Internship Program

The internship program is WGS 484 and can be 1-4 credit hours.

Program Description

The Women’s and Gender Studies Internship Program (WGS 484) is an opportunity for undergraduate or graduate students to gain on-site experience. Students will receive 1 to 4 hours of academic credit while learning and working in off- or on-campus placements. Students will engage in the ongoing feminist effort to integrate research with social activism as they apply academic knowledge to their work experience and consider how practical experience informs or alters theory. Internship experiences may take place on or off- campus, such as at the UMKC Women’s Center or a local battered women’s shelter. The Women’s Center director will serve as coordinator for all internship experiences. Possible internship sites may include:

Students may also earn credit for internships with regional and national agencies such as the Feminist Majority Foundation, National Organization for Women Legal Defense and Education Fund, and others. Please see the Internship Coordinator to discuss national and regional internship possibilities.

Internship Requirements

  • Internships must be planned and established prior to the beginning of the semester during which you will earn WGS 484 credit. You should begin planning at least two months in advance. However, the actual internship experience takes place during the semester when you are registered for the course.
  • Internships must be clearly differentiated from Independent Study projects. That is, internships are not usually research-based, although an agency may ask you to do research for them during your work there as part of your learning experience.
  • Internships must be new, agency-based, participatory learning experiences. That is, an existing job cannot be used as an internship.
  • An internship requires a written agreement between you and your supervisor in the agency about what your duties will be, how the agency expects to provide you with a positive and diverse learning experience, how the experience will relate to Women’s and Gender Studies, and how your performance will be evaluated. All this information must be recorded on your Internship Application form.
  • Women’s and Gender Studies Internships may not be concurrently used for additional credit under a different course number in a different department.

Academic Requirements

  • Prerequisite: WGS 201, Introduction to Women’s and Gender Studies or permission of the Internship Coordinator.
    Students will receive credits based on the number of hours they work:

    • 4 hours of work per week = one credit hour
    • 7 hours of work per week = two credit hours
    • 10 hours of work per week = three credit hours.
    • 12 hours of work per week = four credit hours
  • Students will meet regularly (3-4 times) with the Women’s and Gender Studies Internship Coordinator and other students enrolled in WSG 484. These meetings are designed to provide a forum in which all of the internship students for a given semester may collectively discuss and present the academic issues relevant to their internship. The times and location of the meetings will be determined at the beginning of the semester.
  • Students are responsible for completing the assigned readings for the Internship meetings.
  • Students are required to keep a journal of their intern experience. The journal will be due in three installments (due dates will be determined at the beginning of each semester).
  • Students will write a descriptive paper (5-7 pages) about their internship activities and experience. This paper is due on the Friday before finals week unless otherwise noted.
  • A student’s course grade is based 50% on performance at the site, and 50% on academic work.

Internship Objectives

Upon completion of their internship, students should:

  • be able to explain how feminist theory informs practice and vice versa;
  • be able to analyze work places and policies as they relate to issues of gender, race, class and sexuality;
  • have developed skills and strategies for communicating with supervisors and colleagues;
  • have developed skills and strategies for reflecting on individual responsibilities and ethics in a workplace situation;
  • have gained work experience from which to draw when making future career and/or educational choices.

Setting Up Your Internship

It is your responsibility to identify an agency and set up the internship. Most students select an internship from the many possibilities available from the Internship Coordinator. If they prefer, students may develop placements through their own contacts. In some cases, the coordinator and student may be able to develop a new placement specifically for that student’s needs.

Once you have selected an agency (or several agencies) that interests you, you should do the following:

  • Call the contact person and arrange to discuss internship possibilities with them.
  • Bring a resume that details your skills, abilities, interests, and goals. (If you need help with your resume, you can contact UMKC Career Services).
  • You are also encouraged to “do your homework” and find out more about the agency before the meeting. This is a good practice for any job search.
  • When you meet with the contact person, find out about the kind of work they are offering, what the hours will be, and any special training they might offer. You need to know who your on-site mentor/supervisor will be, and make arrangements with her/him for regular meetings. You need to be sure that your mentor/supervisor receives the following forms, available from the Internship Coordinator:
  • Contract (Word Doc): This needs to be completed by the student and mentor/supervisor and returned to the Internship Coordinator.
  • Agency Guidelines (Word Doc)
  • Evaluation form (Word Doc): Your supervisor must return this to the Internship Coordinator by the last day of finals for you to receive a grade.

Internship Coordinator

Dr. Brenda Bethman
Director, UMKC Women’s Center / Director, Women’s and Gender Studies Program
105 Haag Hall
Phone: 816.235.1643