Carlson Leadership & Public Service Center

Academic Credit for Internship Learning – GEN ST 350

What is General Studies 350?

General Studies 350 is a mechanism for earning credit for the learning associated with an internship experience. General Studies 350, regardless of section, is always graded credit/no credit. General Studies 350 provides the opportunity to earn credit for the demonstrated learning derived from an internship experience.  It is a requirement that academic work occur concurrently with the internship experience. 

Students in General Studies 350 have a few choices for how to reflect upon and demonstrate their learning: 

Option # 1: General Studies A/B

Students engage in an internship experience in either the public sector (section A) or the private sector (section B) under the guidance of a UW Faculty or Instructor Sponsor to guide reflective practice and connections to academic learning.

Option # 2: General Studies C/D

(Deadline for Handshake approvals to be finalized in order to receive an add code for WIN 2020 will be Friday, January 24th at 12:00 p.m.) 

Students engage in an internship experience in either the public sector (section C) or the private sector (section D) while enrolled in a distance learning section of GEN ST 350 to guide reflective learning, connections to academic content, and career competencies. Please note that students may only enroll in GEN ST 350 C/D for one academic quarter per internship experience, to the maximum number of credits allowed for GEN ST 350.

Option # 3: Summer internship for Autumn credit

Students engaged in an internship experience during summer quarter, who wish to hold off on enrolling for academic credit until Autumn quarter, will need to check “Summer for Fall” on their internship application. These students will be administratively enrolled in either a faculty sponsor section in Autumn quarter or a Distance learning section in Autumn quarter. Please note: while enrollment and credit are earned in autumn quarter, it is expected that both the internship and academic work will be completed in summer quarter. General Studies 350 provides the opportunity to earn credit for the demonstrated learning derived from an internship experience. As a result, it is essential that the academic work occur side by side with the internship experience. 

General Studies 350, “Independent Fieldwork,” is only 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?” In addition, read the information on the page “How to Register for General Studies 350” in detail, as quarterly deadlines are listed on this page.

General Studies 350 learning triangle

  1. The student is the first partner in the learning triangle. In order to earn GEN ST 350 credit(s), students must either a) work with their faculty sponsor to determine how they will demonstrate their internship learning or b) complete all assignments in the distance learning section of GEN ST 350.  Students working independently with a faculty sponsor should connect their faculty sponsor and internship site supervisor early in the quarter.
  2. The second partner in the “learning triangle” is either the faculty sponsor or the distance learning instructor. 
    1. A faculty sponsor is a UW faculty member or instructor who has agreed to work independently with students to guide their internship learning and assess the demonstration of this learning. This is a professor or instructor on campus that the student will meet with on a regular basis to discuss the academic project and experiences at the internship. Students in sections A/B must find their own faculty sponsor.
    2. Distance learning instructors guide reflective learning, connections to academic content and career competencies for students who elect to enroll in the distance learning section of GEN ST 350, sections C/D.
  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. Site supervisors play an important role in facilitating student learning, and should be connected with either the faculty sponsor or distance learning instructors early in the quarter.

Academic project details

Students in GEN ST 350 A/B are expected to complete an academic project under the guidance of their faculty sponsor. This academic project can be completed in a number of ways, though for most students, it takes the form of an analytic paper. The information below is designed to serve as a guideline for faculty sponsors working with students enrolled in GEN ST 350 A/B.

  • The paper should 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 should 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 should not be a log of the internship experience, but should 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.

Students in GEN ST 350 C/D will follow this syllabus utilizing a distance learning format through Canvas.


It is the faculty sponsor or distance learning instructor 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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