Practicum

Each Spring, the Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies (WGSS) program offers a nationally recognized program of practical experience in advocacy, policy, and community organizations working on women's and gender issues for our graduate and select undergraduate students.


For Organizations seeking interns:

Graduate students and selected undergraduate seniors participate in a field placement in a women’s advocacy and/or policy-making organization for the Spring semester.  We ask the organization to provide a substantiveprofessional level assignment for the student.  This placement is for a minimum of 60 hours (some organizations may require more hours).  Student stipends paid by the organization are encouraged but not required. 


For Students seeking placement:

The Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies practicum provides students with professional level internships at organizations in the Washington, DC area.  It is offered every Spring, with enrollment by permission only. Placement arrangements are made in November and December of the previous Fall semester.  WGSS 6283 is for graduate students.  WGSS 4183 is for junior and senior undergraduate WGSS majors.

•    Sample syllabus from WGSS 6283/4183 from Spring 2018

•    Application for interested students (Due to [email protected] and [email protected])

Contract to be signed by placement supervisor, student, and instructor. Due before classes start in January.


Practicum FAQs

Those interested in taking the class must contact the professor prior to start of the class, and/or no later than 31st December, to ensure that the selected internship / placement satisfies the requirements listed above, in terms of time and substance.

All undergraduates wanting to take the course must seek prior approval.

WHAT kinds of internships count?

The internship must be: substantive, professional level work relevant to women's or gender issues. Relevant paid jobs may count. You must have your placement approved before classes start.

HOW MAY HOURS are required for the internship?

We require a minimum of only 60 field placement hours for the 3 credit Practicum and 120 hours for the 6 credits. For 60 hours, this might be 6 hours per week for 10 weeks, 5 hours per week for 12 weeks, etc. The exact schedule is up to you and your placement supervisor to negotiate.  Many organizations will not accept you unless you commit more hours. Your contract should spell out the expectations for total hours and work schedule (days and times). 

WHAT is the difference between WGSS 4183 and 6283?

4183 is for 3 credits only and for undergraduates only; 6283 is 3 or 6 credits and for graduate students.

ARE there regular class meetings and coursework?

YES. Both WGSS 4183 and WGSS 6283 students, whether they are taking 3 or 6 credits, meet together for regular weekly seminar meetings 6:10-8 pm on Wednesdays, Spring semester. The course requires active class participation, readings, and written assignments. 

WHAT is the Difference between 3 and 6 credits? (For Grad Students Only) 

The 6 credits version, for grad students only, requires 120 placement hours (instead of 60) and an additional 30 page case study of some aspect of your organization, over and above the written work for the seminar required of all students in the course. The case study usually requires one or more rounds of revision plus comments from someone in the organization. The case study usually requires one or more rounds of revision and, like the thesis and independent research paper options, should be publishable quality work. Meet with the instructor if you have questions about the case study.

MA students who choose the 3 credit option usually complete the degree with 3 credits of WGSS 6295 Independent Research which may be on a related or totally unrelated topic as the Practicum placement.  Some MA students use the 3 credit Practicum as an elective or concentration course, and do the MA Thesis option. Your advisor can help you decide.

HOW do I find an internship?

Try the following websites:

• http://www.civilrights.org/career_center/

• http://jobs.feminist.org/

• WIN Women’s Information Network (more for paid jobs)

National Council of Women’s Organizations go to “our members by expertise” to find organizations that interest you and link to their websites.

• Consult with the instructor.

• Regular (more or less weekly) digest/newsletters from WGSS and from the Global Women’s Institute frequently list internship opportunities.  Get on these lists if you are not already on them.

• Most organizations list internship information on their websites. If they do not, find a relevant contact person and contact them.

• You might also find some leads on sites like Idealist.com and internmatch as well as the career services office at GW, and the TSPPPA employment and internship

website (for Public Policy students), but you will need to check to make sure those internships are appropriate and acceptable for WGSS 4183 and 6283.

• Contact organizations or follow instructions for internship applications on their website or announcements. 

• Most internships require a cover letter, resume, references, and writing sample.  GW career services can help you with these.

• It is very strongly recommended that you do in-person interviews with several organizations before deciding.

•    Once you decide on a placement, there is a contract for you, Professor Deitch, and your placement supervisor to sign. You must have a signed contract before the 1st class meeting in January. The form is on the practicum website.

CAN I meet with someone to talk about the Practicum?  Yes, the instructor for the Practicum course will meet with you.  For Spring 2019 Janine Moussa.  [email protected] is the Practicum Professor.

In addition, Prof. Cynthia Deitch is available for general consultation about the Practicum option.