students on a tour at the national civil rights museum

Fellowships and Internships in History

Fellowships provide hands-on opportunities for students to develop their skills as researchers, writers, and editors under the close supervision of a faculty or community mentor. These experiences do not carry academic credit.

The Archival Studies Fellowship is designed for students interested in pursuing careers in libraries and archives. Students spend several weeks working full-time in the Memphis Room at the Benjamin Hooks Central Library, where they receive hands-on training in archival processing and document digitization. This is a paid summer fellowship, award annually through a competitive selection process.

The Shelby Foote Fellowship, made possible thanks to Steve and Riea Lainoff, provides ongoing support for the Shelby Foote Collection, which is housed in the Rhodes College Archives. Through transcribing and annotating the Foote Diaries, Foote Fellows are contributing to the development of a Digital Shelby Foote Project. Designed for students with an interest in the history and literature of the American South, this is a paid fellowship available during the academic year through a competitive selection process.

The Department of History Research Fellowship allows students to work closely during the academic year and/or the summer with history faculty on their research and writing projects. This might include assistance with library or online database research, fact-checking, footnote-checking, copy editing, securing copyright permissions, or other tasks associated with faculty research and publication. Designed for students interested in pursuing graduate studies in history and for those who simply want to hone their research skills, the Research Fellowship helps students gain an understanding of historical research and contributes to a student’s own development of a professional scholarly identity.
Rhodes Historical Review Editorial Fellowships provide two students the opportunity to edit the Rhodes Historical Review, the Department’s award-winning student research journal published annually by Phi Alpha Theta.  Editorial fellows will oversee the selection of essays, work with student writers and faculty readers, and produce a volume of the journal to be published at the end of the spring semester. These are paid fellowships available through a competitive application process.

Students may also be interested in Fellowships through the Crossroads to Freedom project. Although not part of the History department, the Crossroads project enables History students to engage and deepen their historical research skills in the fields of digital history and oral history.

Internships in History

The Department of History has two kinds of internships.*  The Public History Internship is designed for students who want to pursue the professional work of historians through a concentration in Public History -- one of a very few undergraduate programs of its kind in the nation. Students fully engage in the work of historic preservation, museum studies, or library and archive studies. Students enroll in a methodology course in public history (History 360, 4 credits, counts toward the History major) along with a public history internship during the same semester with one of our community partners:

  • Dixon Gallery and Gardens
  • Lausanne Collegiate School Archives
  • Memphis Heritage
  • Memphis Public Libraries
  • National Civil Rights Museum
  • Pink Palace Museum
  • Shelby County Archives
  • Stax Museum of American Soul Music
  • True Story Pictures (documentary film)
  • Victorian Village Community Development Corporation

*A full list of internships with descriptions is available on the website under Concentration in Public History.

In these internships, students work behind-the-scenes of some of Memphis’ premiere public history institutions helping to research, create, and maintain displays; working to restore, digitize, and publish one-of-a-kind archival material; giving tours; and promoting the work of the institution within the city.  Students work closely with professionals in the field to develop the skills of a public historian.  And they talk with members of the public about history, bringing the past to life for Memphians and the millions of tourists who come to the Bluff City.  Students must apply for internships through Career Services.

For students interested in pursuing public history in further depth, the department offers a Concentration in Public History which requires additional coursework and internship experience in the field.

The department also offers Pre-Legal Internships at several prestigious local law firms, especially for students interested in going to law school. Students enroll in History 461 (2 credits) and apply through Career Services to one of the following internships:

Holland & Associates, PLLC Legal Intern – Work with a “holistic” lawyer in office work and legal project such as a legal brief, legal memorandum, settlement or negotiation letter; meet with supervising attorney at least bi-weekly; participate in trials when possible. Holistic law is a multidisciplinary, or more client-oriented and problem-solving oriented approach to legal problems, than traditional legal practice which tends to be more litigation and adversarial in approach.

Lawrence & Russell, Attorneys – Interns must possess excellent organizational skills and basic computer knowledge to provide assistance to Case Managers and Associates in an East Memphis law firm that focuses on employee benefits/labor and employment law. As these positions require direct interaction with our firm′s senior partners, the applicant should be self-driven and possess excellent writing skills. The applicants must be able to work independently and to work well with others. Undergraduate interns will assist the firm’s staff with a variety of legal tasks. For example, the selected individual(s) will conduct detailed telephonic interviews and will negotiate with attorneys nationwide to settle lien claims on behalf of Lawrence & Russell’s clients. The intern(s) will be responsible for supporting a wide variety of assignments and responsibilities and will be exposed to a range of legal issues.

Padgett, Whitworth, Donohue and Mickiewicz, Legal Intern – Assist with case management, research for cases, writing letters to clients, opposing attorneys, and any other individual or company involved in the cases, brief preparation of files for clients, court dates, and hearings.  Interns ill have direct contact with clients.

Law Offices of J. Vincent Perryman – Assist attorneys in drafting legal memoranda, legal briefs, and demand letters, as well as performing legal research in a law firm that practices family law, probate law, estate planning, business law, and tax law. The intern will participate in court and trials when possible and will meet with a supervising attorney at least once a week to discuss progress and assignments.

Finally, because we know that students can do anything they want with a History degree, we encourage students interested in connecting the skills they have learned in History with any field of work, the Department of History offers the History Workplace Internships which gives credit for any internship listed by the Office of Career Services with the approval of the department chair. Students enroll in History 461 and receive 2 credits.

For more information on all internships, visit the website of the Office of Career Services.