AMS 192 offers academic credit (P/NP grading) to students who have arranged for an approved internship. Internships are a great way to get some work experience AND receive academic credit toward your degree!  You can find an organization you want to work with, or check out the campus Internship and Career Center

AMS 192 is a variable unit course, from 1 to 12 units, depending on the time commitment required by the internship sponsoring organization. The rough formula is 1 academic unit for each 3 hours’ commitment per week for the ten week quarter. The student need not take as many hours credit as the commitment would allow. The internship must have an identified supervisor.

Students receive AMS 192 credit for academic work that enhances the internship experience, not merely for the time invested. The academic component is an “added value” to the internship. The faculty sponsor and the student intern agree to an explicit contract describing the expectations for work earning a “Pass” for the units.

One Model that works (although you can certainly and your faculty member can develop a different model by agreement):

The AMS 192 student intern agrees to fulfill the following obligations in exchange for the academic units the internship carries:

  • keep a fieldwork journal and periodically send the faculty sponsor copies of the journal entries;
  • complete readings, as contracted with the faculty sponsor, and integrate those readings into the fieldwork entries;
  • communicate, ideally in person, with the faculty sponsor throughout the quarter; and
  • write an ethnographic essay (typically 2,000-3,000 words) analyzing the cultures of the organization.

In American Studies we understand an internship can function like fieldwork. Thus, the American Studies intern acts much like an anthropologist or sociologist or folklorist would, entering “the field,” keeping a fieldwork journal of the experience, and returning “home” to write about the cultures observed in the field in the form of a written “ethnographic” essay.  The goal of the essay is not to “summarize” the internship experience but to analyze the cultures of the organization. The essay should have a strong, organizing thesis and use concrete examples from the field notes to support the thesis.

In other words, in a work context, you aren’t just “doing the work” of the organization as participant, you are “doing the cultural work of analysis” using the skills developed as an American Studies major.  

Thus, the fieldwork journal, can be a crucial element in the internship experience. Your faculty may require the final ethnographic essay is based on the field notes and regular bi-weekly communication with the faculty sponsor. The student intern should write in the journal every day, if possible, but certainly very soon after a day’s internship experience. The journal entries can take the form of brief notes, stream-of-consciousness writing, and (later) some more self-conscious, analytical writing. The journal records basic aspects of the cultural scene—the office layout, for example, and the main “players” in the scene.