Urban Studies Service Learning and Internships

All Urban Studies majors will engage in a service learning capstone experience as part of their course of study. This real-life experience allows students to gain practical experience with the theories and issues with which they encounter in their classes while offering a valuable service to local and global communities. Engaging in service learning is also an opportunity for students to explore potential career paths and prepare for summer fellowship experiences, honors thesis research, or senior project work.


Students can fulfill their service learning requirement in three ways:

1) Enroll in an approved course such as URBANST 164, URBANST 145, and ANTHRO 112 (recommended);

2) Complete an independent internship in a government agency or a non-profit/community organization relevant to the major while enrolled in URBANST 201A. Students who intern for a private sector organization may receive credit for URBANST 194, but cannot enroll in URBANST 201A credits to meet the capstone requirement;

3) Conduct research with the guidance of a faculty mentor.

The service learning experience must consist primarily of substantive work. In all cases, students must work with a supervisor at the organization to establish learning goals through the Placement Objectives Agreement and create products – such as papers, reports, presentations, or models – demonstrating that they have achieved those goals.

The Urban Studies Service Learning and Internship Guide provides more details on ways to fulfill the capstone requirement. For the most up-to-date information, please consult an Urban Studies adviser and/or the Program Manager for Service Learning.

Approved Service Learning Courses

In 2011-2012, Urban Studies began accepting completion of selected courses, such as URBANST 164, URBANST 145, and ANTHRO 112, as the recommended means of fulfilling the service learning requirement. 


Individual Internships

Students should enroll in Urban Studies 201A during the quarter in which they carry out their internships. It is highly recommended that students meet with the Program Manager for Service Learning at least three months prior to the quarter in which they propose to start their internship in order to find an appropriate placement that meets their personal and research interests. Please keep in mind that many organizations require significant preparation and outreach to establish an internship, so it is advantageous to work with Urban Studies staff to begin the internship search process as early as possible to ensure that students can secure their first choice internship. Internships must be completed before the beginning of winter quarter of senior year, or two quarters before graduation.

Students should fill out the Placement Objectives Agreement prior to beginning the internship.

  • The minimum time commitment is 80 hours, to be completed over approximately 10 weeks. Students are encouraged to work with their organization longer than 10 weeks, but the 80-hour minimum should not be spread out over a longer period, except in special cases such as research projects.
  • Internships must be completed before the beginning of winter quarter of senior year, or two quarters before graduation.
  • Urban Studies majors may conduct their internship at a government agency or a non-profit/community organization relevant to the major.
  • Students who intern for the private sector may receive credit for URBANST 194, but not for URBANST 201A. Only URBANST 201A will count towards the capstone internship.
  • In accordance with university policy, internship credit is awarded for the work that emerges from the internship. No transfer credit is awarded for internships.

Past internship sites have included:

  • A small community development organization working with the Pacific Islander community in San Francisco.
  • An education and training program for youth within or at-risk of entering the juvenile justice system.
  • The environmental planning department of a local city government.
  • A network for direct community organizing around issues of neighborhood safety in San Francisco.
  • An urban design non-profit that solicits public participation in order to design sustainable neighborhood plans that meet residents’ specific needs.

Academic-Year Internships

For students completing their service learning requirement outside approved courses or individual internships, communication with the Program Manager for Service Learning is required. All service learning criteria apply. Students must complete the Placement Objectives Agreement.

With prior approval, students may arrange their service learning experience under the auspices of one of the following:

  • Stanford in Washington: SIW includes a substantive internship in a wide range of governmental and non-governmental organizations.

  • The Archaeology Program sponsors an internship through ANTHRO 112, Public Archaeology: Market Street Chinatown Archaeology Project. This is an especially appropriate internship option for students in the Cities in Comparative and Historical Perspective Concentration. Contact Prof. Barbara Voss for more information.

Students may also propose an independent internship through URBANST 194. Students who are interested in setting up their own internship should contact the Program Manager for Service Learning and complete the Placement Objectives Agreement. See Online Resources for links to organizations and government agencies.


Summer Internship and Fellowship Opportunities

Summer is a fantastic time to work as an intern whether you are embarking on your first internship, continuing a project you began as an intern during the year, or you are interested in working at a different organization. Summer internships usually allow for more substantive work since students are able to have a full-time immersion experience, and there are often opportunities to secure generous funding for a summer internship.

Urban Studies Program Summer Fellowship

The Urban Studies Fellowship provides undergraduates with the opportunity to complement their academic studies with a full-time, paid, internship experience. For majors this experience fulfills the capstone requirement in the major. Learn more.

Haas Center Fellowships

The Haas Center for Public Service offers summer fellowships that fund students’ work in a variety of public service endeavors. Many, though not all, Haas fellowships can translate into internship experiences that meet the Urban Studies internship criteria. The following is a list of fellowships commonly pursued by Urban Studies students, though we recommend students explore the full list of fellowship offerings.

  • Urban Summer and Daher Memorial Fellowship: Fellows have the opportunity to spend a summer working at an organization addressing urban issues.
  • Public Interest Law Fellowship: Fellows have the opportunity to spend a summer working fulltime in the field of public interest law.
  • Philanthropy Fellowship:
    The Philanthropy fellowships provide fulltime, nine-week placements in various Bay Area foundations.
  • Education and Youth Development Fellowship:
    Fellows spend the summer doing direct service as staff of Haas Center programs for local youth. Fellows work with either East Palo Alto Stanford Academy (EPASA) or the Upward Bound Program.
  • Stanford In Government:
    SIG provides students with meaningful exposure to the public policy process by placing them in government and nonprofit agencies in the Bay Area, Sacramento, Washington D.C., and internationally.

Applications for the Urban Studies Program Fellowship and Haas Center Fellowships are due in early February. Please allow sufficient time to arrange a placement, solicit letters of recommendation, and write your proposal.

Online Resources

The following online databases are good places to look for organizations, government agencies, and companies that work on urban issues. Some include search functions specifically for internships, fellowships, and jobs.



Deland Chan

Lecturer in Urban Studies, Program Manager for Service Learning

Office: Bldg 120, Room 160

(650) 724-6252


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