The internship provides supervised opportunities for graduate students to develop skills and knowledge necessary for effective leadership in nonprofit organizations.
Students registering for 3 credit hours of MNNL 7055 (Internship) are required to spend 300 hours of time in the field on location at their internship site. This typically works out to 20 hours per week over the course of a 15-week semester (but will require a greater hourly commitment per week if taken during the summer). Most students register for two consecutive semesters of MNML 7055, at the same site or different sites depending on learning needs and goals. In the case where a block placement (6 credit hours in one semester) is warranted, students must obtain permission of the program director and be able to complete the required 600 hours of field work within the semester in which they are register. The same site may be used both semesters or different sites may be selected, depending on the student’s learning needs and goals.Internship Syllabus(PDF)
Students should talk with the program director about how to identify possible sites. The director can also provide information about students’ previous experiences with some organizations. Resources for possible internship sites can be found listed under Internship Sites, in the student handbook, through a search of “Athens, GA” on Guidestar.org.
When deciding where to intern, students should make sure the internship site offers the following:
- Office space
- Access to staff, programs, and records
- An administrative supervisor or mentor
- Opportunities to carry out sustained work on issues related to some aspect of the management of the organization’s programs
The student is expected to spend 20 hours per week on field projects over the course of the semester if enrolled in 3 credit hours, and 40 hours per week on field projects if enrolled in 6 credit hours. Students are also encouraged to keep a journal of experiences and learning during each of the semesters, which is for their own reflections, not to be handed in.
Internship Sites Past and Present
Students considering internships should talk with the program director about how to identify possible sites and to explore mutual interests. The director can also provide information about previous experiences with some organizations. The following link leads to a interactive list of just some of the nonprofit organizations that our students have interned with. Students are not restricted by this list.
- Discuss internship goals and options with the program director to identify potential internship sites well before you intend to begin the internship.
- Contact the organization at which you want to intern (if by e-mail then cc the program director on all initial communications).
- Get formal approval from the program director.
- Develop a learning contract with your organizational supervisor.
- Consult with the program director to make sure the learning contract is appropriate to your learning goals.
- Begin your internship, updating your learning contract as needed.
- At the end of the semester, complete your learning contract and deliverables (any “product” of the internship).
- Submit your learning contract (including project summaries) and deliverables to the program director.
- Ask your organizational supervisor to send an evaluation letter to the program director that includes the following: confirmation that you completed the required hours (3 credits = 300 hours); an outline of your primary duties; statement of major contributions and accomplishments; and, identification of any areas in need of improvement or suggestions for further professional development.
Before beginning the internship the student should begin developing a learning contract that identifies specific projects to be carried out, steps to be taken, and work products to be delivered that will demonstrate gains in each of the skills included in the course objectives. Routine clerical tasks will not be accepted. The on-site internship supervisor will assist the student in identifying and planning projects of importance to the organization, developing plans of action and resources, deliverable products to be completed, time-lines, and criteria for assessing the quality of the products.
The contract will be reviewed and negotiated with the program director and the on-site supervisor before implementation. Within the first two weeks of the internship, students should finalize the learning contract and submit a copy to the program director. The student, the supervisor, and the program director will communicate as needed over the course of the semester to monitor and assess student progress on projects identified in the student’s learning contract.
The contract may be designed in the form of a matrix, with specific projects or activities linked to particular skills to be emphasized by each. Specific deliverable products or reports must be identified in the contract, which will then be submitted to the program director and organizational supervisor by the conclusion of each semester.
The learning contract should be a working document and will necessarily require updates and changes during the course of the internship. Any questions regarding the learning contract or the appropriateness of internship projects should be directed to the program director. A Learning Contract Template is available online on the MA NML website under Internships as well as on the following page.