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Scenes from the Department of Human Development and Family Studies

HDF Field Experience

Instructions for HDF480 Senior Field Work Experience

HDF 480 is the senior field work experience for HDF majors. HDF 481, taken concurrently, is the seminar that provides an opportunity for discussion and reflection of the internship experience. Please read all of the information below.



  • Senior standing (90+ credits)
  • Completion of all HDF core courses
  • Completion of two early field courses


Internship information sessions

Attend an internship information session the first Wednesday of March for summer and fall internships or the first Wednesday of November for spring internships when the registration form will be discussed in detail.


  • Kingston, 1:00 pm, Transition Center, 2 Lower College Road
  • Providence, 5:00 pm, HDF advising office, room 251


Securing an internship

Students secure their own internship, which occurs prior to registering for HDF 480 and HDF 481. The internship may be paid or unpaid, however a paid internship must be different than current paid employment. An internship will have different job responsibilites, hours, and supervisor than current paid employment, even if it is at the same agency. (Note: students who have three years of professional experience may choose to document their experience through prior learning assessment and receive credit for HDF 480).

Suggestions for finding an internship include:


  • Viewing the agency list on the HDF webpage
  • Searching
  • Speaking with your academic advisor and professors
  • Searching local human service agencies via internet and other media


Requirements of site supervisor and agency


  • Agency must be located in Rhode Island.
  • Site supervisor must have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree.
  • The site supervisor or the agency may not be related to you or your family.
  • The agency will assess whether or not you have the necessary background, seriousness of purpose, and overall maturity to successfully complete an internship at the agency. It may be helpful to research the agency prior to your interview.


Registration form

After you have chosen your site, complete the registration form and submit it to the address below. After your registration form is approved, you will be notified by email and receive a permission number to enroll in HDF 480/1. As part of the registration form, learning goals, intern’s duties and responsibilities, and the daily work schedule will be developed by the student in conjunction with the agency site supervisor. It is the student's responsibility to ensure that the agency site supervisor receives a copy of the approved registration form. Students are required to submit their registration form by the deadlines noted below.


Registration form deadlines

For fall semester internships: April 25

For spring semester internship: December 5

For summer session internship: April 25


Submission of internship registration form to internship faculty supervisor:

Send completed registration form, with agency site supervisor’s signature, to:


For Kingston sections of HDF 480 and HDF 481:

HDF Department Office

Attn: HDF 480 HDF 481

University of Rhode Island

Transition Center

2 Lower College Road

Kingston, RI 02881


For Providence sections of HDF 480 and HDF 481:

HDF Advising Office

Feinstein Providence Campus

Room 251

University of Rhode Island

80 Washington Street

Providence, RI 02903


Credits, Hours, Semesters

    Fall or Spring Internship Hours (13 weeks)

    6 credits

    208 hours total

    16 hours per week

    9 credits

    312 hours total

    24 hours per week

    12 credits

    416 hours total

    32 hours per week

    + 1 credit for the Internship seminar HDF 481



    Summer Internship Hours (10 weeks)

    6 credits (maximum)

    200 hours total

    20 hours per week

    + 1 credit for the Internship seminar HDF 481


HDF 481 Seminar

Students are required to attend and participate in all HDF 481 seminars. Grades are based on attendance, participation, and fulfillment of written assignments.


Expectations for Student Intern, Agency Site Supervisor, and Internship Faculty Instructor

To achieve the goal of a significant and meaningful professional experience, the student intern, the agency site supervisor, and the internship faculty instructor signify their agreement with the following guidelines by signing the internship registration form.


Student intern will:

  • Complete the contracted number of hours during the academic term.
  • Fulfill or exceed the required fieldwork and academic components of the internship as outlined in the internship registration form.
  • Follow procedures, policies and regulations of the sponsoring organization in an ethical and responsible manner.
  • Attend and participate in the HDF 481 Seminar and complete written requirements as outlined in the syllabus.
  • Optional -- attend an internship information session prior to completing the internship registration form. Information sessions are held the first Wednesday of March for summer and fall internships and the first Wednesday of November for spring internships.


Agency site supervisor will:

  • Evaluate the student’s work and progress as an intern fairly and continuously in relation to the learning goals written on the internship registration form.
  • Provide feedback to the intern regarding progress and meet with intern regularly.
  • Give the student meaningful duties and responsibilities that are in the best interest of the student’s educational and professional goals.
  • Complete evaluation(s) of the student’s performance.
  • Meet with the student’s internship faculty advisor as needed.
  • Assist students with the parts of the internship registration form (for example the learning goals or agency description).
  • Provide the intern with a clear description of his/her assigned responsibilities during the semester.
  • Designate a qualified agency staff member to serve as a site supervisor.
  • Provide the intern with a meaningful orientation to the agency's services, organizational and operating practices.
  • Provide the intern with opportunities to become significantly involved in agency activities consistent with the goals outlined in the learning goals.
  • Provide periodic work planning and review sessions for the intern and the agency site supervisor to assess progress and plan for continued learning.
  • Complete an evaluation(s) of the intern's performance.


Internship faculty instructor will:

  • Meet with the student intern on a regularly scheduled basis in a seminar setting (HDF 481) to discuss theoretical and practical aspects of the internship.
  • Meet with the student’s agency site supervisor as needed.
  • Assist students in clarifying goals, planning and offering guidance as needed throughout the internship process.
  • Identify and approve potential internship sites.
  • Following department policy, approve the registration form.
  • Conduct seminar (HDF 481)
  • Monitor and supervise progress toward learning goals.
  • Assign a satisfactory or unsatisfactory grade for the internship (HDF 480) and a letter grade for the seminar (HDF 481).


Enrollment in HDF 480 and HDF 481

Enrollment is contingent upon completion and approval of the registration form, with the signature of the agency site supervisor. Upon approval, permission numbers for HDF 480 and HDF 481 will be e-mailed by the internship faculty instructor allowing the student to enroll for internship credit.