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Independent Placements

Student John Rafferty's Interned with the Polaris Project in Washington DC

Purpose of Independent Placements

If no available clinic or established externship offers the experience you seek, students may propose and seek approval for an independent placement. To do so, please review the law school's Externship Policy to determine whether your proposed externship experience will qualify. The policy requires an Advising Faculty Member and an identifiable Field Instructor at the placement site.

Work Time Requirements

The work time requirement for various credit amounts are as follows: 135 hours for  three (3) credits; 180 hours for four (4) credits; 270 hours for six (6) credits.  In special circumstances, students have been approved for fulltime, twelve (12) credit externships requiring 540 work hours during the semester. Please note that experiential hours do not include time spent conferencing with the Advising Faculty Member or commuting to and from the Field Placement.

Special Exceptions

An externship that does not comply with any aspect of the policy must be approved by the full faculty after review by the Curriculum Committee. In special circumstances, when truly unusual and valuable opportunities have presented themselves, students have obtained approval of externships outside the specific provisions of the policy.


Once you have secured an externship, you must submit the Externship Enrollment Form to be enrolled in the externship. If approved, you should make any necessary adjustments to your course schedule after the Registrar adds the externship to your course load for the semester.

Questions About Externships?

Contact Matthew McGovern
Director of Experiential Learning

Tel: 610-519-3893
Office: Room 158

Check our FAQs page

Director of Experiential Learning, Matt McGovern

Director of Experiential Learning, Matt McGovern

Matt manages the Law School’s Externship Program and teaches the classroom component of the judicial and non-judicial externship courses. Matt joined the Law School in 2007 as a librarian and legal research instructor.  He was appointed Director of Experiential Learning in 2015. Before pursuing a career at Villanova, Matt was a staff pharmacist at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. He also practiced law with the Maryland Attorney General’s Office where he represented the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Matt holds a J.D. from the University of Maryland and an M.S. in Library and Information Science from Drexel University.