Research Opportunities for History Majors

Independent Study (HIST 3097)

This course number is designated for students who wish to pursue independent readings or research under faculty supervision. Arrangements must be made with a full-time faculty member willing to direct your study. He or she will need to sign a Registration Transaction Form.

Folger Undergraduate Research Seminar

Through a special arrangement with the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC, students have the opportunity to deepen their study of the early modern period (Renaissance and Reformation) through hands-on investigation of books from that era. Interested applicants are encouraged to prepare by taking courses that cover this period, such as HIST 1110, 3103, 3130, 3132-3134, 3140,3150,  as well as related Special Topics Courses (3001 or 3101). Sophomores and Juniors apply for admission during the Spring Semester in order to enroll in the following Fall. This course can serve as a reading preparation for HIST 4098W or 4099.

Internships (HIST 3095)

Many GW students take advantage of their time in Washington, DC to do off-campus internships. Students whose internships involve historical research may be eligible to earn three credits for their work. Ideal locations for these projects include GW-affiliated centers such as the First Federal Congress Project, the Eleanor Roosevelt Papers, and the National Security Archive. Announcements from these and other research institutes are posted on the wall outside the department office.

Requirements: Once you find an internship, you need to identify a faculty supervisor that is willing to work with you to formulate an individual plan of study and to meet with you regularly throughout the semester.  The academic requirements will be determined by the faculty advisor on an individual basis, taking into account the nature of your internship and the scholarly interests of the faculty sponsor. The plan of study which the student is required to submit for approval before registration must be equivalent to a normal credit course in the discipline. For example, for three credits a student might be required to master a certain bibliography and write a 15-20 page paper. For six credits, a more comprehensive bibliography and several types of written work or research projects would be appropriate. A plan of study, signed by the faculty sponsor, must be submitted to the Internship Coordinator (including the name of your faculty sponsor) before you can register for History 3095.

The HIST 3095 Internship Application can be found here.

Minimum Hours and Internship Evaluation:

The internship work will be judged on a pass/fail basis. Evaluation of your work by your internship supervisor is required at the end of the semester and will be reviewed by the internship coordinator (currently Professor Long). This evaluation normally will not affect the academic grade given by the faculty sponsor unless the internship has been judged unsatisfactory. During the fall or spring semester, students must work at least 8-10 hours per week for three credits. The work hours are doubled for the five-week summer sessions. History 3095 may be repeated for a total of six hours, but only three hours can will be counted toward the major in the appropriate group.

Registering for HIST 3095: Fill out a Registration Transaction Form and have it signed the faculty member who agrees to supervise your project and provide a copy to the Internship Coordinator (currently Professor Long). Submit the completed form to Colonial Central.

Grades: Students may take HIST 3095 for a letter grade or Pass/No Pass. Your faculty supervisor will determine your final grade based upon the academic work you complete. Make sure the internship supervisor submits a formal letter or email at the end of the semester stating that you have satisfactorily completed the internship. 

Discovering Professions in History

Washington, DC is consistently ranked among the best cities in the United States to pursue college internships. From Capitol Hill to the Smithsonian, DC is the ideal place to explore the many professional opportunities available to undergraduate History students. History majors and minors have interned at established historical institutions, including:

American Battlefield Trust, a public history organization that preserves American Civil War battlefields and provides educational resources to the public on U.S. military history.

American Enterprise Institute, a nonpartisan public policy research-based thinktank committed to making intellectual, moral, and practical case for expanding freedom, increasing individual opportunity, and strengthening free enterprise systems.

Anderson House, a museum, library, and research facility owned and operated by the DC Chapter of the Society of the Cincinnati. The Society offers resources and exhibitis pertaining primarily to early American history. 

Consource: The Constitutional Sources Project, an online project that connects hundreds of thousands of American citizens of all ages annually to our nation's constitutional history by creating a comprehensive, easily searchable, fully-indexed, and freely accessible digital library of historical sources related to the creation, ratification, and amendment of the United States Constitution.

Dumbarton House, a historic site built in 1799 that now serves as the headquarters of the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America.

Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project, a Columbian College-affiliated research and archival project dedicated to collecting and publishing digital and print versions of former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt's correspondences.

George Washington University Museum and Textile Museum, ​which celebrates the creative achievements of local and global cultures from antiquity through today. The museum unites The Textile Museum, established in 1925, and the Albert H. Small Center for National Capital Area Studies to engage the university and the wider community through collections, scholarship, exhibitions, and educational programs.

George Washington's Mount Vernon, the home, estate, and plantation George Washington and the  that offers internships in museum work, historic trades, preservation, and more. 

Heurich House Museum, a historic house and site that preserves the life and legacy of German-American businessman Christian Heurich.

Hillyer Art Spacean art and exhibition space that showcases local, regional, and international artists in an effort to promote cross-cultural understanding. 

NASA History Program, the office responsible for archiving and publicizing the history of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. 

National History Center, an office associated with the American Historical Association that brings history and historians into the public arena by providing historical perspectives on current issues and promoting historical thinking in the service of civic engagement.

National Law Enforcement Museum, a DC establishment that tells the history of American law enforcement. 

National Parks Service, which offers historically-oriented internships as well as volunteer and research opportunities to work with NPS staff at historic locations throughout the United States.

Naval History and Heritage Command, a nationwide public history service devoted to preserving and publicizing the history of American naval history. 

Smithsonian Institutions, which provides career and internship opportunities in a variety of professional disciplines such as museums, archives, anthropology, oral history, and more across a diverse range of fields like the history of technology, American history, Native American history, and more. 

Tudor Place Historic House and Gardens, a National Historic Landmark located in Georgetown, DC that features historic art, archives, and architecture.

Wilson Center,  the nation’s key non-partisan policy forum for tackling global issues through independent research and open dialogue to inform actionable ideas for the policy community.