Nutrition students complete field experience in various locations, including UMass, Western Massachusetts, hometowns, and abroad. Students can benefit in many ways from exposure to and experience in the field. These experiences can be on or off campus as one-time volunteer event or by participating in or organizing a program, through mentorship or shadowing a professional, via participation in a research project or through development or implementation of a community service or outreach project. Some of these can be used for credit and others are purely volunteer. We try to connect students with nutrition professionals looking for help but we encourage all of our students to investigate possible field experiences on their own.
Field Experience At a Glance
When Should I Do Field Experience?
Field experience can occur either during the regular semester or over the summer. Experiences in the workplace requires early planning as you will need to arrange for permissions, and depending on the site, HIPPA (health information privacy and protection act), CORI check, training etc. Please think about the following when you are deciding about field experience:
- Undergraduate internships/Field experience completed during the school year for credit are part of your regular tuition (see independent study below).
- Undergraduate internships/Field work that you complete over the summer and wish to receive credit for must be paid for separately, through Continuing and Professional Education. Financial aid may be possible. Check with the Financial Aid Office by clicking here. To receive credit, you need to fill out an additional form from CPE that the Undergraduate Program Director or Advisor must sign. (Cost in 2013 was $195 per credit).
- If you are not looking to receive credit, you can sign up for Field Experience on your own. Even if you do not receive academic credit, it will strengthen your resume and understanding of the field. Many of our students do this.
How Do I Find An Internship/Field Experience?
- Available positions are posted on the Nutrition Department's Career Opportunities page.
- The Workforce Development pages on the SPHHS website are regularly updated with internships and other field experience, please check frequently.
- Career Services has a great deal of information to help you search for and secure positions.
- Find your own (especially good if you are looking for one over the summer in your hometown). Ask parents, family members, and friends of family if they know of any opportunities. Research local hospitals, social service organizations, schools etc. View the Field Experience Contacts in the "Downloads" section of this page for examples and other ideas.
Students who want to work in the field or complete in-depth independent work in a particular area should contact a faculty member to see if there is any opportunity within the Department of Nutrition for research or other independent work. Sometimes a faculty member can help a student find work off-campus with a preceptor. The faculty sponsor will make sure that the student has established objectives for meaningful learning and criteria for success/evaluation as to what they will be accomplishing for the semester.
Freshmen usually register for NUTRITN 196, Sophomores for NUTRITN 296, Juniors for NUTRITN 396 and Seniors for NUTRITN 496. Each credit is 40 hours of work, per semester, in the field or on a study - approximately 3 hours per week of work for the semester is 1 credit. The project could be research, nutrition education, or service.
The faculty sponsor should meet with the student a few times over the semester to make sure they are progressing in their independent study. Faculty sponsors assign a grade; therefore it is important to make sure there are clear guidelines for the independent study and its assessment. If the student is working on a project with a faculty sponsor, they should be supervised on a weekly basis.
You can download the Independent Study Application Form here.
Community Service Learning
- - IMPACT!- Residential Academic Program (RAP) for Incoming Students
- - Citizen Scholars Program
- - Boltwood Project
- - Certificate in Civic Engagement and Public Service
- - UMass Alliance for Community Transformation (UACT)
- - CESL Student Leaders
Highlighted Program: Citizen Scholars Program
One remarkable program offered through CESL is the Citizen Scholars Program, which is a two-year, academic service-learning program that links real-life experience to academic coursework. This course sequence is a great way to fulfill public health requirements. Please see the courses below that we will accept for our major:
- 1. The Good Society - can be used toward the lower level collateral field or the foundation section 2 requirement on the social science track
- 2. Tools for Democratic Change - can be used toward the upper level collateral field
- 3. Public Policy & Citizen Action* - can be used toward 300-599 Public Health Elective
- 4. Organizing: People, Power, and Change* - can be used toward 300-599 Public Health Elective