Fieldwork Guide


An Urban Studies Internship can be a critical part of your experience as an Urban Studies major, and it is a crucial step towards your future as an urban professional. It provides the opportunity to complement your academic studies with hands-on experience and an opportunity to apply theoretical learning to real-world practice.  The internship involves working on a regular, but part-time (minimum 12 hrs/week) basis at a non-profit or public agency or institution.  In this way, in addition to gaining practical work experience, students learn how local organizations address the urban issues (i.e., immigration, health care, transportation, the environment, governance, etc.). Students thus take on responsibility and contribute to the workplace at the same time as they pursue their academic goals.  Typically, internships are unpaid positions. The internship process involves the following steps:

1.  Setting.  It is of utmost importance that you find a setting that is relevant to your interests and/or possible career goals.  There are several ways of doing this:

A. You may pursue your own contacts/leads for an internship, much as one looks for a job, by going to the appropriate agency or workplace and volunteering to help out in ways that assist the agency while providing you with a meaningful learning experience.

B. A faculty member in your field of interest may be able to suggest possible internship opportunities.

C. Once you have identified one, or several, potential placements, it is likely you will be asked to submit a resume and go on an interview. Be prepared (the QC Office of Career Services is an excellent resource for assistance in these areas).

D. Before committing yourself to a particular internship, you should visit the site and identify a staff member of the agency who can serve as your Supervisor.  This person will provide appropriate supervision at the site of your internship.

2.  Approval.  All internships must be approved by the Associate Chair, MA in Urban Affairs  (Prof. Dåna-Ain Davis) or the Chair of the Urban Studies Department (Prof. Len Rodberg). Approval of the internship is indicated when your advisor signs off on your Fieldwork Proposal.

3. You are then ready to register for URBST 780, which is 3 credits.  If you have a second internship you will register for URBST 781, which is also 3 credits.

4. Seminar. Your fieldwork will be accompanied by a seminar or workshops.  During the semester you will have to meet with the Associate Chair of the MA in Urban Affairs at least twice.  The dates will be determined at the beginning of the semester of your internship.

5.  Paper.  The final document for the Fieldwork is a 10-page paper that examines how your internship can be applied to the broader knowledge of Urban Affairs. Generally the paper should be linked to one or more of the classes you have already taken.  This paper should be submitted to your Prof. Dána-Ain Davis along with your Supervisor’s Evaluation, at the end of the semester.

6.  Supervisor’s Evaluation.  The on-site Supervisor will be asked to evaluate your performance using the attached form.  You are responsible for ensuring that the Supervisor has prepared such an evaluation and returned it to your advisor at the end of the semester.

7.  Grade.  Your grade is based on your paper, and the Supervisors’ evaluation.

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