Directed Fieldwork & Internships

Directed Fieldwork (DFW) historically has been one of the iSchool’s most popular elective courses (LIS 590). It is designed much like a practicum and provides MLIS students with a structured opportunity to gain real-world, hands-on experience in a library or information science setting. DFW allows students to apply concepts and practices learned in coursework as they assist in professional-level work under the formal guidance from a qualified supervisor/mentor.

Students typically pursue tasks and projects that constitute entry-level professional work. In addition, since fieldwork is meant to be a learning opportunity for students, DFW tasks usually involve skills and knowledge that the student has already begun to develop through coursework but for which the student has not yet developed a high level of expertise.

Prior to doing a DFW students will have completed much of their core coursework. Students may also pursue a DFW for the following credits/minimum number of hours completed by the end of the quarter:

  • 1 credit = 50 hours 
  • 2 credits = 100 hours 
  • 3 credits = 150 hours 
  • 4 credits = 200 hours 
  • 5 credits = 250 hours 

DFW must be completed within the UW academic quarters.

DFW Process and Forms

For Students

For Host Sites

Directed Fieldwork for Law MLIS Students

Law MLIS students have done their DFW in some of the country’s best law libraries, including academic, firm, corporate, and public state or county libraries. With excellent connections throughout the U.S. and the world, former students have worked at the U.S. Supreme Court library, fine academic institutions such as Berkeley, Yale, and the University of Texas, and many firms and county law libraries.

As part of the Directed Fieldwork Program, Law MLIS students attend the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) Conference, held in July of each year. At the conference, students participate in the many networking and educational opportunities offered by AALL. They also take advantage of the comprehensive career services available at the conference, including the opportunity to interview for professional positions.

For more information, contact Richard Jost, Director of the Law MLIS program, at or 206-543-4980.

Current Law MLIS Students: For more information about setting up your DFW experience, or to find DFW forms, please see the Directed Fieldwork for Law MLIS Students Canvas page.