Directed Fieldwork & Internships

Directed Fieldwork (DFW) historically has been one of the iSchool’s most popular elective courses. 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.

A credit/no-credit elective course, Directed Fieldwork (LIS 590) typically takes places on a quarterly basis (10-12 weeks) for either 100, 150, 200, or 250 total hours (2-5 credits). MLIS students, in collaboration with their supervisor/mentor, must decide which number of credits/hours is appropriate for the particular situation and quarter.

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.

DFW Process and Forms

For Students

*Although the default program used to open these forms is most likely Adobe Reader, they MUST be edited in Adobe Pro because Adobe Reader will not allow you to save them. Please contact the instructor on record for that quarter if you have any problems.

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. The AALL Conference is held in a different city each year; students must subsidize their own costs of registration, travel and attendance. However, scholarship and grant opportunities are available. 

Law MLIS students work directly with Richard Jost, Director of the Law MLIS Program, to set up Directed Fieldwork. Before summer quarter registration, email the MLIS Program Coordinator at to receive your DFW add code. At the end of your DFW quarter the following items will need to be submitted to Richard Jost by the student and DFW host site supervisor/mentor:

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