Course Overview

Course Objectives

HDFS 450 is a supervised learning experience that places students in community agencies or institutions where they can work with children, adolescents, adults, or families. HDFS 450 is designed to provide:

  • Professional-level experience in an agency or organization that corresponds with a student’s career interest;
  • An opportunity for students to apply the theory, content and skills they have learned in their coursework to “real world” situations;
  • An opportunity for students to develop new knowledge, attitudes, and skills; and
  • A system of support that facilitates successful and satisfying internship experiences and prepares students for the world of work or further education.

Students can choose from a catalog of placement sites that have previously hosted interns, or find their own potential site (which will need to be approved by the course instructor).


Students must be HDFS majors in good standing, junior, senior or graduate level.  Transfer students must have completed at least HDFS 105 (Introduction to Human Development) and 120 (Introduction to Family Studies). Students must apply for the practicum and interview with the course instructor to obtain consent to register for the course. HDFS 450 is not available to students on probation. Some practicum placements may require specific course work or practical experience (e.g. HDFS 105, HDFS 120, HDFS 220, HDFS 425, etc.).

Credit Hours

    • Flexible registration, 4-6 credit hours. The amount of credit to be received for HDFS 450 is negotiated with a student’s adviser and course instructor.
    • For all placements, students work between 10 and 20 hours per week during the 15 weeks of a semester and receive 4-6 hours of credit.

4 credits: 10-12 hours/week for 15 weeks = 150 – 180 hours total
5 credits: 13-15 hours/week for 15 weeks = 195 – 225 hours total
6 credits: 18-20 hours/week for 15 weeks = 240 – 270 hours total

  • In addition to work at the placement site, there is a mandatory weekly seminar (1.75 hrs/week) where students will be responsible for completing readings and assignments, as well as a semester project.
  • At the undergraduate level, up to 6 hours of HDFS 450 credit may be applied to the total of HDFS course credits required for graduation. Only 4 credit hours of HDFS 450 may be applied to the total required for a graduate degree.

Course Requirements and Grading

  1. Students will fulfill the obligations specified in the Learning Contract, which includes working at the placement site for the designated number of hours determined by the number of credits registered. Students will also be required to complete a semester project that will be developed by the student and site supervisor, and approved by the course instructor.
  2. Students must participate in weekly seminars held on Wednesdays 3:00-4:50 p.m. Students will complete readings, short journal reflections, a class presentation on their practicum site and a final poster or video presentation. Details will be listed in the course syllabus and discussed in class.
  3. Students will be assigned a grade by the course instructor who takes into consideration the site supervisor’s evaluation comments and recommendation for grade, seminar participation, and completion of assignments. The course syllabus will describe the specific course requirements and grading policies.

Securing a Site Placement

(see the How to Register page for forms and deadlines)

  1. Attend the HDFS Information Night and look at the information on the HDFS 450 website. Check out the Placement Site Catalog and identify 2 or 3 possible sites you might be interested in.
  2. Complete an Application Form, along with a resume and draft cover letter to one of the placement choices that outlines your career goals, and email them to the course instructor.
  3. Make an appointment for an interview with the course instructor. During the interview, the student will discuss their interests and career goals, the possible placements, and get feedback on their cover letter and resume. The student will then get permission to contact the agency to find out more details about the placement and schedule a formal interview with site supervisor(s) where he or she is interested in working.
  4. The student should submit a cover letter and resume to the placement site to request an interview. At the interview the student should be prepared to (a) describe the interest, skills and knowledge that would make them a good candidate for a placement, and (b) find out more about the agencies expectations.
  5. If the student is accepted at the placement site and the student accepts the placement, the student should complete a Placement Interview Form and get the supervisor’s signature. The Form outlines a basic agreement on the types of duties or responsibilities the student can expect, start and end dates, and the number of hours they will be working at the site.
  6. Once you are accepted, schedule a follow-up appointment with the instructor in order to get approval to register for the course.

For More Information

Dr. Aaron Ebata