Department of History

West Chester University

404 Wayne Hall
Phone: 610-436-2201
Fax: 610-436-3069

Department of History Internship Program

The History Department offers opportunities for internships with a broad range of placements and projects, including museums, archives, historical societies, and public agencies.  Hosting agencies of recent internships include Colonial Williamsburg, Eckley Miners’ Village, Ellis Island, Ephrata Cloister, Greater Philadelphia Film Office, Historical Society of Pennsylvania, and the Lehigh Valley Historical Society.  Interested students with a minimum 2.5 GPA who can offer 14 or more eight-hour days, typically during summer sessions, should contact the History Department Internship Coordinator regarding the application process and registration for AMS 415 or HIS 450.

Purpose: The internship program enables history majors to engage in off-campus learning experiences related to their major and deserving of academic credit. Internships offer the opportunity to develop the skills you learn as a history major in a professional setting, to gain invaluable experiences and contacts, and to build your resume' for graduate school or employment.

Internship Period: An intern may earn 3 credits during a semester or summer session. A 3-credit internship requires a student to perform assigned responsibilities at the cooperating internship site for no less than 120 hours. (This is the equivalent of an 8-hour day for each week of a 15-week academic semester).

Eligibility: An applicant must be a major in the Department of History with at least 80 earned credits and a minimum 2.5 grade point overall and in history. (The chair may make exceptions in special cases.)

Statement of Intent: Students desiring an internship should speak to the department internship coordinator at the beginning of the semester prior to the semester in which they want to take the internship (e.g., at the beginning of the fall semester for a spring internship, and at the beginning of the spring semester for a summer or fall internship).

Students should provide the internship coordinator a sample of their best historical writing and a resume' for submission to prospective cooperating internship institutions. The coordinator will review these materials and inform students if they qualify for an internship. Students denied an internship will receive reasons for the denial from the internship coordinator and suggestions for strengthening a future application.

The internship coordinator and the student internship applicant will decide together on where to seek a placement. The initial contact with cooperating institutions will be made by either the coordinator or the student.

Compensation: Interns usually serve cooperating institutions without financial compensation (paid internships do exist, but are rare.) The Department of History, however, may award a small number of successful student interns $500 each from the Dr. Robert E. Drayer Memorial Scholarship Fund. The department's Undergraduate Committee will determine the award on the quality of the student internship report and the recommendation of the internship coordinator.

Standard Assignment/Evaluation: Each intern will work with a faculty internship supervisor, to be agreed upon by the student and department internship coordinator. The student, faculty supervisor, and site supervisor will then agree upon internship responsibilities and activities. Interns should keep a daily log, detailing the nature of their activities during the internship and their thoughts about those activities. The internship coordinator will use this log, submitted on a schedule, to determine the intern's performance and to suggest changes to the internship assignments and responsibilities. Interns must stay in touch with and inform the faculty internship supervisor of any significant changes to their activities or emerging problems.

The student's grade will be based on:

  1. the on-site supervisor's evaluation,
  2. the student's internship report, describing and evaluating the nature of the internship experience,
  3. a formal paper, based on the intern's work at the cooperating institution. (The internship coordinator and the student will agree upon the nature and the length of that paper once the internship is underway).
  4. the internship coordinator's on-site visit, and
  5. supporting documentation, which can include materials the intern has worked on for the host institution, promotional materials for exhibits or projects to which the intern contributed, and other evidence of accomplishments.