Internships and Independent Study

Why Intern?

Internships are a type of experiential learning that can provide powerful opportunities for new hands-on skills, professional relationships and roles, and real-world experiences that complement and enhance academic learning. Students who participate in internships during college often consider them among their most valuable experiences, particularly for connecting them to career exploration and opportunities. The Legal Studies program strongly encourages students to consider pursuing an internship or another type of experiential learning (such as a field study or service-learning) at UCSC.

For general field study or internship opportunities check:

How it works?

This program gives students the opportunity to apply what they learn in the classroom to real world legal situations. Students enroll in 10 credits while performing an internship with a selected organization that is commited to pro-bono work. Internships require a commitment of a minimum of 24 hours per week for 10 weeks. Student interns are evaluated on the basis of the internship, field notes, and a final research paper.

LGST 185 Legal Studies Internship and Community-Placement Seminar: Academic Year or Summer Session

The course is designed to be combined with an internship or community placement that students need to obtain before enrolling. It provides structured class meetings and work. Internships usually require a minimum of 15-20 hours/week for 5 weeks. Student intern participants are evaluated on the basis of a supervisor evaluation (internship), field notes/weekly reflections, and a final research paper. LGST 185 meets the PR-S service-learning GE. (Depending on availability, students may be able to enroll for 2 sequential 5-unit LGST 185 seminars, or 10 credits total).

Merrill College Field Study Program

Merrill College offers a field study program with both field and classroom components. The program is 11 weeks long and students will earn either 2 or 5 units of academic credit; 2 units will be awarded for 55 hours of completed fieldwork and 5 units will be awarded for 110 hours. As a class, participants in the Merrill Field Study Program meet every other week. The Merrill Field Study Office assists students in setting up their fieldwork placements once a student enrolls in the course, however the student will be the one responsible for contacting their host site and filling out the necessary paperwork to begin their fieldwork. Check out our Field Study Internship Living Database for ideas and information regarding possible internship placements. This list comprises past placements and contacts used from previous Field Study students and is regularly updated each quarter as our field study program continues to grow.

If you are interested in participating in the Merrill College Field Study program, visit or contact Zoe Manoguerra at for more information.

POLI 136 Applied Public Policy Internship

This course focuses on the application of theory to practice by creating an opportunity for students to explore and analyze the connections between federal, state, and local policies and their impacts on day-to-day programs in the Santa Cruz community and region. During the subsequent winter and spring quarters, students can enroll in internship placements in Santa Cruz and the region. For more information see the Course Catalog or contact Jerry Diaz, the Academic Advisor for Legal Studies and Politics.

LGST 188A/B Legal Field Practice: Professional Skills and Ethics

Offers placement, standards, and support during on-site experiential training in professional skills and ethics for students working in the legal field or with legal information to empower under-served communities. Previous or concurrent enrollment in LGST 188A or OAKS 188A and by permission of instructor. For more information see the Course Catalog or contact Yanin Monter, the Academic Advisor for Legal Studies.

LGST 198 Independent Field Study

When it is not possible for students to participate in other organized internship or field studies programs, a faculty member can sponsor them for an Independent Field Study. LGST 198 allows students to petition to study independently on topics of special interest to them. Students may engage in directed readings, research projects, or research related to an internship.

Students interested in obtaining course credit for an internship can apply through the Independent Field Study. LGST 198 may be approved through the course substitution process to fulfill up to one five-unit upper-division core course requirement in the Legal Studies major. Students are responsible for arranging their own internships prior to the start of the quarter and for completing all assigned work independently.

In order to apply:

  1. After obtaining an internship, students will need to find a Lgst faculty member to sponsor them. Students can find a full list Legal Studies faculty members here.
  2. Once a faculty member agrees to sponsor the student, the student and the faculty will fill out and sign the Independent Study Form 
    1. Students interning 6-10 hours per week will receive 2 units (cannot be used to meet LGST requirement)
    2. Students interning 12-15 hours per week will receive 5 units (can be used to meet 1 LGST Core requirement only once. After that, the course can only be used to meet units.)
  3. When the form is complete and the required signatures are obtained, submit it to the the Undergraduate Advisor via email at The Advisor will issue a call number to enroll.
  4. Students are responsible for enrolling into the course on their own. When enrolling in MyUCSC, use the option to enter a class number instead of searching in the schedule of classes. Individual Study numbers are not found in the Schedule of Classes list.


Students cannot petition to obtain credit for a previously completed internship.


See Also