Practica, Internships, Directed Study, and Independent Study

Important: A written agreement between the faculty member and the student is to be finalized, and the internship or independent study form submitted to the registrar’s office, before the end of the add/drop period for the semester in which the activity occurs. See Registration Procedures, below.

Students are encouraged to pursue educational opportunities that occur outside the regular curriculum. These may include student and faculty research collaborations, directed or independent study of topics not covered in existing courses, on-campus activities and practicum experiences, and internships, including both noncredit and for-credit activities. Such learning experiences are a valued part of a Lewis & Clark education. Students should consult with their academic department and the Career Center regarding the range of opportunities available to them.

Students must work with faculty to receive academic credit for learning experiences that occur outside the regular curriculum. The faculty sponsor must be a faculty member within the department (or advisor within an interdisciplinary major/minor) under which the independent study/internship will be awarded credit.

244/444 Practica and Internships

Courses numbered 244 and 444 enable students to earn credit for a practicum or internship. (Some departments also offer internships that include regular class meetings and therefore bear course numbers other than 244 or 444.) Practica and internships allow students to gain academic credit for field experiences. Faculty supervision ensures a rigorous academic component. Practica typically take place on campus. Internships often occur off-campus and entail collaboration with an on-site supervisor who provides direction to the student and reports to the faculty member about the student’s on-site performance. Departments determine whether 244 or 444 credit is more appropriate for a particular field experience; likewise, departments determine whether to title an experience as practicum or internship. These activities are usually graded on a credit/no credit basis.

299/499 Directed and Independent Studies

Courses numbered 299 and 499 are available for directed and independent pursuit of faculty-supervised study. Topics are limited to those not addressed by the existing curriculum. Such experiences range from studies in which an instructor provides considerable supervision (e.g., convenes small classes or meets regularly with research teams) to independent studies in which students consult with faculty to develop a more autonomous project. Departments determine whether 299 or 499 credit is more appropriate and whether to title a particular experience directed or independent study. Letter grades are the default, but these activities can also be graded on a credit/no credit basis (following the normal procedures for credit/no credit grading).


The following rules govern students and faculty members participating in practicum, internship, directed study, or independent study opportunities:

  • Students may earn 1 to 4 semester credits from any single course numbered 244/444 or 299/499, and up to 4 credits from such courses in a single semester. Students may not apply more than 16 total of these practicum, internship, directed, or independent study credits toward graduation requirements, and no more than 8 of those 16 semester credits may be from courses numbered 244 or 444.

  • Practicum, internship, directed study, and independent study courses may not be used to fulfill General Education requirements.

  • Field learning experiences must be relevant to the disciplinary studies and skills learned in the classroom.

  • A written agreement between the faculty member and the student is to be finalized before the activity commences. This agreement acts in lieu of a syllabus and specifies the activity to be done, the amount of time to be spent on the activity, the amount of credit to be granted, the nature and length of the product of the activity, the grading criteria, and the expectations for both the student and the faculty member. Registration and this written agreement between the student and the faculty member must be submitted to the registrar’s office before the end of the add/drop period. Credit will be awarded only for work completed within the semester.

  • The amount of credit awarded should be based on the academic component of the activity as well as the amount of time spent on the activity. The minimum requirement is 3 hours per week per credit over a 15-week semester.

  • The student must submit a product of the activity to the faculty member by an agreed date. The nature of the product, to be determined by the faculty member and the student before activity commences, should be appropriate for the activity. It is recommended that for a written product, the required length be commensurate with the amount of credit being granted.

  • The faculty member will submit a grade (whether letter or credit/no credit) to the registrar at the appropriate time.

  • A paid position may qualify for academic credit if the student, faculty member, department, and, in some instances, an off-campus organization or institution determine that there is an academic component to the experience that warrants credit.

Registration Procedures

To register for a course numbered 244/444 or 299/499, students must follow these steps:

  1. Obtain the appropriate online form from the Office of the Registrar.

  2. Meet with the faculty member to complete the form and develop the written agreement and learning objectives.

  3. Obtain the signature of the faculty member and the department chair. Students pursuing internships must also obtain the signature of the on-site supervisor.

  4. Submit the form and written agreement to the registrar before the end of the add/drop period for the semester in which the activity occurs.

Tuition and Fees

During the fall and spring semester, courses numbered 244, 299, 444, and 499 are treated like any other course for tuition purposes. In the summer semester, independent study courses (299 and 499) are subject to standard per-credit tuition charges. Practica, on-campus internships (244 and 444), and internships supervised by L&C faculty and staff are also charged the standard per-credit tuition rate. However, off-campus internships at third-party organizations may be eligible for a flat-fee rate in lieu of tuition. More information can be found at the Summer Sessions website.

Students pursuing an internship are strongly encouraged to contact the Career Center to learn about regularly scheduled orientation sessions and support resources.