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What Is an Internship?

An internship provides an invaluable learning experience, an opportunity to explore a potential career field, a chance to learn and teach history beyond the classroom, and a vehicle for gaining hands-on experience that will enhance any resume, graduate school application, or law school application, regardless of the nature of the internship itself. The details and duties of any internship will vary according to the student, the site, and the site supervisor, but in general an internship will require at least 120 hours of work related to the site's operations (an average of eight hours per week over the course of a fifteen-week semester). Most internships are not paid. Ideally, an internship will supplement, enhance, and allow you to apply what you've learned in your history classes. You might work in a museum, at a historic site, in a local library or archive, with a historical organization, or with a local government agency. You'll enter your internship as a history student, but you'll quickly learn that "history" outside of an academic setting means much more than lectures, books, papers, and grades.

How Do I Obtain and Complete an Internship?

The History Department's Internship Coordinator can assist you in finding an internship, but the burden ultimately falls to you. Here are some steps:
1. Think about what kind of place you'd like to work. (A museum? An archive? A historic site?)
2. Do what all good historians do: research. (Visit websites to find out what kinds of activities potential sites undertake.)
3. Make contact. (Tell the person you talk to that you are a CSUF History student, that you're interested in an internship, that you'll receive course credit, and that, if they're accepting interns, you'd like to schedule an appointment.)
4. Determine if you've found an internship opportunity you'd like to take.
5. Register! (Schedule an appointment with the History Internship Coordinator to receive permission to enroll in History 498 or 596.)
6. In conjunction with your site supervisor, fill out preliminary paperwork (including an articulation of responsibilities and learning objectives). Return this to the History Internship Coordinator.
7. Go to work. (Plan your schedule, remembering that you need to log at least 120 hours by the end of the semester.)
8. Stay in touch with the History Internship Coordinator. (Plan to attend a mid-semester intern meeting and share news of your progress.)
9. After you complete your internship, write a reflective essay and submit it to the History Internship Coordinator. Your supervisor's evaluations, this essay, and any products of your internship will be the basis for the grade you receive.

What Are Some Examples of Internship Locations?

In recent semesters, CSUF History students have undertaken internships throughout Southern California, across the country, and in Europe. Host sites and institutions have included the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust, the Autry National Center of the American West (Los Angeles), Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site (St. Louis), the Royal Air Force Museum (London), the National Archives and Records Administration (Laguna Niguel), the Ocean Institute (Dana Point), the Nixon Presidential Library and Museum (Yorba Linda), the San Diego Historical Society, the Old Courthouse Museum (Santa Ana), and CSUF's own Center for Oral and Public History, Heritage House, and Orange County Agricultural and Nikkei Heritage Museum.

I Have Obtained an Internship, Where Can I Get The Required Paperwork for The Program?

All of the internship forms can be found in digital format below. If you need a hardcopy, please visit the History Department office in H-815F.