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Carlson Leadership & Public Service Center

Get Academic Credit for Internships

General Studies 350, “Independent Fieldwork,” is one option for University of Washington students interested in earning academic credit for integrating an internship experience with academic work. Many academic departments also offer credit mechanisms for internships (e.g. ENGL 491, Internship) so students should check with academic advisers to decide which course is most appropriate.

Before pursuing GEN ST 350 credits, please read over the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)section, especially concerning: “Do I need to enroll in GEN ST 350?” and “Is academic credit legally required for an unpaid internship?

General Studies 350 credit is awarded for the academic project (usually in the form of a paper) constructed in conjunction with an internship. The internship can be thought of as the text for a course. One does not earn credit for merely reading the text, but for the analysis of and the synthesis with larger concepts in the field. The academic project is aided by a student-selected faculty sponsor (UW Faculty Member) and an internship supervisor. This arrangement is called the Learning Triangle.

General Studies 350 Learning Triangle

  1. The student is the first partner in the learning triangle. As outlined in the learning contract, students must complete an academic project and all assigned tasks necessary in order to meet agreed upon criteria for credit. It is also the responsibility of the student to ensure that the faculty sponsor and site supervisor are in contact with each other.
  2. The second partner in the “learning triangle” is the faculty sponsor, a UW faculty member of the student’s choice. This is a professor on campus that the student will meet with on a regular basis to discuss the academic project and experiences at the internship.
  3. The site supervisor is the third partner in the “learning triangle.” The student works directly with this person at the internship site to make explicit arrangements concerning overall goals, projects, duties, hours, and other expectations.

Academic Project Details

This academic project can be completed in a number of ways, though for most students, it takes the form of an analytic paper.

  • The paper must be a minimum of 5 pages for 1-2-credit internships, 7-10 pages for 3-4 credits, and 12-15 pages for 5-6 credits.
  • It must include a bibliography with at least three academic sources.
  • Students are expected to complete the project during the quarter in which they are working at their internship site.
  • Academic Projects cannot be a log of the internship experience, but must answer an academic question that is raised by or related to the internship experience.

The faculty sponsor is encouraged to help students discuss drafts and help with revision.


It is the faculty sponsor’s responsibility to submit the student’s grade to Academic Records. The faculty sponsor should not submit the student’s grade until a satisfactory academic project is completed and the site supervisor has confirmed satisfactory internship performance.

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