Expand AU Menu

SIS Practica


Two students at Great Wall of China

Applications for Spring 2015 Practica are now open!

See "Upcoming Practica" page for course descriptions for the 2016 Practica Programs.


Application Instructions

  1. Go the online Practicum Application Form. Fill out and submit the web form.
  2. To apply for a Practicum, please submit your application via Blackboard. All SIS Masters students have been given access to a Blackboard site called "SIS Practicum Program." When you submit the web form, you will be directed to this Blackboard site. In the left side menu, click "Apply Now."
  3. To apply to a Practicum, click the course title in the list. On the submission page, upload a cover letter and resume using the "Attach File" link. DO NOT include any text in the Submission or Comment boxes. Please label your documents with your last name, first initial, and application component. For example, "SMITH_J_CoverLetter."
  4. Repeat Step 3 for ALL Practica to which you are applying. You may apply for as many Practica as you want. As with any job application, your cover letter and resume should be tailored to each Practicum.

**Non-SIS students do not have access to the Practicum Blackboard site. These students should email sis_practica@american.edu to request access to the Blackboard site. Please note that all eligibility requirements (see below), including a minimum of 9 SIS credits, apply to non-SIS students.

Late applications will not be considered. No preference is given to applications submitted early; please take your time completing the application.


Practicum Eligibility

To be eligible to participate in an SIS Practicum, MA students must:

  • be in good academic standing (including a 3.0 cumulative GPA)
  • have completed 18 credits of graduate coursework prior to the semester in which they will participate in the Practicum

Dual-degree students (e.g. MA/MBA, JD/MA and KU/AU) must also:

  • have completed at least 9 of the minimum 18 credits in SIS to be eligible to participate in a Practicum.

Students are eligible to apply for any Practicum, regardless of their particular MA program (e.g. an IPCR student may apply to a USFP Practicum).

Students in the online MAIR program have their own Practicum option and are not eligible for on-campus Practica. Click here for more information about capstone options for MAIR students.


Tips for a Successful Application

  • Practicum applications consist of a cover letter and a resume. They should be approached as job applications.
  • Your materials should focus on your skills, knowledge, and how you will add value to the client and the Practicum team.
  • Attend an info session about the Practicum you are applying to in order to meet the professor, ask questions, and learn how to tailor your application.
  • Address your cover letter to the Practicum professor.
  • For more tips on cover letters, resumes, and job applications, check out the resources at the AU Career Center:

Important Dates

  • October 4, 2015 - Applications due for Spring 2016 Practica

Once a student has accepted a place in a Practicum course, their place is reserved. Students will be enrolled by Graduate Academic Advising. Practicum courses should appear on students' course schedules within one week of confirming their Practicum placement.


If you have any questions about the application process, please contact:

Stephanie Fischer, Executive-in-Residence

Director, Experiential Learning


Is a Practicum Right for You?

There are three ways to satisfy the capstone requirement at SIS- a Thesis, a Substantial Research Project (SRP) and a Practicum. You should consider the following questions in deciding whether or not to pursue a practicum.

  • Do you plan to apply for PhD programs? Having a thesis is likely a more useful body of work to demonstrate the academic background most PhD programs are seeking.
  • Do you prefer to work individually? Building skills in teamwork is a learning objective of the practicum. 
  • Is there a very specific topic you wish to study and you want control on the direction of the research? The practicum projects serve real-world clients. While the general theme and clients are likely not to change, there may be some shifting of project focus after you apply for a practicum in order to ensure the final results of the project will be helpful to the client.