarter that your internship begins, ask the sponsoring faculty member to submit an override so that you can register for the appropriate number of internship credits.
  13. Once the internship quarter begins:
    • a. Report to work at your internship site as agreed
    • b. Complete all Blackboard assignments by their due dates
    • c. Complete a Self-Assessment Evaluation to give to your Intern Supervisor and Faculty Sponsor at the end of Dead Week.
  14. Create a one page Assessment of the Internship Site/Experience to help faculty guide advisement future students interested in the internship site and give that to the sponsoring faculty member with your self-assessment.

FINALLY…. Two more important 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 information listed under RESOURCES helpful. Students may also decide to incorporate readings into their Internship learning plans.