Higher Education Internships

The purpose of the internship requirement 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 student affairs and higher education. HESA 586 internship course is a requirement for the M.S.Ed. in Higher Education and Student Affairs. It is a three-credit course and requires 120 hours of field experience.

The primary focus of the internship is to provide you with 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

Internships must be in the area of higher education and student affairs and often specialize in:

  • Academic advising
  • Admissions
  • Assessment/evaluation
  • Career services
  • Cultural centers
  • Fraternity and sorority life
  • Leadership and administration
  • LGBTQ student services
  • Multicultural student support services
  • New student orientation
  • Research
  • Residential life
  • Strategic planning
  • Student-athlete support services
  • Student leadership development
  • Study Abroad
  • TRIO/Upward Bound offices

Internship Site Selection

Students should consult with their academic counselor when selecting an internship site to determine which experiential experiences will help support their career goals. There are internship opportunities throughout the Northern Illinois University campus, regional community colleges and universities, as well as national internship programs like NODA and ACUHO-I.

In some cases, students want to create an entirely new internship with a department at NIU or another campus or organization and should consult with their academic counselor.

Recent Internships

Examples of recent internships held by students in the M.S.Ed. in Higher Education and Student Affairs at Northern Illinois University include:

Chicagoland Area

  • Northern Illinois University
  • Kishwaukee College
  • Waubonsee College
  • North Central College
  • University of Illinois-Chicago
  • Northwestern University
  • Elmhurst College
  • Triton College
  • Columbia College
  • Morraine Valley College
  • Harper College
  • National Louis University


  • Jacksonville University
  • Edgewood College
  • Kentucky State University
  • UW-Milwaukee
  • University of North Texas
  • University of Lynchburg
  • Wingate University
  • Italy
  • Germany


"My internship has created avenues of professional development and mentorship that has lasted with me to this day. NIU's HESA program challenged me to be student centered and has instilled, within me, the consistent yearning to refine my philosophy of higher education." Don Hardy, M.S.Ed. Higher Education and Student Affairs, 2021, Resident Director, University of Maryland

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