Graduate Student Internships

A 3-credit internship, usually taken in the third semester, is required for the MA in Philosophy and Social Policy and can serve as an elective for the MA in the History of Philosophy. The department encourages students to complete their internship in the fall semester. An internship provides the opportunity to test the claim that philosophy is the kind of discipline that teaches transferable skills such as critical reading, analytical problem solving and clear and persuasive writing. These skills are desirable since many legal services, research institutes, non-profit organizations, think tanks and business organizations, all of which happen to reside in Washington and offer internships, are in search of individuals with such skills.

Internship Coordinator

Professor Ian Rhoad: The internship coordinator oversees, supervises, instructs, and grades all internships.


To enroll in an internship, you must have completed 9 earned credit hours at AU with a minimum 3.0 GPA.

To earn 3 credits, you are expected to work 14 hours per week for 14 consecutive weeks.

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 non-profit organizations, and in legal settings, for example, answering phones and filing papers and even making photocopies is not mere "clerical work." This is work shared by members of the organization as a whole, and may exceed the "15% rule." In these cases, 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 so, it is essential to your experience of working in and learning about, a particular field or work environment.

You must successfully complete a substantive paper of 25-30 pages, 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 in philosophy.

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


  1. After consultation with Professor Rhoad, find an internship.
  2. Register for PHIL 691, 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.

How to Get the Most Out of Your Internship Experience 

It is important to start thinking now 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. If you are working toward your MA, you should think of the internship as an element of your training that reflects both your competence in theoretical work and your ability to apply that theory in evaluating current problems and issues. 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 in the Spring Semester of your first year. AU has an excellent Career and Internship Office that can assist you in your initial search. Once you’ve 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!