Academic Internships (AIs)

About Academic Internships

To apply for an AI,  complete the Independent Studies application materials, available here.

Academic internships (AIs) allow students to combine an independent study with outside unpaid work experience and receive course credit for it.  In order to qualify for credit, the academic study and the internship must take place during the same fall or spring semester.  A strong, rigorous academic component must complement the work experience, and the work itself must be unpaid.  Participating students bear the major responsibility for both the planning and conduct of the academic internship.  A faculty member advises the project and evaluates the student's work.  An academic internship carries the same course credit as any other course offered at Brown.

The academic component of the internship is as important as the job itself.  The student works with both an agency sponsor and a Brown faculty member, and must read, write, and research as much as for any other class.  The internship can be a case study for a course, or it can be an experience to which you want to bring an academic perspective.  A required final paper will help you integrate your internship experience with your academic course of study.  An academic internship is demanding, but the rewards are well worth the effort.  Put your education to the test and engage in hands-on work in the larger community!

How do I get started?

You may already have an idea for an internship in mind.  Whether or not you do, consult with Curricular Resource Center staff and browse through their internship archive to generate ideas for internships.  Past students have explored teaching, journalism, advertising, law, finance, elderly day care, computer programming, TV production, and many other fields.

Once you’ve brainstormed ideas, visit the Swearer Center to learn about local community organizations.  The local Yellow Pages may also help you identify organizations that fit your interests.  You’ll then need to contact the agency and arrange to meet with an agency representative to discuss internship possibilities.

Next, approach the professor with whom you would like to work.  Do this as early as possible; professors plan their semester loads long in advance of the semester in which they complete the work.  If the professor is willing to work with you, they will most likely want to be involved in the planning of the internship.  The CRC has AI planning sheets that will help you start the planning process.