Internship Guidelines and Eligibility

Internship Information

Internships in the English Department are offered with the cooperation of various organizations to provide a supplementary educational experience for undergraduate English students. As an intern, you will have the opportunity to acquire significant work experience related to the English major (most positions involve writing and/or research). You will also have the chance to learn new skills, explore career interests, and meet new social and intellectual challenges.

What constitutes an ENGL 491 internship?

An internship through ENGL 491 is a supplemental educational opportunity to explore career options and develop skills related to the English undergraduate major in a work or work-related setting. Students learn to connect classroom theory and work-based experience through the completion of an internship paper at the end of the quarter. This paper should integrate fieldwork with analytic, conceptual, critical, and/or theoretical knowledge from classroom experiences, and not be simply a log or record of the internship experience. (See Internship Paper Guidelines.)

Internships are generally offered on an unpaid/volunteer basis. Students are encouraged to view the internship as a learning experience related to English undergraduate education and career development in related fields as opposed to an employment opportunity. Students who are seeking regular, paid employment should contact UW's Center for Career Services for student and alumni employment information and opportunities.

We have found that the best placements include the following:

  • A clearly delineated position description.
  • Duties and responsibilities that are not haphazardly determined nor purely clerical in nature.
  • Provision of specific work area for the intern.
  • Exposure to other professional staff, clientele, etc. (as appropriate) for professional growth.
  • Opportunities for mentoring as appropriate.
  • Opportunities for feedback and discussion.

In the course of investigating internships and pursuing opportunities, students should consider what their individual learning goals are, and how the internship activities they are exploring would assist them in meeting those goals. Once a student has secured an internship, those learning goals will be articulated by the student on the Internship Learning Contract.

To be eligible for an internship, you must

  • be a declared UW English major*;
  • have earned at least 15 credits in English courses;
  • be in good academic standing at the UW and in the English major (i.e., not be on academic probation or other hold status).

Students who are not English majors may earn internship credit through GEN ST 350 with the Carlson Leadership and Public Service Center or through their own academic major departments.

Application procedures

1. You may arrange an internship on your own, or you may use our internship search tips. A good way of keeping abreast of new internship opportunities is to subscribe yourself to the English Department student e-mail list, called ENGLMAJORS. Be sure to follow the sponsor's application instructions carefully and submit all materials requested.

2. Advisers can assist you in making initial contact with a prospective supervisor, if appropriate, but it is your responsibility to secure the internship. In many cases, intern positions are competitive -- you must persuade the sponsor to accept you as an intern, in much the same way that you would go through the steps of a competitive application process for a job.

3. If you are invited for an interview, you should keep in mind that you are also interviewing the sponsoring agency: you need to find out whether the internship opportunity is right for you. Review the Internship Learning Contract form to help you to clarify what it is that you hope to learn. Ask yourself if the placement would give you the kind of experience you're looking for. Talk with the sponsor about your goals and interests. You may want to interview with more than one agency and evaluate how well each would suit your learning goals.

4. Students wishing to earn internship credit must file an Internship Learning Contract  with the advising office and have that contract approved by an English adviser. (Although internships may begin and end at any time, it is best to submit your Internship Learning Contract by the end of the first week of an academic quarter so as to avoid late fees imposed by the Registrar.) After you have submitted your Learning Contract, the English Advising Office will register you for ENGL 491 credit.

5. Note that all internships are graded on a credit/no credit basis, and are available for 1 to 6 credits per quarter, with a maximum of 12 total credits allowable for any one student. Credits are determined according to the hours of internship service. In most cases, one quarterly credit will represent three hours of work per week (or 30 total quarters for a ten-week quarter); for example, a student who devotes 9 hours per week over the course of a 10-week quarter (or 90 hours total) to an intern position can earn up to 3 credits of ENGL 491 for the quarter. Internship credits do not apply toward the English major. These credits may be used as general electives only.

6. Note that internships providing course credit through ENGL 491 are generally unpaid. You should view the program as a learning experience related to your education in English that confers long-range career or learning benefits to you. Regular employment positions are not eligible for internship credit. If your internship comes with wages or a stipend, you will have to gain special approval to earn credit, which is granted only when the position is clearly structured as an internship learning opportunity. In no case may a work-study student earn academic credit for time devoted to his or her work-study position.

Earning course credit

In order to receive a grade of "CR" in your ENGL 491 internship, the following requirements must be completed by their respective deadlines:

1. You must complete an Internship Paper, using the paper guidelines, and submit it through the Catalyst Collect-It Drop Box by the first day of final exams week for the quarter; we will send you the link for the quarterly drop box by e-mail during the last two weeks of the quarter.

2. You must rate your experience by completing your Intern's Evaluation survey by the first day of final exams week for the quarter;

3. You must make sure that your internship superviser submits an Intern's Performance Evaluation for you by the last day of instruction for the quarter. (We will send sponsors the link by e-mail during the last two weeks of the quarter.) You are encouraged to talk with your supervisor about your evaluation. If he or she does not set up a time to review your performance with you, take the initiative and ask for a meeting to talk about your progress in the internship, your contributions, your strengths, and your areas for improvement.

What past interns have said about their experiences...

"I have heard the voices and critically analyzed over 100 poets from the Northwest and throughout the country…I learned about the workings of a non-profit organization, the need for funding, how to write a grant, and how to lay out a literary journal." -Editorial Intern, Crab Creek Review

"While on the story assignments, I had the opportunity to contribute to interviews, write my own mock news scripts and tape my own practice stand-ups (the reporter’s on-air description of an event before and after the broadcast of a story)... The internship went beyond my expectations in helping me meet my goals. Entering the internship, I had hoped to determine whether journalism was a profession I wanted to pursue. Through following reporters on their stories, I came to understand that although news is a tough industry, I sincerely love the work." - News Intern, KING-5 TV News

"Working for the EMP has exceeded my goals…This is perhaps the best part about the UW's internships: they allow a student to work for an innovative organization without worrying about pay, and to gather some excellent experience in the process." -Public Relations Intern, Experience Music Project

"In my preparation to become a teacher, I have seen, through this internship, the need for social involvement in our school systems…I particularly learned the value of individuality in learning…" - Teaching Intern, Poulsbo Elementary School

"I found that with my daily morning article search I was becoming aware of current events and history more than I had ever before in any class. It made me realize that history and writing are very connected, and that historical content often is what makes an article credible or not, regardless of how moving a personal argument is. I was able to compare and contrast professional writing from paper to paper from around the country and see the clear biases of the American media in coverage of certain events...I loved working for HNN. This internship not only has prepared me more for the real world of professional editing and writing, it has made me a more well rounded and knowledgeable individual regarding the world surrounding me. " - Editorial Intern, History News Network (HNN)

"This internship entailed facilitating a rewrite of a software company's business plan…My role was to rewrite some sections of the plan..and incorporate the 'vision' of the senior management staff into a comprehensive document…I definitely met my goal at this internship, which was to prepare myself for a writing career through practical, hands-on experience." - Business Intern, Physician Micro Systems

"The extensive amount of analyzing and information processing that accompanies being an English major prepared me exceptionally well for determining what material to include when I was composing a press release." - Publicity and Marketing Intern, Sasquatch Books

"When I began as an editorial intern for Diversity at Work, I had several months experience of copy editing and feature writing. In the space of four months, I eclipsed my previous learning several times over... My editing became crisper, cleaner, and concise; my writing became more informed, intelligent, and thought-provoking; and I grew more confident in my ability to communicate effectively to my intended audience... I enjoyed working with a passionate group of people who were (and are) working towards improved global communication... I intend to use the knowledge I have gained to make the world a better place -- which was by far the greatest lesson I received." - Editorial Intern, Diversity at Work

"I learned that the skills you learn as an English major go far beyond literary texts. The ability to think on your feet, the skill of being flexible enough to handle any contingency, and the determination to think through problems are all aspects of being a Liberal Arts major." - Public Relations Intern, Pyramid Communications

"Our job is incredibly important, since we are the eyes and ears of the attorneys. If we fail to interview the witnesses properly or fail to complete our tasks, the clients lose their liberty/freedom." - Investigative Intern, Office of the Public Defender

"I have gained valuable theater experience that I would not have been able to obtain in the classroom. I have been able to watch, and participate in, a professional theater group." - Literary Assistant Intern, Bathhouse Theatre

"Just as when I read a novel and visualize in my mind what type of person the character is, casting goes one step beyond to decide what actor could best embody that type of person." - Casting Assistant Intern, Kalles/Levine Casting

"By the end of my internship, I had become accustomed to being up in front of the classroom. My mentor and I had planned the entire curriculum together, using her previous materials as a basic outline. She allowed me to come up with several projects like the personal essay and a Lord of the Flies unit. The students began to see me as one of their teachers, as I corrected the bulk of all their assignments and was in front of the classroom for a substantial amount of time...This internship was one of the more satisfying projects I’ve taken on in my life." - Teaching Intern, Cedarcrest High School

"It was fascinating to be able to see what writers, like myself, who were trying to break into the literary field, were putting out there...Eventually I was able to tell when someone was gifted in writing, or just a retired dot-commer looking to fill the void in their life by writing a novel...I took the internship at Wales because I am interested in breaking into the publishing field, and the agency was a great place to learn about how the publishing process works." - Editorial Intern, Wales Literary Agency

"It was a privilege to have my writing read so closely by professionals who were willing to sit down and talk with me about what they were changing and why." - Reporting Intern, The Everett Herald

"My summer internship was a most rewarding and empowering experience. The majority of the students that I worked with were either in high school or middle school. My lifelong career goal is to empower underrepresented students by advocating academic and career opportunities and resources. My internship with TTAAPP Central allowed me to experience firsthand some of the challenges and struggles that they are confronted with on a daily basis...My academic experiences within my English courses have empowered me with writing skills that were very valuable to my success with this project." - Publicity Intern, TTAAPP Central

"The type of research that I was involved with, specifically in the university environment, is important to cultural, social, and political forces as it brings awareness, relevance, and meaning to otherwise random information. The result of this research is a product that can influence the understanding of specific issues – whether they are current or historic...Experience really counts in college and in employment, so doing this internship gives me a definite edge over other students who may have passed up a similar opportunity. The internship has given me knowledge in many different areas and furthers my future ability to be accepted to graduate school and be hired somewhere I would really like to work. This piece of my “work history” was a great way to earn credit, gain accountability, and participate in something worthwhile. " - Research Intern, The Modern Girl Around the World collaborative, interdisciplinary academic research project