Museum Internship (ARTH 490)


The Department of Art History & Communications Studies offers undergraduate students the opportunity to undertake internships at museums, art galleries, and artist-run centers, among other institutions, as the equivalent of a 3-credit course toward their academic degree programs.

Internships provide students with work experience and help to clarify vocational interests. As interns, students gain opportunities to see how things function in particular career fields and get exposure to research, curatorial and exhibition practices. Internships offer insight into the multifaceted concerns, needs and interests of art institutions and organizations. Students may develop a range of “marketable skills” in contexts that stress the importance of group work, the value of clear writing, and professional presentation techniques. Added benefits include opportunities to network, find mentors, and earn credits toward their academic program.

Please note: The internship for course credit is a two-term process; you must take this into consideration when considering the museum internship course (ARTH 490). You complete the internship at the host institution before doing the course at McGill, which is currently offered only during the Fall Semester. Thus, whether you do the internship during the fall, winter, or summer term, you take the course the following fall semester.

Eligibility Requirements

The Arts Internship is open to students in good standing in any Art History program after having completed one year of undergraduate studies. A minimum CGPA of 2.7 and permission from the departmental Internship Advisor are required. This course will not fulfill program requirements for seminar or 400-level courses.

Please note: Both Canadian and International students are required to inform themselves of the visa requirements for students pursuing internships (paid or unpaid) in particular countries. For non-Canadians pursuing internships in Canada, a work permit is required, even if the internship is unpaid. Learn more about work authorisations for international students.

Approval Procedure

The Arts Internship course requires approval from ahadvisor.ahcs [at] before the internship is undertaken. The following online Approval Form must be submitted before the beginning of the internship: Arts Internship Approval Form. You don't need an Academic Supervisor signature right now. Department and Internship office signatures are enough.

Course Requirements for the Museum Internship Course (ARTH 490)

  • A minimum of 150 hours of work with the host institution or organization.
  • A description of the organization with which the student will be working including the name of the supervisor to whom the student will be accountable, and a letter indicating the willingness of the responsible person and sponsoring agency to assume the task of supervision.
  • A letter from the student's supervisor attesting to the successful completion of the student's tenure at the institution (including assessment of work performance).
  • Documentation of the nature of the internship experience (a three-page description of projects undertaken, duties, responsibilities, expectations and actual outcome, learning curve from the experience), which can be in the form of a journal or summary.
  • Topics Paper (maximum 10-pages) in which a question or problem (devised together with Internship Advisor) is discussed. This is not a research paper; instead, the essay is intended to give the student an opportunity to consider some aspect of the internship experience on a more academic/intellectual level than afforded by the documentation component. Since each student's experience is unique, a topic is usually agreed upon once the internship is in progress.

Method of Evaluation

  • 35% 150 hours and performance assessment from the Host Institute
  • 15% Documentation - journal summary ~ 3 pages
  • 50% Topics paper - essay ~ 10 pages

Course Work and Grade Submission Dates

Final paper and journal report submission deadline is the last day of classes/term.

Grade entry deadline is one week after classes end.

Is the internship course for me?

Typically, students pursue an internship during their second or third year of undergraduate studies. The internship itself can be arranged for any term (fall, winter, summer) but the course is only offered in the Fall Semester (so if you do your 150 hour internship during the Fall, Winter, or Summer semesters, you would enroll in the course [ARTH 490] during the following Fall semester). Students are only allowed to earn 3-credits toward their program once they complete the course.

Internship experiences may be available as a career-related summer job or a part-time job. It is not expected that interns will receive payment for work undertaken during their placement. While some sponsoring institutions or organizations might offer remuneration, most interns work as volunteers.

The workload for internships is generally more demanding and time-consuming than expected. Nevertheless, the rewards gained from working in the field are usually beneficial; the Museum Internship course is an exciting way to complement classroom learning with practical work experience and to learn about professional and career options.

Projects pursued by students have been remarkably wide-ranging, including research, assisting curators and art administrators in organizing exhibitions, developing collections, cataloguing art works, documents or artifacts, working in educational programs, giving tours, and assisting in public relations.

Internships which are completed during the summer months allow more flexibility with scheduling, and enable students to intern outside Montreal.

Internship tenure When to start planning When to register When course work is due
Any semester (stretches over two semesters) ASAP; well in advance of registration period to obtain approval from Internship Advisor After having completed the 150 hours (phase 1), students will register for ARTH 490 (students should discuss this with Internship Advisor before beginning internship) In the session for which the student is registered for the Museum Internship course (phase 2) (ARTH 490)

Helpful resources:

Faculty of Arts Internship Office

Canada has a healthy network of artist-run centres, and many of these may offer internship opportunities. The RCAAQ (Regroupement des centres d'artistes autogérés du Québec) recently released a useful directory of artist-run centres in Quebec and Canada. See their website:

Some websites listing Montreal-based institutions include: Société des directeurs des musées montréalais, and Montreal History Museums.

For further information, contact:

Student Affairs Advising
Department of Art History & Communication Studies
McGill University
853 Sherbrooke Street West, Arts 155
Montreal, Quebec, Canada H3A 2T6
ahadvisor.ahcs [at] (Email)

Anne Turner
Internship Officer
Internship Office, Faculty of Arts
McGill University
Arts Building, Room 110
Montreal, Quebec, Canada H3A 2T7
Phone: (514) 398-2916
Fax: (514) 398-8049
anne.turner [at] (Email)

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