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Intern aids a woman through the health care process.

The Capstone HDFS Internship

The internship program is designed to assist you in gaining pre-professional experience and in establishing a professional identity in the human services field to enhance your appeal to potential employers. The internship is your opportunity to get work experience and to be a professional in a setting of your choice. Usually you will begin the internship process in your junior or senior year. The internship may be done in the fall, spring, or summer semesters, but should be completed as a capstone experience during your last semester at Penn State. The internship is one full semester spent working as a professional in a setting of your choice. Generally you will work as a full-time professional (a minimum of 35 hours a week) for the semester. Because an internship requires full-time commitment at a professional work site, students are strongly discouraged from taking additional classes during the semester in which they conduct their internship. Even though you will spend one semester away from the University, you will be expected to enroll as a full-time student and pay full tuition.

The internship is one of the most valuable experiences you will have as part of your education at Penn State. Approach it seriously and think of it as an exciting time in your education. Remember, many students get their first job offer from their internship site or make contacts for possible future employment.

The Internship Program consists of three courses (14 credits):

HDFS 490: Introduction to Internship Experience (2 credits)

HDFS 490 is the first in the series of internship courses and should be taken one semester before your internship. HDFS 490 is offered fall and spring semester. The primary goal of this course is to prepare you for a successful undergraduate internship in your professional area of interest. In this course you will develop your résumé, learn job search techniques, research possible internship sites, and develop and complete an internship agreement (Internship Program Document). This document is an agreement between you, a suitable internship agency or organization, and the University. You must complete HDFS 490 with a minimum grade of "C" and have the instructor's approval before you can continue with the internship program.

HDFS 495A: Internship: Advanced Experience (9 credits)

Represents a full-time, one semester internship experience. Its focus is experiential learning accompanied by intensive supervision, provided by on-site personnel, as well as University based mentoring. Taken concurrently with HDFS 495B. You must enroll in the course 2-3 weeks prior to the end of the semester preceding the internship.

Assignments include checking in with your HDFS instructor, as well as those in your cohort, via daily logs, live chats, and discussion boards.

HDFS 495B: Internship: Assignments (3 credits)

Assignments for 495B consist of reflections related to the internship, career development work such as exploring jobs and graduate programs, and either a policy or organizational analysis paper.

Contact Us

The HDFS Internship office is located in 133 Health and Human Development Building.

For further questions regarding the HDFS internship program, contact Marc McCann (mhm137), your faculty adviser, academic adviser, or a trusted faculty member.