Internship Information Packet


Purpose: The George Washington University Museum Studies Internship Program offers Museum Studies graduate students the opportunity to apply knowledge learned through formal instruction in a museum environment. It is the opinion of the Museum Studies Program that such an experience is intrinsically educational and at the same time provides the best bridge to professional development.

Eligibility: The Museum Studies Internship Program is only available to graduate level Museum Studies students at the George Washington University. Furthermore, internships are reserved for students who have completed a semester of full-time coursework.

Requirements: All students must register for one, three-credit internship at a museum or a museum-related institution (exhibition design firm, art handler). However, Museum Studies faculty recommend that students participate in two, three-credit internships at two different institutions, one of which must be a museum. All students can register for up to a total of six (6) credit hours of internship, either as part of the thirty-six (36) hours of study leading to a Masters in Museum Studies or as part of the eighteen (18) credit hours of study leading to the Certificate in Museum Studies. Students who do two internships are strongly advised to do them at two separate institutions.

Length: To receive credit for the internship, students must complete 200 working hours in an approved institution.

Registration: Students register for an internship the same way they register for other graduate level courses. The course number for Museum Studies Internships is MSTD 6501. When registering online the credit hours for an internship might automatically default to one (1). If this happens, the student must manually change the credit hours to reflect the length of his/her internship. Students generally register for three (3) credit hours of internship in a given semester. The student does have the option of registering for two internships (6 credits total) in one semester. For each semester, there are two (2) sections of MSTD 6501 offered. To complete both internships at once, the student must register for the six (6) credits, divided between the two (2) offered sections of the course.

With the approval of your Museum Studies advisor, an internship may extend past a normal semester time period. In such a case, the student receives as IPG (in progress) grade at the end of the semester. When the internship is complete, the final grade replaced the IPG.

MSTD Paperwork: When an organization has agreed to accept a Museum Studies student as an intern, the site is responsible for appointing a qualified individual to be the intern supervisor. At this point the student and the museum supervisor should complete three of the forms located in this internship packet (the Internship Checklist, the Statement of Expectations, and the Timetable Agreement). In addition, the museum supervisor must provide his/her Curriculum Vitae or Resume. The student must return all materials, some of which require signatures, to the Museum Studies advisor no later than one (1) week after the internship begins. Materials can be dropped off at 2036 H Street NW, 3rd Floor, Washington, DC 20052 or emailed as a scanned PDF to your MSTD advisor. Please turn in all paperwork at one time.

Although these materials require the museum supervisor’s participation in order to complete, it is ultimately the intern’s responsibility to ensure that all appropriate paperwork reaches MSTD in a timely manner.


Brief Explanation of Initial Documents: 

The George Washington University requires the Museum Studies Program to obtain an updated Curriculum Vitae or Resume from the museum supervisor since this individual will be providing the student with educational services. The CV should be attached to the other internship paperwork before being submitted to the MSTD advisor.

Prior to the beginning of the internship, the student and the museum supervisor must also create a Statement of Expectations for the internship (See attached form). This written and signed statement constitutes a formal agreement between the student and the museum supervisor regarding the internship. The student’s MSTD advisor must approve the Statement of Expectations. No student may receive academic credit for an internship unless a Statement of Expectations is on file with the Museum Studies office.

The student must also negotiate an appropriate work schedule with the museum supervisor. The Museum Studies Program will agree to most work schedules as long as it allows for the requisite 200 hours. The work schedule must be recorded on the attached Internship Timetable Agreement and returned to the Museum Studies Office no later than one (1) week after the internship begins.

The student must also complete the Internship Checklist. This form will provide the Museum Studies Advisor with the necessary information to contact the student’s museum supervisor and other useful information to facilitate the assignment of a final grade.

Documentation and Reflection: The museum internship is both a vocational (200 hours of work) AND an academic experience, for which you are receiving graduate credit. The work handed in at the end of the semester is half of your grade for the internship. Students must submit the following at the end of the semester:

a. Documentation of work product. This can take a variety of forms depending on the type of work. Examples include but are not limited to: journal detailing daily tasks; detailed examples of work (cataloguing sheets, policy manual written); a portfolio; or a research paper). AND

b. 5-page reflection paper discussing the internship experience that addresses what they did and learned at the internship.

All assignments should be professionally assembled (typed, edited, and written in complete sentences. Do not submit your hand-written notes). Students should submit the documentation and reflection paper to his/her Museum Studies Advisor within 2 weeks of the final day of the internship.

Supervision: The Museum Studies Program and the sponsoring museum jointly supervise the internship. The museum provides direct supervision through regular scheduled meetings. The Museum Studies Program monitors the internship through correspondence with the museum supervisor and the student, and through the Mid-term Evaluation.

Evaluation: The Museum Studies program bases the final grade on both the student’s final work product and evaluations by the supervisor. The museum supervisor must complete a mid-term evaluation and a final evaluation letter for each intern. This packet includes a form for each report. (The Museum Studies program solicits evaluation reports from the museum supervisor, but accepts responsibility for the final decision of the student's grade.)

Timely submission of these evaluations is essential since the Museum Studies Program cannot award a final grade to the student without them.

  • The mid-term evaluation is due after half of the internship hours have been completed.
  • The final evaluation letter is due within two (2) weeks of the final day of the internship.

University Contact: All questions and correspondences should be directed to your Museum Studies advisor:



Planning: When planning an internship, students should take stock of their skills, knowledge and experience gaps, interests, and career plans. Students should review internship opportunities posted on the Museum Studies listserve and newsletter and consult the list of Internship Contacts available at the Museum Studies Office. Students are encouraged to speak to other students and discuss recent internship experiences.

The student is REQUIRED to discuss his/her plans with their Museum Studies Advisor before he/she registers for an internship. The Museum Studies advisor counsels and oversees the process of intern placement, and helps monitor the internship.

All questions regarding the structure of internships and basic requirements should be directed to your Museum Studies advisor. Although the Museums Studies faculty are available to assist the student with his/her internship, it is ultimately students’ responsibility to secure an internship and ensure their successful completion of this requirement.

Internship Applications: The student is responsible for locating, completing, and submitting the sponsoring institution’s internship application. Many museums and cultural organizations have formal internship application procedures, which Museum Studies students must follow. Deadlines for applications may be months in advance of a starting date, so students should start the process early. Other institutions have less formalized procedures. In some cases, a direct inquiry to a potential museum sponsor will be sufficient to identify an internship opportunity. Information on internship procedures is generally available online.

If an institution’s internship application requires letters of recommendation, the Museum Studies Program will gladly provide one for a Museum Studies student. Requests to professors and advisors should be submitted at least two weeks in advance of the student’s deadline.

The Museum Interview: Many museums and other cultural institutions require a prospective intern to interview for an available position. Students should conduct themselves in a professional manner and bring a resume to the interview. If the institution offers the position to a MSTD student, he or she should have a general discussion regarding the objectives, hours, and supervision. Before accepting the offer, the student should provide the museum staff member with a copy of this Internship Packet and the attached forms. If the museum staff member has any questions or concerns he/she should contact your Museum Studies Advisor.

Student Responsibilities: It is students’ responsibility to keep their Museum Studies advisor informed on the progress in obtaining an internship. Before a student starts any internship, the Museum Studies advisor should be generally aware of the placement of the student and of the nature of the internship duties. The Museum Studies Internship Packet should be completed, signed, and submitted to the Museum Studies advisor for approval no later than one (1) week after the internship begins. No student will receive academic credit for an internship unless these materials are received in a timely manner.

Students are encouraged to bring any problems with the internship to the attention of their Museum Studies advisor as soon as concerns arise. It is the responsibility of advisors to help resolve such problems and ensure meaningful educational experiences for students. If students have any questions, they should not hesitate to ask.

Once the internship is completed, the student is responsible for submitting an acceptable final work product to the Museum Studies advisor and ensuring that all evaluations have successfully arrived.

The information contained in this packet outlines the general policies and procedures of the Museum Studies Program. The Program Head of the Museum Studies Program must approve any exceptions to these policies and procedures.

All of the Museum Studies internship information and forms are also available on our departmental Google Drive. If you need access to the drive, please contact Roxann Edwards, [email protected].

We welcome your participation in the Museum Studies Internship Program, and are here to facilitate a successful and rewarding internship experience.


  • Internship Checklist
  • Statement of Expectations Internship
  • Timetable Agreement
  • Mid-term Progress Report
  • Final Evaluation Letter