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Philosophy & Religion | Undergraduate Student Internships

An internship is required for the religious studies major and is optional, although highly recommended, for the philosophy major. The department encourages students to complete their internships in the fall semester. An internship may be taken for up to 3 credits for the religion minor, but an internship may not count toward the philosophy minor. An internship provides the opportunity to test the claim that philosophy and religious studies are the kinds of disciplines that teach transferable skills such as critical reading, analytical problem-solving and clear and careful writing. These skills are desirable, since many research institutes, non-profit organizations, think tanks and legal and business organizations—all of which Washington supports in abundance—are in search of individuals with such skills. 

Internship Coordinator
Ellen K. Feder: The internship coordinator oversees, supervises, and grades all internships. Students must receive her approval and signature before registering for their internships.


How to Get the Most Out of Your Internship Experience

It is important to start thinking early about what you would like to accomplish in your internship semester. The clearer your objectives, the more likely it is that you will find the right place. In thinking about what sort of internship to pursue, let your interests determine which place can offer you the richest experience. To accomplish this, you need to start your search early in the semester before you would like to begin an internship. First, you should think about what issues, concerns, or professions you are interested in. Then, you should discuss these with your advisor, and speak with other students about their experience with similar internships. Another resource for internship information is AU’s Career and Internship Office. Once you have identified the appropriate site, visit and meet with people—maybe you can talk to someone who is currently interning there. Speak with the internship supervisors at the site, and discuss with them your academic interests to find out whether there is any work and research to be done in your area. If so, congratulations! If not, keep looking!

Finding the perfect match could lead to future employment!



To enroll in an internship, you must have completed 30 earned credit hours at AU with a minimum 2.0 GPA; or, as a transfer student, have completed 12 earned credits at AU with a minimum 2.0 GPA.

To earn 3 credits, you are expected to work 14 hours per week for 14 consecutive weeks (7 hours will earn 1 credit, 10 hours will earn 2 credits, 18 hours will earn 4 credits, 22 hours will earn 5 credits, and 26 hours will earn 6 credits).

The majority of your time should be devoted to substantive work. No more than 15% of your time should be spent doing clerical work. You must appreciate, however, that at many nonprofit organizations and in legal settings answering phones, filing papers, and even making photocopies is not mere “clerical work.” Rather, this work is shared by members of the organization as a whole, and may exceed the “15% rule.” In cases such as this, it is important to appreciate that this is not simply “grunt work,” but labor essential to the particular job or the running of the organization and thus essential to your experience of working in and learning about a particular field or work environment.

You must successfully complete a substantive paper of 10 pages for a 3-credit internship or 15 pages for a 6-credit internship, which includes a bibliography and theoretical analysis of the internship experience.

You must also develop an individual course syllabus, which should include readings and assignments that draw connections between the work of your internship and analysis of philosophy or religious studies.

At the end of the internship, the instructor will solicit an evaluation from the student's supervisor. 



  1. Find an internship.
  2. Register for either Phil or Relg 391, the internship course.
  3. Fill out the Internship Registration Form, and obtain the appropriate department signatures.
  4. Submit the form to the Registrar's Office (
  5. Submit a reading list to the internship coordinator.
  6. Submit the final paper and all evaluations no later than the last day of classes.