Exposure to the practice of Student Development Administration through an on-site internship in a student development office in post-secondary institutions. Three one-credit (100-hour) internships are required for a master's degree in Student Development Administration.

Internships are short term, part-time opportunities where students work at an institution in a supervised position. Students are expected to work as professional, and to receive the training and supervision necessary to be successful in the position.

Students are eligible to begin their internships after they have completed the following courses:

SDAD 5300: Foundations of the Student Affairs Profession
SDAD 5400: Principles of Student Development Administration


  • To provide qualified students with practical experience in the day-to-day administration and operation of one or more areas of student affairs administration
  • To enable students to carry out responsibilities requiring the use of administrative skills, under the guidance and leadership of their supervising administrators
  • To encourage practicing administrators to take an active role in the preparation of future college administrators
  • To allow students to explore different areas of student affairs
  • To stimulate students to analyze their interests and abilities as they relate to different student development areas
  • To sensitize future administrators to the need for creative leadership in all types and levels of student affairs positions.

Nature of the Internship

At this point in the program, two distinct "types" of internship experiences have emerged. The first is the "established" internship. This internship has been established by the site supervisor in response to a need in that office for additional support, which can be filled by a graduate student. This ongoing internship is often known to students in the program as one that is available on a regular basis. Students usually hear about these internships by word-of- mouth or through postings.

The other type of internship is the "created" internship. This internship comes as a result of a student wanting to do an internship at a particular type of institution, or with a particular internship supervisor, or on a specific issue. The student will approach the institution with some idea of what he or she would like to accomplish, then work with the site supervisor to establish some goals for the internship.

In either case, the objectives of the internship are the same. The student is encouraged to come to the initial meeting with the site supervisor with some ideas for the internship and then to develop a work plan.

Internship placements are available at selected universities, colleges and community colleges in the Puget Sound area. The university coordinator or fellow SDA students may be able to provide you with ideas for internship sites.

On occasion, internships may also be arranged outside of the local area, provided that all of the internship responsibilities can be completed satisfactorily.

Site Selection

The internship site is cooperatively selected by the student, personnel in the sponsoring organization, and the university coordinator. Students are encouraged to complete several informational interviews at different sites before they settle on an internship site. This is meant to insure that the student finds the correct "fit" with the institution and the site supervisor.

Tips to keep in mind when conducting an informational interview:

  • When arranging a meeting time, explain clearly who you are and the purpose of the meeting.
  • Ask for only 30 minutes of time--these are busy individuals.
  • Think about questions that you will ask ahead of time and write them down.
  • Be specific about the type of internship you're looking for.
  • When the interview is finished, write a thank-you note, regardless of whether you will be doing the internship there or not.

Program brochures and copies of the supervisor handbook are available for you to take to discuss with interested supervisors. They may be obtained from the master's program office in Loyola.

When selecting an internship site, consider the following:

  • Your course load for that particular quarter. Will you have the time you need to devote to the internship?
  • Work or other responsibilities that you might have during the quarter.
  • What that particular site will be like at that time of year. For example, if student contact is important to you, is summer the best time for your internship? Would fall be the best time to do an internship in financial aid, or would they have more time for you at another time of year?
  • The size and type of office you are considering. Will they have space for you to work in? Will you get the kind of supervision that you need?

The internship site should provide:

  • Opportunity for student growth in identified areas
  • Professional work experience in student affairs
  • Supervisory feedback about student progress, achievement, and areas needing improvement
  • Opportunity for a minimum of 100 hours of participation per credit hour. It is recommended that each student spend between two and three half-days per week on their internship.

Once the internship site is selected, the student should complete Part 1 of the Application and Approval Form and give to the site supervisor for completion. The site supervisor should obtain the signature of the appropriate dean, director, or vice president (if necessary). Once it is signed, return the form to the university coordinator. Final approval of the site will rest with the university coordinator as shown by signature on the Work Plan.

Competency Analysis

Students should begin planning for the internship experience by analyzing their current competencies. You will need to decide which competencies are a priority and which ones can be addressed through the internship experience. Because each internship has a limited time frame, plan to work on only a few competencies. The selected competencies should be identified on the Internship Work Plan.

Examples of competencies that can be addressed in the internships:

  • Time management/organization skills
  • Presentation/public speaking skills
  • Knowledge of budgets
  • Problem solving
  • Networking
  • Working with faculty
  • One-on-one work with students
  • Grant/report writing
  • Running meetings
  • Computer skills
  • Knowledge of technology
  • Research skills
  • Program/event planning

The list of competencies is included to help you in your planning. Other competencies which are not listed above might be more applicable to a particular internship experience.


The student is responsible for initiating, planning, carrying out, and evaluating the internship experience as outlined on the Student Responsibility Checklist. The student will work cooperatively with the site supervisor and the university coordinator in all phases of the internship.

The site supervisor provides an opportunity for the student to participate in organizational activities, monitors student performance, and evaluates student accomplishments as outlined on the Site Supervisor Checklist. The site supervisor should notify the university coordinator immediately if the student fails to perform internship responsibilities.

The university coordinator provides institutional support and maintains approval authority for all plans, activities, and reports. The university coordinator also provides feedback on student journals, conducts at least one site visit for each internship, and coordinates the internship seminar program. The university coordinator can assist, as needed, with site identification and work plan development.

On-the-Job Activities

Each student's administrative experience will be different. It will be jointly designed by the student, the supervising administrator, and the university coordinator. Each experience, however, should include the following:

  • Observation of the supervising administrator in a variety of settings
  • Assumption by the student of at least one responsibility for which the student will have primary responsibility
  • Dialogue between the student and the supervising administrator about:
    • the student's work 
    • the interaction between that office and other university agencies 
    • current issues in that specialization of student affairs
    • ethical principles and dilemmas
    • professional standards
    • career possibilities in the specialization locally and nationally  

The student should also be encouraged to visit and observe practicing administrators in other positions and at other levels in the organization.

Credit and Grading

Internships are graded "CR" (satisfactory) or "N/S" (not satisfactory) upon completion of all requirements. If internship requirements are not completed at the end of a grading period, students will be given an "N" grade. This flexibility allows students to begin and end internships at a variety of times. The "N" grade must be replaced by a "CR" grade to receive credit for the internship. Students who receive "N" grades are responsible for submitting the proper form to the university coordinator to remove these grades. There is a one-year period in which to remove "N" grades.

In order to receive an "CR" grade, or to remove an "N" grade, students should submit the following to the university coordinator:

  • completed journal(s)
  • internship analysis (to university coordinator)
  • internship evaluation (to supervisor)

Additionally, the site visit and all projects must be must be completed. Students completing internships are encouraged to develop a portfolio of their work in the internship. Samples from students who have completed internships are available for review.

Work Plan

The Internship Work Plan form should be completed after the Competency Analysis, the Application and Approval Form, and the meeting with the site supervisor are completed.

The function of the Work Plan is to provide an outline of the major projects students plan to complete during the internship. Students should begin by identifying an objective-- a statement of intent about the action they will undertake during the internship. Identify the competencies which will be improved while working on each objective.

For each objective, identify the tasks, the participants, the resources, and the projected timeline. Use a separate copy of the form for each objective. Students should identify at least two objectives for the internship, but probably not more than five because of time limitations. Each form must be signed by the student, the site supervisor, and the university coordinator.

Weekly Journal

A minimum of once per week, students should make an entry in a journal to be kept specifically for the internship. This should be a "reflective" journal which documents activities and accomplishments, as well as any struggles or dilemmas students are facing. This journal should be turned in to the university coordinator every two weeks (weekly for summer internships) for comment. This journal need not be shared with site supervisors.

Evaluation With Site Supervisor

Near the end of the internship experience, the student and the site supervisor should meet to conduct an evaluation of the student's work and of the internship. The student should initiate this meeting, but the site supervisor should feel free to do so if the student does not.

The meeting should focus on the evaluation of the student's performance of the on-the-job activities agreed to before the beginning of the internship. The student should come to the meeting with a written evaluation of the experience to share. This evaluation will typically be 2-3 typed pages, and include suggestions for other students interested in undertaking a comparable internship at this site.

All work due by the student should be turned in to the site supervisor prior to this meeting in order to enable the supervisor to evaluate the student's work performance. A written evaluation should be completed by the site supervisor and given to the student, with a copy to the university coordinator.

Site Visit by University Coordinator

At some point during the internship, the university coordinator will visit the internship site and meet with the student and the internship supervisor. The purpose of this meeting is for the university coordinator to see your work site, meet with your supervisor, discuss what you've learned during the internship, and answer any questions that your supervisor might have.

The student should take the initiative to plan a time for the site visit with the university coordinator and his or her site supervisor. It is helpful to ask if the university coordinator needs directions to the site, assistance with parking, or other details.


All students participating in the internship program each quarter are required to attend monthly seminars to discuss the internship assignments. The seminars may meet more regularly during the summer. All seminars must incorporate at least one form of instructional technology.

The purpose of the seminars is to share your experience at that site with your fellow students. The analysis questions listed below may be helpful in planning your seminar talk. The most effective seminars are those that include information about the projects you've done, as well as your experience on that campus, and any struggles or accomplishments from your internship. Also think about what you've learned as well as what you've done.

You are encouraged to invite your site supervisor to the seminar. Although the seminars are not graded, a thoughtful, well-organized, professional presentation is expected. Careful presentation ensures that you will be able to get your points across more effectively, which adds to the enjoyment and understanding of your fellow students and any site supervisors who might be present. Plan to attend all seminars for that particular quarter as a professional courtesy to your peers.

Internship Analysis

At the conclusion of the internship, students should analyze their experience. Use the following open-ended statements to guide the analysis. Each student should think about their contributions, their gains, and their need for further study or experience. This analysis need not be shared with site supervisors, but will be reviewed by the university supervisor. Be sure to sign and date the analysis.


  • The setting of my internship was good because...
  • The setting of my internship was limited by...
  • My initial analysis of the organization was...

Site Supervision

  • What I really appreciated about my supervisor was...
  • Her/his best qualities include...
  • The level of supervision provided was...

Organizational Staff Responsibilities

  • The staff time is primarily spent...
  • Skills critical to staff success include...
  • Staff managed their work load by...
  • Team work was especially important when...

Self Assessment

  • Something important I learned from this experience is...
  • I contributed most by...
  • I still need to improve my skills in the area(s) of...
  • If I were to repeat this experience, I would...


  • Future interns should...
  • The university or university coordinator should...
  • The intern seminars...

Sample Timeline

Although each internship is unique, the following timeline is intended as a guide to illustrate when and how internship tasks are completed.

6-8 weeks before internship:

Student approaches site supervisor for informational interview

  • Site supervisor and student agree upon a mutually acceptable internship
  • Internship beginning and ending dates are discussed.

1-2 weeks before internship:

  • Student and site supervisor complete and sign Internship Application and Approval Form.
  • Student completes Work Plan, submits to supervisor for signature.
  • Student submits all paperwork to university coordinator for approval.

Internship, week 1:

  • Student and site supervisor meet to discuss workspace, goals, work hours, office norms and culture, appropriate attire, etc.
  • Student begins to meet office staff.
  • Student begins organizing projects.
  • Student makes weekly entry into internship journal.

Internship, weeks 2-10:

  • Student works on projects, updating supervisor periodically.
  • Weekly meeting between student and site supervisor to discuss internship.
  • Student makes weekly entry into internship journal.

Internship, week 6:

  • Student coordinates site visit with site supervisor and university coordinator.

Internship, week 7:

  • Student invites site supervisor to internship seminar.

Internship, week 8:

  • Site supervisor attends internship seminar with student.

Internship, week 10:

  • Student completes all projects.
  • Student completes internship analysis.
  • Student meets with site supervisor for evaluation of internship.
  • Site supervisor evaluates student's performance in writing.
  • Site supervisor writes letter for student's portfolio.
  • University coordinator submits grade (students who will not finish their internship by the end of the quarter should request an "N" grade)
  • Student writes thank-you letters to those responsible for internship.