AMST 5900 – INTERNSHIPS, 3-6 credits
An internship, as distinguished from an independent study, is defined as program-related employment, paid or non-paid, for credit – usually but not necessarily external to the Stockton community.
American Studies students can participate in internships at the local, national, and international level at institutions, such as the Smithsonian, the National Constitution Center, the South Jersey Culture and History Center and the Noyes Museum. Enrollment in formal internship programs in Washington, DC and abroad can also be arranged through the Washington Center and Washington Intern Student Housing.
Today, the general consensus is that internships have become a prerequisite for paid jobs in the labor market. They can provide essential real-world experience especially for those trying to break into a new field. They supply students with valuable professional skills and training and allow them to try out a field for fit and compatibility before jumping into it. They offer students opportunities to network, build relationships, and find mentors in their chosen field. At times, internships can transition into paid, permanent positions. But short of that, they can enhance the ability of students to become competitive job applicants and help them to become successful in the jobs they eventually acquire.
In order to assure that you will get the most out of an internship, you should carefully scrutinize all potential positions to determine their quality. What will you actually do as an intern? With whom will you be working? How do your learning goals and expectations fit into those of the institution potentially hiring you as an intern? What are some of the projects past interns have accomplished? What have former interns said about this position? Will this experience help you down the road? Also, if your potential internship is not local, be sure to research housing opportunities and to watch for hidden additional costs.
According to the Fair Labor Standards Act, unpaid internships need to be educational and to give students a fair return on the time and money they put into the program. For additional research on this area, see the guidelines developed by the Department of Labor.