Internships & Service-Learning

Experiential leaning opportunities, internships and services learning are fieldwork experiences that bring theory and classroom learning to life.

Internships and service learning are critical components of the Family and Human Services major.   A continuum of field experiences offered throughout the program provides opportunities for students to enhance their understanding of course content, develop professional skills, and apply knowledge in the field.

The Department of Family Studies and Community Development offer a choice of two experiential components within the Family and Human Services major, although students have the option to complete both.  The first option is FMST 250: Intro to the Non-Profit Sector paired with FMST 387: Community Services for Families.  FMST 387 focuses on service learning through program development.  Students participate directly with community organizations and agencies. 

The second option is FMST 297: Preparing Human Services Workers: pre internship paired with FMST 397: Internshiip in Family and Human Services.  In FMST 397,  Family and Human services work in a variety of settings depending their interests.  Internships occur in off-campus public and private agencies, including but not limited to, community schools, day-care centers for children or adults, child abuse centers, family support centers, agencies for the disabled, and various mental health or healthcare facilities.

Family studies student intern

Purpose of Experiential Learning

Starting with the 2021-2022 catalog year, Family and Human Services majors will select which experiential path they would like to complete.  Students will be able to select the FMST 250 - FMST 387 sequential experiential coursework. of FMST 297 - FMST 397.

Service Learning:  The purpose of service learning is to provide students an opportunity to participate in a community service project within an organzation.  Students will be assigned to a group of 3-5 members who will be required to complete 30-35 hours at a site identified by their instructor.   Focused assignments including a needs assessment, action plan and reflection activities are integral components of service learning.  FMST 250 is a pre-requisite for FMST 387.

InternshipThe purpose of internship is to provide students with an opportunity to transfer classroom knowledge to practice by completing 120 hours at an organization that they select.  Class and internship assignments align with the individual learning goals developed by the student which also support their role and responsiblities as designated by the site supervisor.  FMST 297 is a pre-requisite for FMST 397.

Students on the Intro to Child Life track will be required to complete FMST 297 & FMST 397 for their experiential learning and may also take FMST 250 and FMST 387 if they want additional field based experience.

When Do Students Take Fieldwork Courses?

Student take FMST 297 when they have junior standing and have accumulated 15 units in FMST (FMST 101 excluded).  Then they take FMST 397 -- the semester directly after FMST 297.

Students who began in 2020-2021 and choose to complete FMST 387, will need to first successfully complete FMST 250.  The pre-requisites for FMST 250 are FMST 101 FMST 102 and ENGL 102.

Where Do Students Complete Their Fieldwork?

Examples of recent placements include -- sample internship site list.

Why Is Fieldwork Experience So Important?

Service learning is an experience that moves students beyond the classroom.  Ideally, they become active participants in their learning, while fulfilling a need within a community organization through developing  and implementing initiatives for positive change.  Students engage in reflection activities to deepen their understanding to enrich the learning experience.  They will also learn about the pioneers in Family Studies and related disciplines who fostered the idea of community engagement, explored and addressed social injustices and the lack of resources available to marginalized communities. 

Internship is an experience that offers opportunity for professional learning and development by learning and utilizing new skills to explore potential career paths in a hands-on way.  Students are evaluated by their site supervisor and receive real time feedback about their strengths and areas of growth.  In this experience, students begin to develop their professional identify.

Students should be thoughtful about which experience wnat to have and discuss both option with their Family Studies advisor.

gisela intern


FMST 387: Community Services for Families

"My service-learning site was at Soccer Without Borders in Baltimore, Maryland. I was an academic coach tutoring middle school students who are refugees or immigrants from many different countries around the world. I was able to connect a lot of aspects of it back to what we had learned in class. For example, in one class we talked about cultural competency and how the clients we work with as human service professionals may come from different backgrounds, but it is important to understand and respect their culture. Working with children from many different parts of the world, I was able to connect with each of them in different ways."

Internship Placement Sites

There are about 80 approved internship sites (see sample list - sample internship site list) for undergraduate students majoring in family and human services. Students in the introduction to child life track must choose from the sites specific to this program.

We collaborate with nonprofit organizations, schools, hospitals, and government entities from across the Central Maryland Region to provide our students with meaningful and rigorous internship experiences.