The Philosophy Internship program offers PHIL majors and minors the opportunity to apply skills and knowledge they possess and to gain new skills and knowledge through practical experience working in a professional-level capacity for an organization, government agency, research lab, planning group, advocacy organization, or other groups that solve problems and develop policies. The training gained and the contacts made become an invaluable asset in obtaining later employment. As part of your internship credit, you will also complete a research project in an area related to your internship work, supervised by a faculty member in the Philosophy department. Depending on the amount of internship work put in, you can earn anywhere from one to six credits of PHIL 3930. Academic internships are for credit and may not be paid. Of course, noncredit internships are also possible, but they are not coordinated through the Philosophy department. In the past, Philosophy students have interned for organizations like the Korey Wise Innocence project (hosted by the CU School of Law), the Center for Bioethics and the Humanities (at the CU Anschutz Medical Campus), the National Archives Foundation (through the CU in DC program), and Yoga Journal (based in Boulder). Many NGOs and public organizations are eager to find interns. Although you are ultimately responsible for securing your own internship, the Philosophy Department is happy to make suggestions and help provide contacts in your search.
Philosophy majors and minors are eligible once they have Junior standing, though the department recommends having taken at least 9 credits of prior Philosophy coursework. Students are responsible for securing (1) a faculty supervisor and, of course, (2) an internship. Do note that faculty members accept Internship students at their own discretion and only as the rest of their workload permits. Note also that, per A&S guidelines, supervising faculty must be at the rank of Instructor or above. In all cases, an interested student must complete a form which requires signatures from their faculty supervisor and the department’s Director of Undergraduate Studies. For the form to sign up for PHIL 3930, see here.
Students are encouraged to seek internships early, although PHIL 3930 credits may be added to your schedule at any time up to the add/drop deadline each semester. You may not, however, receive credit retroactively for internship work already performed. (In the case of internship work that spans multiple semesters, you should complete the department paperwork before starting your internship, even if you may not ultimately be signing up for credits until a later semester.)
Work Requirements and Course Credit
A student participating in an Internship is under the direction of the host organization, but must also fulfill requirements set by the faculty supervisor. Per Arts & Sciences guidelines, students must complete a minimum of 40 hours of internship work at the host organization to be eligible for 1 academic credit. So, e.g., a student wanting to sign up for 3 credits of PHIL 3930 in a given term will need to work 120 hours over the course of the term. Students should arrange their anticipated schedules with their hosts.
Students may receive up to 6 credits for internships over the course of their undergraduate careers (and in a given semester), but a maximum of 3 credits will count towards the Philosophy major or minor; any remaining credits count as upper division elective hours. The student's grade in the internship course depends on having met the expectations of the host organization and on the quality of the student’s academic project completed under their faculty supervisor. The faculty supervisor makes the final determination of the grade for the course.
CU in DC
The CU in DC program is an excellent way to earn internship credit in Philosophy. For more information on signing up for CU in DC, please see their webpage here.
Elizabeth Rothrock graduated with a BA in Philosophy and Sociology from CU Boulder in May 2019. Elizabeth also earned cum laude honors for her honors thesis Disorder in the Court: The Experience of Criminal Defense Attorneys-Identity and Emotion Called into Question. Elizabeth now works at the Boulder County Courthouse as a Court Judicial Assistant in the Clerk's Office. During her junior year, Elizabeth started interning and volunteering at the Korey Wise Innocence Program (KWIP) at the University of Colorado's Law School. The project is named for Korey Wise, one of the Central Park Five, five adolescent men falsely accused and convicted of a serious violent crime. KWIP is one of many innocence projects throughout the United States; it receives letters from individuals serving lengthy sentences in Colorado prisons for crimes they allege they did not commit. KWIP gets these individuals in touch with pro bono criminal defense lawyers who look at their case and try to take legal action to help. Working at KWIP during her senior year, Elizabeth was involved in the Philosophy department's internship program, through which she earned credit for working at KWIP. Her final paper was titled "Wrongful Conviction," in which she discussed the phenomenon of wrongful conviction, what working at KWIP had taught her, and the philosophical implications of wrongful conviction. Elizabeth plans on going to law school and being a criminal defense attorney in the future.
Kyle’s degree in Philosophy allowed him to blend his academic pursuits with his personal hobbies. As an editorial intern at Yoga Journal, he was part of the entire magazine publishing process. From interviewing key figures in the world of yoga to fact-checking statements made by contributors, Kyle did serious reporting for the most-read yoga magazine in the world. Behind the scenes, he learned how to write with search engine optimization in mind to maximize digital outreach; utilized Photoshop to crop pictures and create gifs for the website; used a content management system to upload articles; and was part of the creative process for developing future print issues. Yoga is a whole lifestyle, and that's where Kyle’s degree in Philosophy shone the brightest. Yoga Journal's Yoga 101 section, covering the foundations of yoga, challenged him to learn about the spiritual aspects of the practice. The research he did for his own articles and fact-checking led him to ancient Sanskrit texts explaining the principles behind Ayurveda, Goddess Worship, chakras, the values behind certain poses and sequences, and more. Philosophy connected him to the root of the practice, influencing the breadth and quality of his editorial assignments.
Drew Gaines participated in the CU in DC program in the summer of 2019, interning at the National Archives Foundation in the marketing and communication department. A significant part of her internship involved advertising merchandise to various audiences and promoting exhibits. The continuous advertising for consumption made her question the morals of corporate social responsibility. She then worked with her internship supervisor in the Philosophy department to research corporate social responsibility and related social issues. Her final paper examined corporate social responsibility in light of the integration of modern corporations into the daily lives of consumers.
Ami Cho will graduate with a BA in Philosophy at CU Boulder in May 2020. Originally a Political Science major, Ami changed her major to Philosophy (Law and Society track) after taking an introductory ethics course during her freshman year. Once she decided she was more interested in the ethical applications of things such as public policy, she interned at Congresswoman Diana DeGette’s (CO-01) Washington, D.C. office on Capitol Hill through the CU in DC program in Fall 2018. During her time interning there, she was able to attend briefings and hearings on controversial and trending issues within the government, such as rights to abortion and embryonic stem cell research. This internship opportunity allowed her to discover her interests and passion for bioethical matters and epistemic issues in medicine, ultimately writing her project paper about triage. The Philosophy Law & Society track and the internship gave her the chance to have experiences to guide her trajectory. After graduating from CU Boulder, Ami plans on going to law school to study health law and to hopefully be able to contribute to the growing field of bioethics.