To accommodate students' broad interests and diverse backgrounds, course requirements are flexible.


Internships are a great way to…

… try out in the "real" world what you've learned in the classroom
… investigate possible career paths and/or prepare for the job market
... get credit for life experience (i.e. non-academic learning experiences).

An internship may be paid or unpaid, and can involve anything from working a limited number of hours while taking classes to full-time work over the summer or while taking time off from school. Types of placements range from formal internships (such as the field experience listings offered by the Campus Career Network) to informal, non-traditional internships (such as working with an activist group or student business).

Because STPEC is concerned with praxis (the intersection of theory and practice), STPEC majors are required to complete a three credit graded internship. Students are also welcome and encouraged to do additional internships as electives; indeed, we offer an elective internship placement doing peer advising and consensus decision-making in the STPEC office.

CRITICAL ANALYSIS is part of all STPEC internships and is particularly emphasized in graded internships. Students analyze their experiences and observations and their larger implications in the world. Following are examples of the types of questions you could explore:

1) How are labor relations structured at your placement site? To what extent are they exploitative (i.e. how much control do workers have over the appropriation of the products of their labor)? To what extent does the presence or absence of exploitation impact the way people feel about working there? Do you feel that the organization’s use of your labor was exploitative?
2) What are the demographics (race, class, gender, etc.) of the staff/administration/governing board? Do they reflect the demographics of the clients/consumers/community? Are there internal or external divisions along demographic lines? Why or why not? To what extent do internal demographics impact the organization’s mission and the way it’s carried out?
3) What are the overlaps and disjunctures between “street level” and academic perspectives on social issues? Are there any theories that you find particularly useful for understanding your experiences? Have your practical experiences led you to reassess a particular theory?
4) What are the forces for social change within the organization? What are the forces for maintaining the status quo? On balance, which do you think is more significant?
5) What is the organizational structure of your placement site? What are the benefits and drawbacks of that structure?
6) How do economic conditions, financial structure, and/or funding sources impact the organization’s ability to fulfill its mission?
7) Do the tensions within the organization, either interpersonal or intellectual (such as inconsistencies between mission and practice), reflect larger societal tensions?
8) If you could change the organization to make it more compatible with your values, what changes would you make and why? In what ways have your values, beliefs or perspective changed as a result of this experience?

You don’t have to confine yourself to these questions – let these ideas be a jumping-off point. We want you to take liberties and ask big questions, even if you can’t fully answer them. Think about what issues are relevant to your internship and come up with your own list of topics.

Here's a partial list of Internships which are currently available or which STPEC students have done in the past.


(STPEC 498Y)

All STPEC majors are required to complete a graded internship worth three or more credits (at least 100 hours of work). You must receive a grade of C or better for your internship to fulfill the requirement. Three important things to note:

1) Grades for STPEC 498Y are based on the your written analysis of your experience and observations, including an analysis of issues of race, class, and gender. We therefore strongly recommend that you complete some upper level STPEC courses before registering for STPEC 498Y, so that you have a theoretical framework to use as the basis of your analysis.

2) The responsibility for finding a placement lies with you. STPEC Internship Advisor is available to assist you, but you must do the footwork. Researching and applying for internships can be time consuming. Do not wait until the beginning of your last semester to start this process!

3) You must have the Internship Advisor’s prior approval for your placement. Some special cases:

a) Split placements (e.g. 60 hours in one placement, 40 hours in another) are not allowed.
b) Unsupervised internships (e.g. individual projects, student organizing) are strongly discouraged because they require extraordinary self-discipline. If you undertake such a project and cannot complete 100 hours you will have to start over at another placement.
c) On-campus placements are also discouraged, but are occasionally approved.
d) Prior placements, preferably completed no more than a year before the associated written work, may be approved at the discretion of the Internship Advisor.

Occasionally we grant approval for an internship completed in the past or through another department or faculty member, provided that it meets STPEC’s standards (120+ hours, 3+ credits, 10+ page written analysis, grade of C or better). If your written work is not sufficient, you may still be able to use the course to fulfill the requirement by doing some additional writing.

(STPEC 298Y, Section 4)

We invite STPEC students to become more deeply involved in the daily operations of the STPEC Office by participating in the STPEC Office Internship.

Office interns serve as peer advisors for current and prospective STPEC majors, contribute to administrative work and participate in staff meetings where they develop facilitation and consensus decision-making skills. They may also carry out projects of their own design. We will provide all the training you need.

Along with the paid office staff, STPEC office interns function collectively as the day-to-day governing body of STPEC, making consensus-based decisions about current issues and the future direction of the Program. This makes the internship in part an experiment in maintaining an alternative organizational structure within the broader hierarchy of the University.

The office internship is mandatory pass/fail, so it cannot be used to fulfill the STPEC internship requirement. You will receive 2 credits and do an average 6 hours per week of work (including staff meeting). For more information, pick up a copy of the syllabus in the STPEC office.The Nuts & Bolts of STPEC Internships


The STPEC Internship Advisor is Katherine Mallory. She can be reached at 413-545-0043 or She serves as faculty sponsor for the STPEC Internship Requirement (STPEC 498Y) and the STPEC Office Internship (STPEC 298Y, section 4). She is also available to help students identify and set up internships. All placements for the STPEC Internship Requirement must have Katherine’s prior approval.


STPEC students may count up to 18 internship credits (3 required credits plus 15 elective credits) toward the 120 credits required for graduation. STPEC offers three course numbers for internships:

STPEC 298Y – Pass/Fail Elective Internship – 1 to 15 credits
STPEC 398Y – Graded Elective Internship – 1 to 15 credits
STPEC 498Y – Graded Internship Requirement – 3 to 15 credits

We offer an internship placement in the STPEC office, for which we use STPEC 298Y, section 4.

Students receive one credit for every approximately 35 hours of work completed. The more credits you take, the longer your writing assignments will be. In addition, the writing assignments for graded internships are generally longer and more focused on analysis than those for pass/fail internships. You can sometimes reduce the amount of writing you have to do by splitting the credits for a single placement between two course numbers. For example, if you do 400 hours of work, you may want to receive 3 credits through STPEC 498Y (graded) and 7 credits through STPEC 298Y (pass/fail). For more guidance on academic requirements vis-à-vis credits, talk with your faculty sponsor.


If you want to do the elective internship in the STPEC office, all you have to do to register is talk to Deborah. For any other internship you must do the following:

1. Find an internship placement. If you want to fulfill the STPEC requirement, run your ideas by the STPEC Internship Advisor first to make sure that your placement will be approved.

2. If you are doing an elective internship, find a faculty sponsor. If you are doing the STPEC internship requirement, your faculty sponsor is the STPEC Internship Advisor.

3. Complete the STPEC Internship Contract & Registration Form. Discuss your academic agreement with your faculty sponsor and obtain her/his signature. Submit the completed form to the STPEC Internship Advisor for approval. If you need a credit overload, get it approved by the Dean’s office (across the hall from STPEC) before turning in the form. If the add -drop period is over you must also complete two late add forms (available from the Dean’s office).

4. Make sure the course appears on your schedule with the correct number of credits. Make corrections, if needed, before the last day of classes