Independent study and Internship guidelines

Required forms and deadlines

Open Internships
City of Tacoma - Planning     Internship is listed under “Occupational Intern, Skilled (Planning & Development Services)"

Puget Sound Regional Council - Transportation Planning

Internship search engines:

UW Tacoma Career Connections internship blog
Association of Washington Cities
University of Washington Tacoma Internship & Jobs Page


Step 1:  If you wish to pursue independent study or internship credits, you must first submit an Independent Study / Internship Proposal Form. Submit completed proposals to the Urban Studies Program office (PNK 300) for review by the faculty.

  ** Autumn Quarter 2014 Friday, September 5 **

  ** Winter Quarter 2015 Friday, December 5 **

  ** Spring Quarter 2015 Friday, March 13 **

Step 2:  If the faculty approve the Proposal Form, you must complete the appropriate contract form. The completed and signed form must be submitted to the Urban Studies office by the Friday of the first week of the quarter in order to ensure timely registration.

Guidelines for Specific Courses

T URB 494: Urban Research

Urban Research as a course is designed for students who want to participate in independent research. Collaboration with a faculty member on a project of mutual interest is required. Goals are to strengthen skills in research design, improve understanding of appropriate application of research techniques and methodologies, and enhance writing skills. You will meet with faculty at least once a week to develop a research topic and then evolve into independent research with regular faculty interaction. Prior to registration you are required to complete an Urban Research contract that details the learning objectives and academic requirements.

T URB 496: Community Service Project

This course is designed as a service-learning course that links academic study to community service in a manner such that each reinforces the other. By having students devise and implement a service project, the course increases skills in developing strategies and methodologies aimed at problem solving and community development. The course will improve understanding of how communities function, what problems they face, and the need for individual commitment in dealing with urban issues. It is also meant to increase awareness of civic responsibility and promote civic engagement. Open only to Urban Studies majors. Prior to registration you are required to complete a Community Service Project contract that outlines details about the learning objectives and academic requirements.

T URB 498: Urban Studies Internship

Internships provide students with the opportunity to apply skills and knowledge acquired in the classroom to real-world situations; increase their knowledge of practical approaches to dealing with urban problems and issues; and gain increased understanding of the manner in which policy is formulated and implemented by organizations and agencies dealing with the urban environment. Students will also learn about career choices and options while contributing to the betterment of the community. Prior to registration each student is required to complete an Urban Studies Internship contract which outlines details about the participating organization; student, faculty sponsor, and site supervisor responsibilities; learning objectives; and academic requirements. Generally, three hours of work per week is equal to one (1) credit and students are required to write a three- to five-page paper per credit for their faculty sponsor.

Internships may be paid or unpaid. Payment for internship work is subject to business/agency policy and is negotiated between the student and the business/agency. Whether or not the student is paid has no bearing on the granting of credit provided all requirements of the internship contract are met successfully. Except in rare cases, an internship at a student's current employer will not be approved for credit.


  1. Select a topic. Determine what you want to read, research and write about. For internships, consider the type of setting in which you want to work.
  2. Choose the appropriate type of independent study from the list above.
  3. Consider which member of the Urban Studies faculty teaches courses in the area you are interested in pursuing. It greatly helps to have taken a course from that faculty member and have familiarity with the subject matter. Please note that part-time faculty are under no obligation to work with students on independent studies.
  4. Contact the faculty member to discuss your plan of study.
  5. Complete the Independent Study / Internship Proposal form and submit to the Urban Studies office by the posted proposal deadline above. Forms must be typed.
  6. If the Urban Studies faculty approve your proposal, you will be notified that you can proceed with completing the appropriate contract. Forms must be typed.
  7. Ask your faculty sponsor to review and sign the completed form. For internships, you will also need a signature from your site supervisor. Make copies of the signed form (the original will be kept in the Urban Studies office) so you have copies for your faculty sponsor, your site supervisor (if this is an internship), and for your own records.
  8. Bring the original signed form to the Urban Studies Program office (PNK 300) to obtain an entry code for registration. The deadline for submitting paperwork is the first Friday of the quarter in which you intend to register.
  9. Completion of the form does not mean you are automatically enrolled. It is your responsibility to register using the entry code provided by the Urban Studies office.

Tip for success

Start early! Prepare during the quarter preceding the one in which you plan to register for an independent study course or internship. Be aware that the professor you approach about sponsoring your study may modify or decline your request. Faculty members have many obligations and are not always able to take on extra teaching responsibilities. It can work to your benefit to be flexible; the professor you have chosen may be available to work with you during another quarter. Part-time lecturers may also sponsor independent study courses, but their time and office hours are often extremely limited.