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College of Humanities & Sciences

School of World Studies

SWS Internship Syllabus

(ANTH 493 / FRLG 493 / WRLD 493 / RELS 493)

Reference this page for the entire length of your internship. You will need these instructions to complete your graded Portfolios. The World Studies Internship is a graded academic course which takes place outside the classroom in an area business, organization or agency. You will be working with both the VCU-SWS internship coordinator and a field supervisor within the selected agency or internship location.


All School of World Studies majors may complete 1-3 credits of internship. The course may be repeated for a maximum of 6 credits, however only 3 credits can count toward the major concentration. Anthropology majors and minors may complete 1-3 credits of internship and may repeat the course for a maximum of 6 credits, all of which may apply towards their major. Each internship credit requires 40 logged hours of work at the internship site. Foreign Language majors must complete all coursework in their target language.

Course Requirements

The internship course is composed of (1) those responsibilities placed on students as the intern by their field supervisor and (2) the general and academic course requirements stated below. You should ensure that your supervisor fully understands the nature and responsibilities of both of you before beginning the internship.

Internship Interview

After completing the Internship Application and Agreement, you should schedule an appointment to discuss the internship with the SWS Coordinator.


All student interns should conduct themselves in a professional manner (dress, speech, etc.) at all times. Remember you are a student of Virginia Commonwealth University and your conduct will also reflect on the University. This is a good opportunity to showcase what VCU students have to offer the community.

Photo Requirement

At some point during the internship you should submit a photo or two demonstrating your participation with the organization. Ideally these photos should feature you and/or supervisor and should identify the organization in some manner (for example: wearing a t-shirt, holding a logo, in front of a sign, at work, etc.) These photos may be used for promotional purposes by the SWS. Photos should be sent to the Internship Coordinator by the Final Deadline.

Workshop Attendance

Each Fall semester we hold our annual Student Research Conference. During this conference an Internship Workshop session will be held. This will provide information to prospective future interns as well as give current interns a chance to informally share their internship experience. Supervisors will also be invited. An Internship Workshop will also be held in the Spring semester.

Log of Hours

Beginning with your first day at the selected organization, you will keep a log of the hours you work. If your internship has been approved, you may accumulate up to 50% of your total hours prior to the beginning of the semester. You must log a minimum of 40 hours per credit and only the hours you work for the agency may be recorded on your log. Hours spent off-site (outside the agency’s office) also count provided you are doing work they assigned to you. Hours  spent commuting to the organization or on journal/report writing do not count towards the log of hours. This Log must be signed by your supervisor weekly to verify your hours. A copy of your log will be included in your Midterm Portfolio and the complete, original Log of Hours documenting all hours completed for the internship will be submitted in your Final Portfolio. You can download/print the log here.

Weekly Journal

You are required to keep a journal throughout the internship making a minimum of one dated entry each week. For Foreign Language internships the journal must be written in the target language. The journal is primarily for your benefit as a tool to aide in writing the Organization Report and the Reflective Essay required by your Mid-Term and Final Portfolios respectively. Read through the required topics for each to have an idea of the type of information to track in your journal throughout the internship. Ideally, when you sit down to write these reports, you will have all the details included in your Journal. You must date each journal entry but there are no requirements on the length or content. The journal may be typed or hand-written. Include whatever information is of benefit to you; feel free to be creative!

NOTE: Privacy Laws prohibit you from including in your journal or reports any identifying information (names, addresses, personal/case details, etc.) about clients of the agency with which you are working. Please keep this in mind when writing your journal entries and reports.


You will submit two portfolios during the semester. One to two weeks prior to each due date you will receive an email reminder. It is your responsibility to submit your portfolios on time. Deadlines can be found here. Late submissions will be deducted 15 points and will not be accepted over 3 days late. Points will be deducted from each Portfolio for failure to include required information or to follow the formatting and instructions.

Log of Hours

For each portfolio, be sure the supervisor signs your log of hours to verify the hours you have worked to date. Include the total hours completed on the Cover Page.

Cover Page

Each Portfolio must have a cover page that includes the following information: your name; the date; your majors/minors; the organization where you interned; your internship course and the number of credits for which you registered; total hours completed to date; and your target language if applicable. The Cover Page does NOT count toward the total pages for each report.


Each report should be in standard essay formatting (12 pt. font, 1” margins, double-spaced, with numbered pages). Include a bibliography of any sources used for research and to cite any quotes, direct or indirect. All items in each portfolio must be stapled together with the Cover Page on top (do not use three ring binders, folders or clips of any kind). For Foreign Language internships, the journals, reports, and reflective essay must be written in the target language. Portfolios will be evaluated by the internship coordinator unless written in a target language in which case they may be evaluated by a faculty member of that program.

Mid-Term Portfolio

Midway through the semester you will submit a portfolio consisting of:  

  • Cover Page  
  • Copy of your
  • Log of Hours (Keep your original for your final portfolio)  
  • Copy of your Journal (Keep your original for your final portfolio)  Organization Report (pages numbered! In target lang.)
  • Organization Report: This is a 4 page report describing the organization you are working with and your role within it. Two-thirds of this report will summarize a brief history of the agency (how the organization came to exist, the work it does, the area of the population it serves and what it hopes to accomplish) and 1/3 of the report will be a brief outline of the tasks, projects and responsibilities you have been assigned in your internship. This report should be in MLA formatting including in-text citations for any sources used and a bibliography. Even personal interviews must be cited. (At the 400 level of coursework in your major, you are expected to know how to format a brief research report.) At least one source for your research is expected, and failure to use proper citations will be interpreted as plagiarism. The majority of this report should be in your own words; do NOT just cut and paste from the organization’s website. Use this guide for formatting bibliographic and intext citations, including online sources and personal interviews.

Final Portfolio

At the end of your internship, you will turn in a portfolio consisting of:  

  • Cover page  
  • Complete, Original Log of Hours  
  • Complete, Original Journal  
  • Reflective Essay (in target language if applicable)

Reflective Essay

This is the culmination of your internship and provides an opportunity for you to document your learning experience within a broader context. If this is a Foreign Language internship, the essay must be in the target language! The essay should be a minimum of 5 and maximum of 7 pages. The Cover Page does NOT count in this total. The point of this essay is to discuss what you have LEARNED, not what you DID!!! Since you have already summarized your responsibilities in the Organization Report, this report should focus on your insights and knowledge gained from your experience. The report will be graded on the depth to which each of the following topics is addressed and the insights you provide. Failing to address ALL of the topics listed means you will NOT receive an A for the report, which will affect your final grade for the internship.

Reflective Essay Topics

  • What were some of the positive and negative aspects of your internship?  
  • Do you feel you were dependable, reliable, and resourceful?
  • Were you able to maintain a good work ethic during the internship? Give evidence.  
  • What skills did you have that helped you with the responsibilities you were given?
  • What skills do you feel you’ve gained as a result of the work you completed?  
  • What represents your best work from the internship?  
  • How have this experience and the knowledge you’ve gained relate to what you have learned in your major or minor courses?  
  • What additional learning needs have you identified for yourself as a result of this internship?  Has this internship helped you in pursuing your career goals? Explain.

Intern Evaluation

The Intern Evaluation form is a major portion of your final grade and will be completed by your field supervisor. This form allows the internship coordinator to evaluate how well students fulfilled the responsibilities given to you at the agency. The Evaluation will be emailed directly to your supervisor 1-2 weeks prior to the due date. Students are responsible to work with your supervisor to ensure the form is returned in a timely manner (by the due date!) Your supervisor may return the Evaluation by fax, email, mail, or by giving you a sealed copy to include with your portfolio. A copy of the form is included with this syllabus solely for your benefit, but is not to be used for the official evaluation.

Grading or “How to Succeed in an Internship”

Internships are a graded academic course. The key characteristics required for succeeding at an internship are dependability and professionalism! This means: being reliable at your internship location; completing the required number of hours for the credits received; submitting each portfolio correctly and by the deadline; addressing all of the report topics indicated in depth; and receiving an above average evaluation from your field supervisor. Failing to comply with any of the course requirements will lower your final grade. You must turn in both Mid-terms, their journal, signed Log of hours, and Internship Evaluation to receive credit for the Internship/course.

Your internship grade is based on:

  • Midterm Portfolio: 20%
  • Total Hours: 10%
  • Final Portfolio: 30%
  • Intern Evaluation: 40%


For questions or concerns throughout the semester please contact Jon Waybright, Internship Coordinator .

Withdrawal Deadline

For the withdrawal deadline and other important dates, please see the deadlines page or see the VCU academic calendar for the current semester at

The VCU Honor System

Virginia Commonwealth University recognizes that honesty, truth and integrity are values central to its mission as an institution of higher education. In a community devoted to learning, a foundation of honor must exist if that community is to thrive with respect and harmony. Therefore, members of the academic community are required to conduct themselves in accordance with the highest standards of academic honesty and integrity. All SWS interns are presumed upon enrollment in the internship course to have acquainted themselves with and have an understanding of the VCU Honor System. Interns may review the Honor Code at

Statement on Americans with Disabilities Act

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 require Virginia Commonwealth University to provide an 'academic adjustment' and/or a 'reasonable accommodation' to any qualified individual with a physical or mental disability who self-identifies as having such. Students should contact the Disability Support Services office on the Monroe Park Campus (828-2253) or on the MCV Campus (828-9782) for appropriate academic adjustments or accommodations.

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