WOMS 390: Internship in Women's Studies



Women’s Studies minors may take a one to three-credit internship course. The general requirements of the course are as follows:

  1.  Complete the Request for Internship in Women's Studies form. This form must be approved by the Women's Studies director a minimum of two weeks before classes begin. The director must approve the form before you may receive a permit and register for the course.

Placement in an agency: Students may seek experience in a variety of sponsoring agencies. The agency and the student’s project must focus on a significant aspect of women’s lives or women’s status in society. Students should be given opportunities to plan, organize, and lead program activities as well as to participate and observe work in the agency. The student’s supervisor at the agency will be asked to evaluate the student’s performance.

Classroom work: The student intern meets with a faculty supervisor in Women’s Studies to discuss required reading and written assignments, problems of field work, analysis of their work experience and the institutional setting, as well as other issues pertinent to their activities. This classroom work is part of their internship training.

Written requirements: Student interns prepare short papers, or a research paper, on selected aspects of their work and integrate their observation with relevant feminist theory. Papers are graded by the professor and returned to the students. Unacceptable work must be resubmitted.The agency placement is only one aspect of this three-credit course. The internship gives students the opportunity to acquire first hand experience under the supervision of professional personnel. Also, it provides the opportunity to combine feminist theory and analysis with practice in a concrete institutional setting. Agency supervisors have general responsibility for the intern but no specific job training is expected. We hope the student has an opportunity to observe many different aspects of work and to assume limited responsibility insofar as this is feasible in each agency setting. This experience is usually the student’s first exposure to a professional work setting and we encourage students and agency supervisors to openly discuss work-related problems during the course of the internship.


Junior or senior standing

WOMS 230 and 235; WOMS 432 strongly recommended

At least three courses completed toward the Women’s Studies minor.

Grading is on S/U basis

For more information, please contact:
Women’s Studies Program
Northern Illinois University
(815) 753-1038

Examples of Internship Opportunities:

Safe Passage, DeKalb*

Safe Passage is a local drop-in shelter that offers sheltering, counseling, and support for abuse victims and their families. Interns' duties can include: maintaining the crisis line, helping with children's support groups, clerical responsibilities (e.g., the newsletter), working with donations and fundraising, working an overnight shift when a scheduled staff member is unavailable, and helping with daily household duties. Safe Passage conducts required training for those interested in serving the crisis line (*NOTE: 60 hours of training is required; offered typically in the winter, spring &/or fall).

Victim Witness Assistance Program, Chicago

The Cook County State's Attorney's Office's Victim-Witness Assistance Unit was established to enhance prosecution by providing assistance and technical support to victims and witnesses of crime. Services to victims and witnesses are provided in all felony and preliminary hearing courts in Chicago (including juvenile delinquency courts) and all felony trial courts throughout suburban Cook County. In addition, specialized services are provided to disabled victims; victims of domestic violence; gang crimes; gay/lesbian victims; family and friends to homicide victims; senior victims; and victims of sexual assault (misdemeanor and felony). Victims specialists also assist victims with post-conviction cases, such as appeals and parole hearings.

Some of the services provided to victims and witnesses include: Courtroom reception, guidance, tours and advocacy

Information on the judicial system, criminal justice process, legal terminology, victim's rights and court procedures

Crisis intervention, assistance and service referrals

Courtroom reception, guidance, tours and advocacy

Assistance with preparation of Victim Impact Statements

Assistance with the return of property used as evidence

Contact by telephone and letter to assist in resolving case-related problems and to provide case status information

Arranging transportation to court, including ambulance and Medicare service

Training of court personnel and assistant state's attorneys on victim's issue

Referrals to crisis intervention and social services agencies, mental health programs, public aid, the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, rape victim treatment programs, shelters, civil legal assistance and compensation assistance programs

Presidential Commission on the Status of Women, NIU

The Northern Illinois University (NIU) Commission on the Status of Women is the primary channel by which advice is given to the university president on issues and concerns related to the status of women at NIU. The commission advises the president on research and actions needed to improve the situation for and status of women at NIU.

Activities sponsored by PCSW include:

Outstanding Women Student Awards, awarded to about 40 graduating women students annually

The annual Wilma D. Stricklin Award for the Enhancement of the Climate for Women on Campus

The annual Women Journalism Award

Forums for all NIU women, faculty, students, and staff

Women's History Month activities

Issues related to campus climate and quality of life for women

The recruitment and retention of female faculty and staff.

Governor's Commission on the Status of Women, Chicago

The Commission was charged to work with both the private and public sectors to study the issues surrounding women’s equity in Illinois, to examine ways to raise awareness of these issues, to develop collaborative public and private solutions and make recommendations to the Governor and the General Assembly. The Commission is currently working to implement recommendations by moving legislation forward and planning extensive outreach designed to "lift up the voices of women."

The Commission is organized into eight working groups. The working issue areas revolve around Balancing Work & Family, Education & Training, Employment & Pay Equity, Girls' Opportunities, Women's Health Issues, Violence Reduction, Welfare to Work and Women in Business & Entrepreneurship. The focus of the Working Groups is to develop strategies to facilitate the implementation of the established recommendations and to refine and identify issues for future recommendations.

Women's Cancer Awareness Group

The Women’s Cancer Awareness Group is a national non-profit organization working to increase awareness about cancers affecting primarily and specifically women. Interns help with the following:

Developing brochures

Working on educational plans

Staffing outreach events

Web research

Working with public relations departments of major pharmaceutical and health care organizations

Interns should possess the following qualifications:

Web usage experience

Word processing

Excellent writing skills

Public speaking skills

The hours are very flexible and most of the work can be done on campus. You will be required to attend one meeting every two weeks. This is an excellent opportunity for anyone interested in public relations, women’s health issues or research, and/or health care. Because the hours are flexible, it is also an excellent opportunity for students with a difficult schedule.