For detailed information and forms, click here.
The internship is a 9-credit-hour course (HRD-329) that should be taken during your last semester of coursework. It is intended to provide HRD majors with a capstone experience that will bridge the gap between coursework and professional practice by offering an opportunity to (1) apply your accumulated knowledge to a real project that meets a real need within a real organization and (2) work with a practicing HRD professional at a sponsoring organization. The internship will require 300 hours over the course of the semester—approximately 20 hours a week during a 15-week semester. There are three basic roles in the internship:
- The intern is the student. The intern’s primary responsibility is to complete the internship as outlined in the proposal, under the direction and guidance of the sponsor and Instructor.
- The sponsor is the person at the organization to whom the intern will report. The sponsor’s primary responsibilities are to provide the intern with direction, guidance and feedback, and to evaluate the intern’s work in terms of the organization’s needs.
- The instructor is a Northeastern faculty member who is the instructor for the HRD-329 course. The instructor’s primary responsibilities are to guide and coach the intern, to facilitate the seminar component of the course and to provide a course grade, incorporating input from the sponsor.
What’s the seminar part of the course? The course has two major components. Most of your time will probably be spent on the internship component—working for the sponsoring organization. But there is a seminar component and you will be expected to attend scheduled class sessions and complete any class assignments given by the instructor.
What do I turn in for a grade? No two internships are exactly the same, so what you turn in is likely to be different from what other students turn in. The details will be worked out with your instructor. However, it is common to ask students to turn in:
- A tangible product completed for the sponsoring organization
- A time log that documents the time spent on the internship and how that time was spent
- Some kind of reflective writing (for example a journal kept throughout the internship)
How do I register for the course? Like other courses, registration for HRD-329 is done through the TTRS. What’s different about this course is that registration requires prior authorization. To be authorized for the course you must:
- Submit a proposal and have it approved.
- Be admitted to the College of Education.
- Have completed all the required HRD courses.
What should be included in the proposal? The basic idea behind writing a proposal is to create a “contract” so that everyone knows what your goals are and how the internship fits in with those goals. The proposal should include information about the following:
- The sponsoring organization. Include the name of the organization, its location and a brief description of the products or services it provides.
- Your learning goals. Treat the internship as a professional development experience. What knowledge and skills do you already have that you will be able to use during the internship? What new knowledge and skills would you like to develop during the internship? One way to put this in context is to think about your particular career interests and goals. What would you like to do once you graduate with an HRD degree? What would you like to learn during your internship that would help you reach that goal?
- The planned learning activities.What will you be doing during your internship—specifically what will you be doing to help you reach your learning goals? You may find that you are working as a member of a team. If that is the case, be sure to clearly describe your role in the work. Exactly what will your responsibilities be?
- The tangible results. What will you produce to help document accomplishment of your learning goals? What will be the end result of your work? What tangible thing(s) will you produce for the organization? Describe the outcome of the internship (training manual, website, etc.), including an outline of the content and a description of the intended audience.
- Contact information. Include names, titles, telephone numbers, addresses and email addresses for both you and your sponsor. Sometimes details get worked out as the internship progresses. But, it’s important for everyone involved to have a clear picture of your internship from the beginning. Be as specific as you can in writing the proposal.
How long should the proposal be? There’s no set length, but the proposal asks for some specific information. Four or five pages is probably a reasonable guideline.
When is the proposal due? Internship proposals should be submitted to your undergraduate advisor—either in person or by email. If you plan to do your internship during the Fall semester, your proposal is due by July 15. If you plan to do your internship during the Spring semester, your proposal is due by November 15. If the Summer semester is your choice for completing the internship, your proposal is due April 15. It’s a good idea to get your proposal in as early as possible, in case there’s anything that requires clarification or additional information. Proposals can be submitted as early as you like as long as you are sure that the conditions of your internship will not change substantially.
How do I find an internship? Finding an internship is like finding a job. First, make sure your résumé is up to date and presentable. Second, develop a network of people and let them know that you’re looking for an internship. Consider attending meetings of local professional organizations (ASTD, ISPI, HRD, etc.) as well as telling friends, family, other students, etc. that you’re looking. Finally, keep your eyes and ears open for opportunities.
In looking for an internship, consider your own needs and interests, as well as those of the organization. Think about your own career goals and look for an internship that will help you achieve those goals. For example:
- What do you want to learn; that is, what new knowledge and skills do you want to acquire?
- Do you want to work in a particular industry (healthcare, social services, retail sales, etc.)?
- Do you want to work for a large or small organization?
- Is location important (downtown, western suburbs, northern suburbs, etc.)?
- Is it important to find a paid internship?
It may not be possible to meet all of your needs and interests, but the more you consider what those needs and interests are the better able you will be to meet at least some of them.
Can the HRD Program help me find an internship? Sometimes we have leads that we can tell you about. And sometimes Northeastern’s Placement Center has internship opportunities. But for the most part, the responsibility for finding an internship is yours.
What kinds of internships can I do? This is fairly open. We have purposely kept the guidelines for internships relatively loose in order to allow students a chance to explore a range of opportunities. The internship always involves a balance between the needs of the student, the sponsoring organization and Northeastern:
- For the students—The project should match their interests and career goals. Students should think about the internship as a component of their professional education and develop an internship that is both relevant and interesting to them.
- For the sponsoring organization—The project should meet a real organizational need. The expectation is that students will do real work for the organization.
- For Northeastern—The project should have some connection to the training and development focus of the HRD curriculum. We are also interested in helping students add to their professional portfolio. As a result, the project should lead to a tangible result, something students can show prospective employers as an example of their best work.
To illustrate some of the possible variety, recent internships have included:
- Development of a training program on hiring for use by a consulting business
- Development of a website and procedural manual for a children’s museum
- Development of policy and procedure manuals for a travel company
- Evaluation and redesign of training programs for gymnastics instructors at a park district
- Design and delivery of a basic computer skills training program at Northeastern
Can I do my internship where I work? Yes. However, your internship responsibilities should be over and above your usual job duties. It’s okay if there’s some overlap between your job and the project. But keep in mind that the project should be a learning experience —it should help you acquire new knowledge and skills.
Can I be paid for my internship? Yes. This is something to explore with the sponsoring organization.
Can I start working on my internship before the semester begins? Yes, under certain conditions, if this will only two or three weeks before the beginning of semester. All internship work requires an instructor at Northeastern, as well as a sponsor at the organization where you will be doing the work. If you would like to begin work on your internship prior to the beginning of the semester, you must:
- Have an approved proposal.
- Obtain agreement, in writing, from a full-time HRD faculty member who has reviewed your proposal and is willing to supervise your work prior to the beginning of the semester.
Who can I contact if I have questions? Contact Prof. Bill Paine by email (W-Paine@neiu.edu) if you have any questions about the internship.