Internships and Experiential Learning

An internship can be a great way to prepare yourself for life after college while you are completing your undergraduate degree. These co-curricular professional experiences can help you learn what kind of work you like to do and how to bring your interests, skills & values into a potential career. Keep in mind that you can always approach volunteer opportunities, research projects, and even an elective class with the same professional mindset as you would an internship, and all of these experiences can help to point you toward a fulfilling career after graduation!

How Do I Find Out About Internships?

We post internship announcements primarily in our private LinkedIn group for current UW geography students & alums. We also have a list of past student internships online. Geography students looking for internships are encouraged to seek out opportunities on their own. Resources from the Career & Internship Center, including internship fairs, are useful for our students - particularly this Finding Internships video:

What Funding Opportunities May Be Available for Unpaid Internships?

The Gerald W. Halmo Geography Scholars Program provides financial support to undergraduate geography majors to support their research, volunteering, or other projects that benefit a community and further their development as a geographer. The recipients of this award will work with a group or individual(s) who work on projects that produce such a benefit. This work can be an internship but may also be any other working association with community groups or individual(s).

How Do I Earn Credit for My Internship?

Internship credits are earned by registering for GEOG 496. This course may be taken for either 3 or 5 credits, depending on the number of hours a week you devote to your internship; for example, 15 hours a week or more merits 5 credits. You must register for GEOG 496 in the same quarter that you are working as an intern. In other words, you cannot retroactively receive academic credit for a previous internship except by special arrangement.

International students on an F-1 visa should be sure to review the Curricular Practical Training information available through the International Student Services office.

How Do I Register For GEOG 496?

To register for GEOG 496, you must line up a geography faculty member to supervise your internship credits. Complete the online Internship Project Proposal form, which is now located within Handshake, UW's job & internship resource board. To access the form, please follow these steps:

  1. Log into Handshake using your UW Net ID
  2. The link above should take you directly to Request a New Experience; if not, you can follow these steps to navigate to that page:
    1. Click Career Center at top of page
    2. Click Experiences
    3. Click Request an Experience
  3. Choose GEOG 496 Internship in Geography

Upon completion of this form, you must email to let us know you've submitted it (otherwise we receive no notification). Then, your Internship Project Proposal will be sent to the Department of Geography's Advising Office for review. You may be contacted at that time if there are any questions, issues or concerns about your proposal; otherwise, the proposal will be forwarded on to your proposed faculty sponsor. After a short time, your proposed faculty sponsor will determine whether to approve or deny your proposal and you will be notified of this decision by the Geography Advising Office. If your proposal is approved, you will receive an Add Code to register for GEOG 496. Note: you can only earn internship credits working with geography faculty–not with geography graduate students or faculty in other departments.

What Do I Need to Do For Internship Credit?

We award academic credits for academic work—you should not expect UW credits just because you have an internship. How this translates into specific tasks depends on what you work out with your faculty mentor. Some ask for academic papers discussing some aspect of the internship within a disciplinary context; others ask for annotated work projects or a work diary. The common thread is that we ask you to somehow reflect on your internship from an academic perspective.

What Requirements Do GEOG 496 Credits Count Toward?

Internship credits count both toward the overall 180 required UW credits for graduation and toward the 60 required GEOG credits for the general geography major. Only 5 GEOG 496 credits may be counted toward the 60 required GEOG credits for the general geography major–as GEOG elective credits. They may not be counted toward a “track" and they cannot count for the geography major data science option.

Is There a Maximum or Minimum Number of Allowable Internship Credits?

You may apply up to 12 GEOG 496 credits toward the overall 180 credits, but only 5 toward the general geography major. 3 credits is the minimum & 5 credits is the maximum in a given quarter.

Can I Earn Internship Credits More Than Once?

Yes, you may earn up to 12 GEOG 496 credits by registering in more than one quarter. You may only register for either 3, 4 or 5 credits per quarter. You will also need faculty approval each time.

As an international student, how can I participate in an internship for CPT (Curricular Practical Training)?

Please find information about CPT from the International Student Services Office. You may also refer to the ISS YouTube playlist for CPT.

Are There Resources for Applying to Internships?

Absolutely! You can find lots of great resources on the Career & Internship Center website (a selection of which are listed below), or meet with a geography department adviser  for additional help.

Resources from the Career & Internship Center


Cover Letters


Internship Resources

Career & Internship Center website 

Career & Internship Center WORKSHOPS

Log into Handshake