Loyola University Chicago

Department of History

Public history internships

Guidelines for Practicums and Internships

Statement of Philosophy

Public history is the practical application of historical principles to public sector problems or audiences. Like any field of study, it has its theoretical concerns; however, at its core is the emphasis on execution. Public history can be learned only by doing public history. Coursework in the program features practical exercises, simulating the practice of history in the public sector. Internships and practicums are extensions of the coursework, but, unlike coursework, they take place not in the classroom but in the field. Practicums provide students with an initial exposure to the practice of their profession or allow students to add additional background in an area of public history. The experience is generally supervised by a Loyola faculty member. Internships are an independent venture outside of the academy that is meant to be the capstone of the student’s academic program. The internship should be designed to give the student professional experience and contacts in one facet of public history. The Public History Program Director supervises all internships. Upon successful completion of an internship or practicum, students will earn 3 hours of credit.

Practicum in Public History 581


1. Practicums are undertaken either under the direct supervision of Loyola faculty or the joint supervision of the Public History Program Director and a cooperating off-campus supervisor.

2. Students desiring a practicum must arrange the course with a faculty member. The Practicum agreement should be completed and signed off on by all parties. A “Directed Study Form” should be obtained from the Graduate Programs Secretary and filled out prior to registration.

3. All practicums must include a written report to be prepared by the end of the semester. If the practicum is under the direct supervision of a Loyola faculty member, additional requirements may be included. If the practicum takes place off-campus, the internship guidelines for evaluation will comprise the evaluative component of the practicum.

Public History Internship History 582

The internship provides students with extended practical experience in the field of public history. Internships are tailored to fit the needs of the individual student and the needs of the off-campus agency involved. As part of their program, all public history students must undertake an internship either doing public history in the private sector or with a public agency. The internship is available during any semester and its timing is related to an individual student’s progress in the program. The number of weeks it will last and hours per week entailed will vary from experience to experience, although it must run a minimum of 150 hours.


1. Finding an internship is the joint responsibility of the student and the Director of the Public History Program.

2. The internship generally should take place outside of Loyola University and with the involvement of another organization or institution such as a business, government agency, or historical society.

3. The internship must entail a high percentage of public history professional tasks. Clerical duties may be a part of the work regime, but they must not be the bulk of the experience.

4. It is not necessary that the internship be a paid experience.

5. Before an internship is fully arranged, a written position description must be agreed upon by the student, Director of the Public History Program, and the institution involved.

6. A specific individual at the internship site must be identified as the intern’s supervisor.

7. The internship agreement should be filled out and signed by all parties.


1. Students will keep a journal or log of their work during the internship. It is not intended to be just a diary of what one does each week. It should also be a summary of the significant learning that takes place. This journal will be submitted to the Program Director at the completion of the project if requested and must be produced on demand at any time during the internship.

2. Students will turn in a typewritten (double-spaced) paper, at least 10 pages in length, at the completion of the internship. The paper offers students the opportunity to discuss their internship and assess their experience as an intern. The assessment component should include a description of the internship and a consideration of (1) how well student objectives were met; (2) the significance of the internship as a part of the overall educational experience; and (3) the strengths and weaknesses of the internship. If appropriate, illustrative supporting materials should be attached to the paper.

3. The Program Director will meet with the internship supervisor on as necessary during the internship to monitor progress.

4. The Program Director will receive bi-weekly progress reports from the intern either written or verbal, throughout the duration of the internship.

5. The internship supervisor will submit an evaluation of the intern at the conclusion of the internship.

6. The internship can be terminated only by consultation between the Program Director and the internship supervisor. If it is terminated, the student will receive either a grade of “I” or will be graded on his/her work-to-date.

7. The student’s overall grade will be determined by the Program Director following consultation with the student, review of the student’s log (when necessary) and written report, and consultation with the internship supervisor. The grading formula is as follows:

Journal/Contact with Public History Program Director (5%)
Paper (45%)
Supervisor Evaluation (50%)

Practicums Form
Internships Form

Women and Leadership Archives