College of Education and Human Development

Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development

Human resource development internship (OLPD 5696)

in Organizational Leadership, Policy and Development For MA, MEd and certificate students in HRD and Adult Education

The purpose of the graduate internship is to provide students an opportunity to engage in real-life human resource development (HRD) experiences under the supervision of HRD practitioners from industry, (for-profit or not-for-profit business), education, consulting, and government. While the internship may be job related and conducted at the student's place of employment, the activities should be above and beyond normal job responsibilities. Students are encouraged to limit activities to those that can be achieved within a semester (Four credits = 180 hours of work). HRD activities include training and development, organization development, career planning & development, and adult education/learning. Some Adult Education majors prefer a field experience (OLPD 5296-001).

Advising Direction

Most graduate advisors recommend a 3-semester sequence as follows:

  1. First semester, define the project, meet with the coordinator, get a completed contract for your proposed internship project and decide when you will register for internship credits (OLPD 5696-001);
  2. Second semester, do the work of the internship;
  3. Third semester, complete the written document including the "Theory to Practice" paper along with other written requirements.


    1. Each HRD and Adult Education major requires four (4) credits of internship. That means:
      1. 4 credits = the degree requirement
      2. One internship credit=45 hours of work
      3. Four credits=180 hour internship
      4. Six (6) internship credits may apply toward your degree, where two of the credits would be used as elective credits and the other four (4) credits meet the internship requirement.
      5. Guideline: 160 hours of internship work and 20 hours to document the internship experience.
    2. Your project must be predominantly HRD (Organization Development, Training and Development, Adult Education, Career Planning), although there may be some minor HRM requirements; do not list the HRM duties (if any) on the contract. The itemized steps must represent a foundational theory or models such as the ADDIE for training or an OD model that can be referenced (e.g. action research, Kotter change model, DMAIC, appreciative inquiry etc).
    3. Talk with your advisor about the best time for you to register. Generally, you would begin your internship toward the end of your program, but there may be reasons to engage in this opportunity sooner.
    4. Secure an interview with a potential internship site, and discuss the nature of the internship, including specific responsibilities and expectations.
    5. Prepare a tentative contract based on that interview.
    6. Submit (via email or discussion) the contract to the Faculty Coordinator listed above for approval.
      1. If no changes are needed, the contract will be signed and returned to you. Sign it and obtain the signature of your site supervisor; then return it with all three signatures to the Faculty Coordinator.
      2. If a revision is necessary, you will need to reach an agreement with the Faculty Coordinator, and re-write the contract before it will be signed. Then sign it, obtain the signature of your site supervisor, and return it with all three signatures to the Faculty Coordinator.
      3. Note: Be aware that your internship is not valid until approved and signed by the Faculty Coordinator; thus beginning an internship prior to approval could be costly in terms of your time. The contract must be approved no later than two weeks after you have begun your internship hours.
      4. Note: It is imperative that you submit a contract signed by all three parties in your final product; failure to do so could render the internship invalid.
    7. Fulfill the requirements listed on the internship contract.
    8. Secure a letter of evaluation from your site supervisor.
    9. Submit the final product (outlined below).

    Internship examples

    There are many types of activities that could work as an internship. An internship may be a training activity where you are responsible for a needs assessment, training design or the delivery of training for an organization. You may be asked to participate in a change activity in an organization utilizing an action research method, the Kotter method, a positive approach or a proprietary method of the organization. Internship sites may be departments at the university, local corporations, not-for-profit organizations, NGO’s and may be located in the Twin Cities or internationally. When students have significant background in human resource type leadership, it is recommended that a service learning activity is undertaken instead of an internship. Besides training, some of the projects include:

    • Updating/creating policy manuals/web sites
    • Developing safety manuals/web sites
    • Update a workforce diversity & inclusion document/web site
    • Analyze a work process and recommend changes
    • Developing surveys or interview guides
    • Work on a special project of the organization that is HRD related
    • Develop/facilitate a focus group activity
    • Develop or assist in the development/update of performance appraisal (e.g. Onboarding to succession planning)
    • Assist the organization or leaders with goal setting process
    • Support an employee involvement program
    • Organize an employee feedback session
    • Assist in the development of mission/vision/action plans as part of strategic planning. This may also include the use of environmental scanning, SWOT or PEST reviews
    • Organize a team building activity
    • Assist in the development of work design /job description and/or recruiting activity
    • Coordinate project plans and work plans for an organization or project
    • Develop a mentoring program or career planning program
    • Develop or assist in the development of a work wellness program
    • Support the activities of a merger or acquisition project
    • Assist with a corporate giving campaign or philanthropic work of the organization
    • Assist with the development of an organizational quality initiative (e.g. six sigma/lean/Kaizen)
    • Assist in the development and/or implementation of employee engagement process
    • Service learning activities may be selected from any of the above, but in this case the skilled student would be helping an organization that would not otherwise be able to afford such expertise.

    Final product

    In a 3-ring binder or single PDF submitted via Moodle (preferred mode) with an identifying file name or label on the cover or side; the “Binder” label that includes the following:

    • Your name
    • The date, semester, and year you registered for the internship
    • The name of the internship organization

    The first page inside the cover should be a Table of Contents; use Tabs for each section, labeled as follows:

    1. Internship Contract signed by all three parties
    2. Letter of Evaluation (signed and on letterhead) from your site supervisor (see Factsheet for Site Supervisor (Page 4)
    3. Theory-to-Practice Paper:
      1. Specs: 5-pages + reference page; 12-point Times Roman font; 1½ spacing; 1" margins
      2. Cover Page: Name, current date, semester registered, number of credits
      3. Project: Name of company; general description of the project; purpose/objectives
      4. Process: What you did and what foundational theories of adult education and/or human resource development guided your project and how they were used; include citations; address each step listed on your contract
      5. Outcome: Results of evaluation and assessment of the project; extent to which objectives were achieved
      6. Conclusions: What you might have done differently, next steps, future applications
      7. References: in APA format
    4. Time Log of time spent on specific activities (round up to the nearest ½ hour); be sure you keep track of activities according to categories noted in the internship contract and be sure the total time is appropriate for the number of credits.
    5. Appendices detailing the products or processes you developed. If there are several, include an additional Table of Contents identifying each product or process. If necessary, use a pseudonym for names, confidential information, or proprietary materials (see the Faculty Coordinator listed on this page if the organization has other requirements regarding confidentiality).

    You will be notified by email when your project has been evaluated.

    Note: If you send a hardcopy “Binder” You may pick it up from Burton Hall 204 within one full semester following completion. If you choose not to pick it up, the contents will then be shredded.


    S/N only. Check with your internship instructor to identify the last date on which you may turn in your final product in order to have a grade submitted for the semester—this date is usually the last day of classes in a semester. If you are completing in the semester you registered, the last date is posted on the Moodle site. Projects submitted after the designated date will receive an "Incomplete" ("I") and will be evaluated and graded in the following semester. A grade (replacing “Incomplete") will be posted within a two weeks of the time the submission is evaluated.

    Overview and fact sheet for supervisors

    Download a document here with this overview along with a fact sheet for supervisors, contract with examples, and time log with examples.


    Lou Quast, Faculty Coordinator: