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UMass Sesquicentennial

University of Massachusetts Amherst

History Department

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Contact us:

History Dept., Herter Hall Room 612
University of Massachusetts
161 Presidents Drive
Amherst, MA 01003-9312

Tel. 413.545.1330
Fax. 413.545.6137

Interested in connecting your institution or history project with a current student?


UMass students often find projects for local history organizations to be productive parts of their education.  Undergraduate students have completed internships in places such as the Eric Carle Museum, the Boston Globe, the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, Wistariahurst Museum, the W.E.B. DuBois Library Special Collections and University Archives, and the Springfield Armory.  Graduate students have helped catalog museum collections, survey historic buildings, develop walking and driving tours, and design exhibits for an array of history museums, historic sites and preservation agencies around the area and the region, including Historic Deerfield, the Amherst and Hadley Historical Commissions, the Emily Dickinson Museum, and the Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association..

There are three ways that students connect with history organizations:

  • Undergraduate Internships
  • Graduate Internships
  • Field Service Projects

Which option is the best match for your organization depends on the amount of time the project needs and the skill level it demands.  Most importantly, it needs to be able to be completed within the course of the semester in which the student registers for credit.

So, how do you know which is best for your organization?

  • An undergraduate internship is best if…

You have a well-defined project or job that can be completed in a summer or semester (plan on about 12 weeks of work) by a student working around 6-12 hrs/week (sometimes undergraduates do seek larger experiences, but most fall in this range).  Projects appropriate for undergraduates are naturally less complex than those appropriate for graduate students preparing for careers in the field, but an undergraduate internship shouldn't be "busy work," and should instead allow students to gain new skills or expand on existing abilities.  Undergraduates should work under the direction of an internship supervisor.

  • A graduate internship is best if…

The experience is substantive, can be supervised by a history professional, and results in a tangible product the student can show potential future employers.  Graduate internships must be 300-hour commitments, and the interns must train under a professional in that area.  Preferably, the host organization can provide some compensation for the student’s time.  Because this is a substantive element of their degree requirements, it is guided by a fairly detailed agreement between the student, the history organization, and the History Department.  To see a sample contract, click here.

  • A field service project is best if…

The project is smaller and could be completed by a team of 3-4 students working a couple of hours a week over approximately twelve weeks.  For a syllabus that describes some sample projects, click here.

If you have a project you'd like to mention to the history department, please send a description of what you have in mind to the public history graduate faculty,, or to our undergraduate internship coordinator,