Africana Studies

Africana Studies Professional Internship

Engaged Learning

The Africana Studies Professional Internship (AST 490) offers opportunities for a major or minor to apply academic competencies to a workplace environment. The course credit for the internship can range from 1 to 3 hours. Through the internship, the student will gain valuable work and life skills, which often provide rising college graduates with a huge advantage, particularly professional development with first-hand experiences in the world of work.

Benefits of an Internship

An internship in the Department of Africana Studies complements a student’s formal course work and offers a major or minor a chance to work closely with professionals and scholars to learn life skills. Interns will acquire practical skills and have access to supportive mentors who can help them reach their educational and professional goals.

The purpose of an internship is to give students the opportunity to explore career paths and gain valuable hands-on learning experiences outside of the classroom. It also provides a Africana Studies major or minor with the chance to build their resume, gain marketable skills, and develop a network of professional contacts, which could enhance the potential of obtaining job offers after graduation. A student can choose an internship in many areas, including the arts, city planning, education, museums, housing, community development, law, advocacy, welfare, and social justice. 

Internship Application and Responsibilities

The Department of Africana Studies will actively solicit internship opportunities and publicize them to its students. The Africana Studies major or minor must complete an application, and it should include a cover letter and resume. The cover letter should express the student’s interest in the position and outline the reasons for that interest. The application will be reviewed either by the faculty advisor (or chair) who has agreed to oversee the internship for credit, and then it will be forwarded to the organization internship supervisor. The organization will make the final selection of the student candidate.

The job responsibilities of a student during the course of the internship will vary depending on the organization; however, duties related to the internship must produce work of value to the organization and provide the student with a meaningful learning experience that aligns with the Africana Studies Program’s academic mission. Some of an intern’s duties may involve clerical or other mundane tasks (since those, too, are typical of most organizations), but the bulk of the intern’s time should involve more substantive work.

An internship is a cooperative educational arrangement between the student, Cleveland State University, and a business or organization. The student will complete an application and sign a memorandum of agreement, which outlines the terms of the internship, to be submitted to the faculty advisor (or chair) and internship supervisor. The chair of the Department of Africana Studies must approve all internships and grant course permission before students can register for AST 490.

Earn Course Credit Toward Your Degree

Preferably, the internships will be arranged for 3 credit hours. Interns must work a minimum of 10 hours a week during the fall and spring semesters and 12.5 hours for the summer term. If the organization does not need that many hours, an internship can be arranged for 1 or 2 credit hours. Internships may be paid or unpaid, which is determined by the business or organization.

The Department of Africana Studies highly encourages students to consider taking an internship to assist in their degree completion. Employers value relevant work experience as one of the most important criteria when selecting a candidate for the job. Internships create learning opportunities, establish relationships that benefit the student and business community, and drive student success during college and beyond.

Inquiries about Internship Opportunities

For more information about internships or guidelines, please contact the Department of Africana Studies at 216.687.3655 or