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HDFS Undergraduate Internships

The HDFS internship is the capstone course for our undergraduate majors. To best meet their personal interests and goals, students can select from a variety of internship tracks. The HDFS internship consists of an intensive semester-long field placement wherein students apply their academic training in a real-life setting. Through this “learning by doing” experience, students develop the knowledge and skills that are critical for successfully achieving their long-range career objectives. Our internship students also make valuable contributions to the well-being of individuals, families, and programs within the local, national, and international communities.

View the following FAQs to learn more about the HDFS Internship. Click on the question to access the response.

The purpose of the HDFS Internship is to provide students with an opportunity to apply their academic training in a real life setting so that they will be prepared to pursue their career goals after graduation. The specific learning objectives of the HDFS Internship are as follows:

  • To apply the theories and principles learned in formal coursework
  • To develop practical skills for working with individuals and families
  • To learn about the overall structure and functioning of the internship site
  • To understand the role of the professional in serving individuals and families
  • To identify the satisfactions and dissatisfactions of a human service career
  • To practice self-awareness to promote professional and personal growth

HDFS students must meet the following prerequisites to enroll in the HDFS internship course:

  • A declared HDFS major
  • Satisfactory completion of all HDFS Required Courses and HDFS Professional Concentration Courses as outlined on the Internship Application Form
  • A grade of C or better in all Required HDFS 3000- and 4000-level Major Core courses
  • An ungapped 2.25 GPA. An ungapped GPA does not reflect any grades that have been gapped according to the Auburn University Grade Adjustment Policy
  • Clearing letters from the Alabama Board of Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation on file with the HDFS Department in 203 Spidle Hall

It is the student’s responsibility to initiate the HDFS application process. Only students who are currently enrolled as an HDFS Major can apply. Specific guidelines for the internship application process are as follows:

  1. Ideally students should meet with their faculty advisor early in their sophomore year to decide upon a professional concentration for their internship. Early identification of a professional concentration will give students the opportunity to strategically address their professional interests and to develop a timeline for meeting the course prerequisites for the internship.
  2. By the end of the first semester of the junior year, students should also meet with an advisor from the College of Human Sciences in 266 Spidle Hall to complete a Senior Credit Check. The credit check will help ensure that the student is on schedule for meeting the academic requirements for the internship and for graduation.
  3. Two semesters in advance of the semester the student expects to complete their internship, he or she should:
    • Attend the Mandatory Internship Orientation Meeting, and
    • Submit a completed Internship Application and a copy of their recent Senior Credit Check to the Internship Director by the application deadline.
    • It is the student's responsibility to ensure that a copy of their ABI and FBI Clearing Letters are on file with the HDFS department in 203 Spidle Hall prior to the start of the internship. Students without ABI and FBI Clearing Letters will not be allowed to begin their internship.
  4. The application deadlines are October 15 for a Summer Internship, March 15 for a Fall Internship, and June 15 for a Summer Internship.
Click here to view and print the Internship Applications

After the Internship Application has been submitted, it is the student’s responsibility to select his or her internship site. Please review “How do I find an internship site?”

Once the student and site reach an agreement about the internship, the student should arrange to meet with the HDFS Internship Director to discuss the placement. After the placement receives preliminary approval from the HDFS Internship Director, the student must submit two copies of the Internship Commitment Form and two signed copies of the Student Internship Agreement to the Internship Director. The Internship Application should be submitted on or before the appropriate deadline one semester prior to the beginning of the internship. At the end of the semester prior to beginning the internship, students also should attend the mandatory Internship Preparation Meeting.

There are several things to think about when selecting an internship site. Most importantly, the student should consider his or her interests, career goals, and academic background. It is expected that students will select an internship site that is consistent with their prior coursework as reflected on the Internship Application. Students also will find the internship more rewarding when it fits with their interests and long-term goals.

Potential internship sites can be identified through a variety of sources, including Auburn University faculty and the Career Development Center, community referral services, telephone books, the Internet, fellow students, and hometown contacts. The HDFS department also maintains a collection of binders in 206 Spidle Hall that contain information on potential internship sites. An internship site can be within the United States or abroad.

Students should arrange to interview at least three prospective internship sites to discuss potential placement. This interview provides the student with an opportunity to explore the quality of experience and mentoring available at the site, and it allows the site to consider the fit of the student with its programs. The student should send the organization a copy of his or her resume prior to the scheduled date of the interview. If time does not permit, the student should present a copy of his or her resume at the interview along with information about the HDFS Internship. Information about the HDFS Internship can be obtained during the Mandatory Internship Orientation Meeting.

Once the student and site reach an agreement about the internship, the student should arrange to meet with the HDFS Internship Director to discuss the placement. Final approval of the internship site will occur after the student submits two copies of the Internship Commitment Form and two signed copies of the Student Internship Agreement to the Internship Director on or before the appropriate deadline one semester in advance of beginning the internship.

Internship placements should provide for educational direction, professional mentoring, qualified agency supervision, and other safeguards that encourage student learning. For the intern, the process of choosing a placement reflects such considerations as his or her Internship Track and future goals, as well as the location of a site and the type of client population served. One of the most important factors for a student to consider, however, is the person who will be serving as the agency supervisor. Based on the personalities of the supervisor and the intern, their specific areas of interest, the qualifications of the supervisor and his/her willingness to give adequate supervision, a student should ask, “Is the person who will be supervising me someone I want to work with and have mentor me?”

The Commitment Form is required for finalizing students’ internship placement. The form is used to convey information to the HDFS Internship Director about the student’s internship placement and the student’s contact information during the internship. The information from the Commitment Form is used to prepare the Agreement of Cooperation between the HDFS Department and the selected internship site. The HDFS Department will mail the Agreement of Cooperation and materials outlining internship objective and evaluation procedures to the internship site supervisor. It is mandatory that representatives of both the HDFS department and the Internship Site sign the Agreement of Cooperation before the student begins the internship.

Commitment Forms will be distributed to students during the first mandatory Internship Orientation Meeting that is held at the beginning of Fall and Spring semesters. Students should attend the Internship Orientation Meeting at least two semesters in advance of the semester they expect to complete internship.

If a student decides to postpone his or her Internship after submitting the Internship Application Form, he or she needs to notify the Internship Director in writing of his or her intent to postpone the internship along with information about the alternative semester he or she intends to complete internship.

If a student decides to postpone his or her internship or change the internship site once the Commitment Form has been submitted, he or she must wait at least one additional semester to begin placement at an alternative site. Students are strongly discouraged from changing their internship arrangements once the Commitment Form has been submitted to the HDFS Internship Director.

There are two mandatory meetings students must attend prior to internship. The specific dates and time of the meetings will be announced through signs posted in Spidle Hall and the HDFS student listserv.

  1. The first mandatory meeting (called the Internship Orientation Meeting) is held at the beginning of Fall and Spring semesters. Students should attend this meeting at least two semesters in advance of the semester they expect to complete internship. Guidelines for preparing for internship and the required paperwork for placement will be provided
  2. The second mandatory meeting (called the Internship Preparation Meeting) is held at the end of Fall and Spring semesters. Students should attend this meeting the last semester before they complete internship. Course requirements and the Internet component of the course will be reviewed.


Please note that no mandatory meetings will be held during Summer semester. Students should plan accordingly. Students completing internship Spring semester, for example, will need to attend the first mandatory meeting (Internship Orientation) at the beginning of the preceding Spring semester. Students completing internship Fall semester will need to attend the second mandatory meeting (Internship Preparation) at the end of Spring semester prior to their internship.

There are mandatory deadlines all prospective internship students must be aware of and adhere to. All students must turn in their Internship Application form, Senior Credit Check, and Fingerprint/Background Check Clearing Letters two semesters in advance of the semester they expect to complete internship. The Internship Commitment Form and Internship Agreement must be turned in the semester before they complete the internship.

The deadlines for turning in the Internship Application materials and the Internship Commitment Form materials are:

  • October 15
  • March 15
  • June 15

All HDFS students are required to complete a 12 credit hour internship. In order to complete the 12-credit hour internship, students will have to work a minimum of 450 hours at their internship site. During Fall and Spring semesters, students will work about 30 hours a week over the course of a semester to earn the 450 hours. During Summer semester, students will work approximately 45 hours a week at their internship site. Students are expected to complete both the minimum number of hours and semester weeks at their site.

The performance of the HDFS Intern will be evaluated based on the following three criteria:

  1. Written and verbal evaluations provided by the site supervisor
  2. Student participation in Web-based activities
  3. Quality of the Senior Internship Project
The Intern’s final grade will be assigned by the Internship Director according to the following criteria:
  1. Fifty-percent (50%) of the final grade will be based on performance at the internship site
  2. 25% will be based on completion of the Web-based activities
  3. 25% will be based on the quality of work on course assignments

Ethics are standards for professional conduct that guide the on the job behavior of professionals in relationship to their clients, employers, colleagues, and communities. Every HDFS student needs to be familiar with ethical standards and prepared to practice appropriate ethical behavior during the internship. Unethical behavior on the part of the intern can result in the student being dropped from the internship and earning a failing grade, as well as other possible sanctions.

Click on the links below to review the Ethical Standards of HDFS-related professional organizations.

While it is the full responsibility of the student to initiate and complete the internship process, the HDFS Internship Director is available to support the student’s efforts and serve as an advocate for his or her success during the internship placement. More specifically, it is the role of the HDFS Internship Director to:

  • Discuss internship tracks with students who are preparing for internship
  • Conduct orientation meetings prior to the Application deadline and the internship
  • Negotiate site contracts between the HDFS department and the internship sites
  • Promote the personal and professional growth of intern students
  • Facilitate the Web component of the learning experience
  • Monitor student progress and assign final grade

Jamie Sailors, Ph.D. is the HDFS Internship Director

Contact Information:

Department of Human Development and Family Studies

206-F Spidle Hall

Auburn University, AL 36849

Office phone: (334) 844-3217

Fax: (334) 844-4515

E-mail: anderja@auburn.edu

Undergraduate students in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies (HDFS) at Auburn University are required to complete a 12 credit hour internship that is related to their course of study and their long-term career goals. Students are expected to complete a minimum of 450 placement hours over the course of a semester. In addition to the minimum number of hours, students are expected to work at the internship site for the full number of weeks in a semester. The actual day and times worked by the student at the site should be arranged between the site supervisor and the student.

Internship placements should provide for educational direction, professional mentoring, qualified agency supervision, and other safeguards that encourage student learning. It is the responsibility of the internship site to commit itself to follow through with the intern in the prescribed manner until the end of the placement. Assignments with the organization should be easily understood, visibly accomplished, helpful to those receiving services, and of educational value to the student.

If you decide to work with an HDFS student, it is anticipated that the person who most closely supervises the student will do the following:

  • Provide the student with as much direct, hands-on experience with clients and services as possible and appropriate.
  • Help the student to become acquainted with the staff, physical characteristics, and operational methods of the site.
  • Supervise and facilitate the student’s development by regularly observing his or her work, and providing him or her with constructive feedback.
  • Complete a mid-semester and final evaluation on the student, and provide opportunity for the HDFS Internship Director and site supervisor to consult about the student’s progress via telephone, and/or a site visit
Organizations that choose to work with an HDFS student will be asked to sign an Agreement of Cooperation with the HDFS department. A copy of the agreement and a detailed outline of the HDFS internship objectives and evaluation procedures will be mailed to the site supervisor after the student informs the HDFS Internship Director of their placement. In addition, the student should be prepared to provide the site with information about the internship, agreement, and evaluation procedures during the initial interview.

The internship is a very important component of the student’s college education and professional development. The HDFS department appreciates that it is the cooperation of the internship sites that makes this experience possible. To this end, the HDFS Internship Director is available to answer questions and support site supervisors’ work with students anytime during the internship process.