Undergraduate History Internship: HIST 399

An internship provides you with a more concrete dimension to your historical study. It allows you to see and engage in the practice of history in a professional setting such as an archive, a museum, an historic site, or a government agency for GMU course credit. An internship is a meaningful way to acquire experience and contacts in the field, which can be valuable when you enter the job market or apply to graduate schools. By participating in an internship, you may:

  • learn about the past from a different perspective than that found in lecture or seminar courses
  • use new and unfamiliar research tools
  • have new career choices revealed to you
  • learn more about your own potential and aptitude for such a career
  • have valuable "real world" work experience to include on future resumes

For more information about History 399, students should contact the Internship Director Prof. Samuel Huneke at shuneke@gmu.edu.

How it Works

To receive GMU course credit for HIST 399, students must apply and be hired for an internship at any public or private agency in which the work assigned involves practical skills needed to be a professional historian. Most students work at museums, archives, and libraries, but some have worked in the private sector at law firms, privately-owned companies, in journalism, and other non-profit agencies working on history-related projects. In addition, during the summer, students are encouraged to seek internships outside of the D.C. area as well as abroad.

Students can enroll in HIST 399 during the academic year or the summer. Keep in mind, however, that GMU Summer School tuition is slightly higher than Fall/Spring semester tuition; and to receive university credit for HIST 399, students must pay tuition as they would for any other course.

Who Is Eligible?

You must be a history major who has completed, or is in the process of completing, 15 hours in history. A 2.5 GPA in all history courses is mandatory.

How are Internships Obtained?

If you meet the academic requirements, you should consult with the History Internship Director well before the start of the semester that you would like to enroll in History 399.

We maintain a list of agencies that are willing to accept student interns - see "History Internship Opportunities" link on the right side of this page. Your professors may be able to recommend sites in their fields of specialization. Further assistance may be available from GMU's Career Services Office.

You will seek out a position in consultation with the Internship Director and to receive academic credit, the Internship Director must approve the site/position. To receive approval, the nature of the site and your duties must be essentially historical.

Internships are usually unpaid positions, though some may be salaried or provide a modest stipend. Interns must have reliable transportation to the work site, and they may also have to arrange for parking and medical insurance.

There are no special fees or charges (beyond standard tuition fees) associated with completing an internship for history credit.


Sign up for HIST 399 through the History Internship Director. You cannot register for this course without a signed permission form from the Internship Director.

  • Your faculty supervisor will either be the Internship Director or a faculty member whose specialty is in the area of your internship.
  • You must be approved by the agency supervisor. This supervisor will arrange your work schedule, direct the work experience, and help in evaluating your performance.
  • An "Internship Agreement" must be signed by you, your job site supervisor, and your faculty supervisor or the Internship Director. This agreement stipulates the expectations and obligations of the internship, which must be completed in order to receive a satisfactory grade and credit for HIST 399.
  • In addition, the University requires a “Consent and Release Agreement” to be signed by the student.

Credit Hours

45 hours of work is required for 1 credit of HIST 399. 135 hours of work is required for 3 credits of HIST 399.  In other words, if enrolled in HIST 399 for 3-credits, students should plan to devote 9 hours/week to the internship. Students can enroll in up to 6 credits of HIST 399 per semester or summer session. Up to 9 credits of HIST 399 can be applied toward the History degree.

For more detailed information or to discuss program specifics, please contact Prof. Samuel Huneke, the History Internship Director, at shuneke@gmu.edu.