You might know exactly what type of sport and recreation career you want to build. Or you may want to poke around and see what's a good fit with your interests and goals.

Either way, working an internship–through what we call an independent field experience–will help you build your industry knowledge, gain professional experience, enhance your resume, and make you stand out among your peers on the job market.

The independent or self-initiated field experience is an agreement between you and an approved sport, recreation, or leisure-focused organization of your choice. Our Office of Field Experience is here to assist you in identifying and qualifying opportunities.

Review internships that meet our criteria or propose your own independent field experience, by reaching out:

Portrait of Anna Jensen

Anna Jensen

Director of Office of Field Experience

Important details about independent field experiences

  • You must meet with the director of the Office of Field Experience prior to registration. This is to ensure the organization and anticipated experience meet all necessary requirements for credit. Plans for field experience sometimes take several semesters—so don't put this off!
  • You can earn one to nine credits during each field experience engagement. The number of semester hour credits are based on the number of field hours spent with the organization. (1 semester hour = 45 field hours.)
  • Your field experience credits must be earned during the term in which they're registered. For example, if you register for summer semester credit, you must work primarily during May to August.
  • You'll register for independent field experience credit during your normal class registration—but only after approval from the Office of Field Experience.
  • When you register, you'll identify the number of credits you'll receive based on the anticipated number of work hours over the semester. (1 semester hour = 45 field hours)
  • Your independent field course is a graded course with regular assignments, site visits, and supervisor evaluations.
  • It is your responsibility to make contact and arrangements directly with the partnering organization, as well as to meet with the Office of Field Experience.
  • This is a great resource for anyone working or interested in an internship, provided by the UI Pomerantz Career Center: Student Internship Handbook

Please feel free to email our Office of Field Experience with questions, to have a job description reviewed, or for other matters related to an independent field experience.


You must complete paperwork, including:

  • Experience goal setting and learning outcomes
  • Explanation of field experience opportunities
  • Field experience/work evaluations
  • Periodic meetings with the UI field experience coordinator
  • Guided reflections regarding the experience
  • A final report and self-evaluation

That depends on the number of field experience hours you’ll be working. 45 field experience hours = 1 semester hour of credit.

A student working 45 hours with a team, league office, or agency could earn 1 semester hour of field experience credit. 405 hours are required to earn 9 s.h.

You do not have to register credit for all hours worked, however. Students will often work many more hours than the minimum required for credit.

Yes, the students can be paid a stipend or an hourly wage. It is important to remember, however, that it is common in the industry for internship experiences to be on a volunteer, unpaid basis.

That depends on when you are reading this! If the semester registration deadline has already passed, you cannot retroactively earn credits. You can register for credit in the following semester, provided the experience is also ongoing and you have not already earned credit for experience with the same organization. 

When looking through positions to which you'd like to apply, consider which of your SRM coursework you'd draw on to complete the job duties. If you can't think of any, the likelihood of the position counting for credit is probably low.

The best way to determine if something rises to the level of credit is to have the job description or list of responsibilities reviewed by the Office of Field Experience. Remember, "Coffee & copies, even for the Cubs, doesn't earn credit!"