Connecting classroom learning with real-world experience

AT THE PARKINSON SCHOOL OF HEALTH SCIENCES AND PUBLIC HEALTH, Experiential Learning is an essential part of our curriculum. By getting you out of the classroom and into a professional setting, you will learn to apply classroom lessons in real-world scenarios and develop hands-on skills that set Parkinson graduates apart in the healthcare workforce.

As part of a Jesuit institution, the Parkinson School is committed to health equity and offers academic internships and service-learning opportunities for students to work with underserved populations or in communities with higher needs. Our convenient location in the Chicago area provides access to 77 diverse neighborhoods as well as surrounding suburbs where you can explore and learn.

The Process

Interested in the healthcare industry? Or maybe you want to experience a community, corporate, or hospital environment? The Experiential Learning Office maintains relationships with a wide variety of sites across the region, offering a range of experiences from top area hospitals and healthcare systems to community health groups and non-profits.

For Undergraduate Students

Step 1
  • Confirm your program’s academic internship course (ie. Fall, Spring, Summer)
  • Confirm pre-requisites for course
  • Contact your academic advisor
  • Receive an email confirmation for your academic internship orientation (one semester prior to start of internship)
Step 2
  • Attend mandatory orientation
  • Attend Career Services’ resume and mock interview workshops (based on program requirements)
  • Bring a resume for review and approval
Step 3
  • Interview with a program faculty or staff member to begin the match process
  • Complete clinical requirements (Required for Exercise Science students; Only applicable for Healthcare Administration students within certain internship sites)
  • Enroll in Academic Internship Course (approval required based on program
Step 4
  • Learn where you matched at the Academic Internship Reveal Day!
  • Contact internship site for interview and wait for confirmation
  • Complete site onboarding as required by site before semester begins
Step 5
  • Start semester and internship
  • Follow all course internship requirements

For Graduate Students

For all programs except the Dietetic Internship, graduate students must find their own academic internship placements. They may seek assistance from the Director of Experiential Learning or a faculty member. Dietetic Internship sites are chosen by the Director of the Dietetic program.

Finding Your Own Internship

If you decide to find your own internship site, you will need approval from the Director of Experiential Learning and your program director to ensure the preceptor meets all requirements.

Upon approval of the academic internship, an Affiliation Agreement must be secured between Loyola, the Parkinson School, and the internship site before a student can start. If you have a new or existing employer who requires an Affiliation Agreement, please use this form to submit your request to the Director of Experiential Learning for review, approval, and signatures.

Programs and Courses

The Parkinson School offers two types of experiential learning courses: academic internships and service learning. Explore each program’s experiential learning opportunities:

In a service-learning course, students are asked to serve at least 20 hours in a community setting that connects meaningful experience with course content. Students are expected to complete assignments and reflections that demonstrate learning connections between the classroom and community.

Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Administration

Graduates of the Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Administration must complete a full semester academic internship during the spring semester of their senior year. The internship requires a minimum of 196 contact hours and ideally includes a small-scale project.

Download Loyola HCA internship information.

Examples of Healthcare Administration internship sites:

  • American Medical Association
  • Erie Family Health Center
  • Northwestern Medical Group
  • Loyola University Health Systems
  • Bear Necessities Pediatric Cancer Foundation


  • HSM 110, Healthcare in America (3 Credits, Service-Learning)
  • HSM 210, Introduction to Global Healthcare (3 Credits, Service-Learning)
  • HSM 220, Continuum of Healthcare Services (3 Credits, Service-Learning)
  • HSM 338, Healthcare Strategy and Marketing (3 Credits, Service-Learning)
  • HSM 360, Field Internship and HSM 350, Capstone (6 credits, Academic Internship)

Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science

Graduates of the Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science must complete a full semester academic internship during the fall or spring semester of their senior year. By completing an academic internship, students gain valuable experience to prepare them as an entry-level fitness professional. Academic internship sites range from hospitals and fitness centers to athletic programs in schools and long-term care facilities. The 120 or 200-hour practicum includes direct observation of exercise physiologists as well as supervised interaction with clients at a health care organization.

Download the flyer for BA Exercise Science Program.

Examples of Exercise Science Internship sites:

  • Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital
  • EFT Sports Performance
  • Northwest Community Hospital
  • TC Boost


  • EXCM 101, Introduction to Exercise Physiology (3 Credits, Service-Learning)
  • EXCM 395, Clinical Internship and Patient Management (4-6 credits depending on year)

Master of Public Health

Master of Public Health students must complete one Applied Practice Experience (APE) credit and two Integrated Learning Experience credits. These experiences provide students with practical experience in a public health setting and apply their skills and competencies.

Applied Practice Experience (1 CREDIT)

The APE must be 210 hours or more performed over one or more semesters. Students must apply five program competencies to their APE and produce at least two deliverables, which will become part of their portfolio.

Examples of APE sites:

  • MRSA Research Center
  • North Shore Mosquito Abatement District
  • Summer Field Research in Ghana
  • Health and Medicine Policy Research Group
  • American Cancer Society
  • American Diabetes Association
  • Chicago Department of Public Health
  • Mount Sinai Hospital.

Integrated Learning Experience (2 CREDITS)

The integrated learning experience is a student-led research project culminating with a presentation and written manuscript. The project should demonstrate the student’s ability to apply acquired skills and competencies to a public health problem that simulates a professional practice experience. Depending on their interests, some students may analyze data collected during their practicum to help complete their capstone.

  • MPBH 410 - MPH Practicum (1 credit)

Dietetic Internship

The Loyola Dietetic Internship offers two tracks: the Dietetic Internship Certificate track (DI/C) and Master of Science in Dietetics/Dietetic Internship (MS/DI). Both tracks require 1,200 hours of supervised practice. DI/C students can begin supervised practice the first semester after admission. MS/DI students can begin supervised practice after completing most of their graduate coursework.

Interns complete eight rotations during the program, which are part of FONU 423, 425, and 427. Interns are typically scheduled to complete eight hours of supervised practice per day, typically Monday through Friday, and should expect to be in supervised practice two to three weekend days per semester.


  • FONU 423: Supervised Practice in Medical Nutrition Therapy (offered fall and spring semesters; 2 credits)
  • FONU 425: Supervised Practice in Public Health Nutrition and Research (offered fall and spring semesters; 2 credits)
  • FONU 427: Supervised Practice in Food Management and Geriatric Nutrition (offered summer sessions; 1 credit)


  • FONU 410: Nutrition-Focused Physical Assessment (spring semester, 3 credits)
  • FONU 420: Orientation to Supervised Practice (one-week intensive "boot camp" first week of semester, 1 credit)

Scholarship Opportunities

For students enrolled in unpaid academic internships, there are scholarships to support your learning experience. Learn more about each scholarship’s requirements:

Interested in applying your skills to research? Learn more about opportunities to engage in meaningful projects alongside a Parkinson faculty mentor as part of the Loyola Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (LUROP).


For more information, Contact Director of Experiential Learning Cynthia P. Stewart, PhD.