HDFS Internship Program

Welcome to the information page for the HDFS Internship Program at Purdue University! This page is designed to provide information about the HDFS Internship Program to students, current interns, cooperating internship sites, and sites interested in partnering with the internship program.

About the HDFS Internship Program

The HDFS Internship Program is offered by the Department of Human Development & Family Studies and fulfills the capstone experience requirement (HDFS 45500) for the undergraduate Human Services major. It is also available as a selection for the capstone requirement (HDFS 45800) for the Developmental & Family Science major. The capstone experience provides students with an immersive, applied experience in an HDFS-related context. The internship is designed to promote student learning outcomes in three domains:

  • Knowledge of Field - Students will acquire knowledge about individual development, family processes, and the broader social context.
  • Skills in Social Services - Students will become skilled in providing direct service to children, adults and/or families and/or in the planning, evaluation, management, or support of programs that enhance well-being for children, adults, and/or families.
  • Professional Behavior - Students will demonstrate professional work attitudes and behavior.
Students majoring in Human Services will complete an internship in one of the following formats:
  • Full-time internship (12 credits) at 40 hours per week for 16 weeks (fall/spring)
  • Half-time internship (6 credits) at 20 hours per week for 16 weeks (fall/spring)
  • Full-time internship (6 credits) at 40 hours per week for 8 weeks (summer only)
Students majoring in Developmental & Family Science may complete an internship in one of the following formats:
  • Half-time internship (6 credits) at 20 hours per week for 16 weeks (fall/spring)
  • Full-time internship (6 credits) at 40 hours per week for 8 weeks (summer only)
Students will work with a faculty member to set up the internship as part of HDFS 45400: Career Assessment and Professional Development, which is taken the semester before the capstone internship experience.

Internship Placement Sites

Internship placement sites may represent a broad range of settings related to human services, developmental and family science, and related fields. For example, internship placement sites may:
  • Be non-profit, for-profit, or government agencies (e.g., community centers, family resource centers, autism centers, elder care facilities, correction facilities, military installations, etc.)
  • Perform indirect services (e.g., fundraising, program development, grant-writing, technical assistance) or provide direct services to clients (e.g., program implementation, case management, outreach/education, family support services)
  • Focus on human needs (e.g., poverty, disability, criminal offenses, health and wellness, etc.) across the lifespan (from birth to old age)
  • Serve individuals, groups, families, practitioners, or human service programs

Students completing the internship may be majoring in either human services or developmental & family science (DVFS). The range of appropriate placement sites for the two different majors overlap but are not identical. Human Services majors are required to take a series of courses designated as “practical skills” which prepare them for clinically-oriented roles. Since the DVFS curriculum does not include this preparation, DVFS majors will not be placed in internship roles that include clinically-oriented tasks (e.g., counselling-related services, risk assessments, work with families receiving services due to abuse/neglect, etc.). It is possible for DVFS majors to be hired into these roles following graduation as many organizations have extensive training for new employees. However, so that interns will be properly prepared to take on meaningful responsibilities in the short time-frame of internship, DVFS students will not be placed in these settings for their capstone internships.

Internships are often local placements but may be completed in other locations as long as the capstone requirements are met as defined by the HDFS 45400 instructor. For an incomplete list of past and current internship placement sites, see the List of Internship Site Partners.

Already a site partner with the HDFS Internship Program?

The HDFS Internship Program appreciates your ongoing collaboration! The documents below may be useful to you in supporting current or future interns.

Interested in partnering with the HDFS Internship Program?

The HDFS Internship Program is always interested in partnering with agencies that can offer high quality experiences and supervision to our students. 

Contact an Internship Coordinator

Jennifer Dobbs-Oates (jendo@purdue.edu; 765-494-2931)

Natasha Watkins (watkinsn@purdue.edu; 765-496-2106)

Purdue University, 610 Purdue Mall, West Lafayette, IN 47907, (765) 494-4600

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