facebook twitter flikr email   

Adult and Higher Education Internships

Adult and Higher Education Internships

Internship Opportunities!

CAHA 586 and 786

Introduction to Internships

The Graduate Internship Program is an ideal form of experiential learning, a way to get to know a segment of the field, and an opportunity to enhance professional skills. It may become the most important avenue for you in career planning and placement.


The purpose of the internship program is to provide you with a career experience and to help you develop skills appropriate to work and the work environment. In some cases you will receive a basic introduction, and in others you will receive an in-depth understanding and/or working knowledge of a specific employment area in adult and higher education. In general, internships require 120 hours of field experience. 

The primary focus of the internship is to provide you with a professional experience. To achieve this goal it is recommended that you engage in an internship situation that will provide you:

  • the opportunity to develop a working knowledge of the overall structure and function of the program or department in which the internship takes place
  • participation in some of the day to day activities
  • specific employment responsibilities and/or projects to complete which will be not only beneficial to you but will also benefit the cooperating institution

After preliminary discussions with your NIU Academic Counselor and Internship Supervisor, you should complete your Internship Approval Form.  You will also be required to complete the Learning Objectives and Activities Form which will outline your learning objectives for the internship. Be as specific as possible. The learning objectives will be reviewed by your Internship Supervisor and NIU CAHA586/786 Instructor. After negotiation and adjustments, if any, these learning objectives will guide your total internship experience.

It is the responsibility of your internship supervisor to guide you in achieving these objectives, to provide a context for significant learning, and to act as professional mentor.  It is your responsibility to arrange meetings, make regular journal entries, have forms completed, and request evaluations and letters of recommendation. Arranging a time frame within which the internship will be pursued will be a concern for you, your internship supervisor and your academic counselor alike.

Types of Internships

Internships tend to be directed at six major types of organizations:  

  • Educational
  • Health care delivery
  • Business and industry
  • Professional associations and non-profit organizations 
  • Media services 
  • Libraries and museums

Typical Internship Activities

Internships often provide opportunities to further develop skills in:

  • Assessment / evaluation
  • Consulting
  • Leadership / administration
  • Policy analysis / policy development
  • Program planning
  • Research 
  • Strategic planning
  • Teaching
  • Training and development

So, whether it is research, teaching, program development, administration, or marketing, the internship program offers you a reality against which to test the knowledge you have gained in graduate study.

Site Selection

Selecting a site and developing appropriate learning objectives are tasks usually undertaken in consultation with your academic counselor and internship supervisor. Objectives should reflect a desire to:

  • become familiar with the overall structure and function of the program and or organization in which the internship will take place
  • participate in some of the day to day activities
  • assume some specific responsibilities or project(s) as the appropriate medium for realizing personal and organizational goals

Examples of professional activities undertaken by students in the Graduate Internship Program in Adult and Higher Education at Northern Illinois University include:

  • development of a continuing professional education program
  • administration of an office for continuing education
  • teaching of a college or university credit course
  • preparation of training modules for a human resource development program in industry
  • internationalization of a curriculum area
  • production of a television program
  • application of functional literacy materials to new areas of work
  • evaluation of a vocational education activity
  • creation of a public health or higher education program within a health care delivery system


This course is graded on an Unsatisfactory or Satisfactory grading scale. If all requirements are met then you will receive an S for the course. No letter grades are awarded for internship.



 For further information on how you can get started contact: 

Danae Simonsen
Academic Counselor
Adult and Higher Education
Phone: (815) 753-1306
Email: dsimonsen@niu.edu