Practicum & Career Courses

As an iSchool student, you'll gain valuable work experience that contributes to your long-term success. Our courses provide you with opportunities for self-assessment, career exploration, internship experiences, job search readiness, and career management.

Our credit-earning internship course, Practicum, is available at both the undergraduate (IS 249) and graduate (IS 549) levels. While not required, Practicum is strongly recommended. After completing foundational coursework, you'll engage in 100 hours of onsite work under the supervision of an information professional. Along the way, you’ll obtain guidance from our practicum coordinator, Rebecca Hodson. 

Both practicum and our noncredit career courses provide valuable knowledge, skills, and connections to give you a competitive edge in the job market. There is no better way to explore your career path and prepare for your future than to get practical experience.

Jose Ramos

My advice for students who are interested in a practicum is to find companies and work that interests them and apply to those positions. Sometimes students are under the impression that they are unqualified for a role, but from my internship experience, I have learned that the most important part of being an intern is the willingness to learn and grow. That is why these internship positions exist, as they are means for us to continue learning and get meaningful real-world experience.

Jose Ramos, BS/IS student who completed his practicum at JPMorgan Chase

Tailor your experience

Through practicum, you will gain expertise in your area of professional interest. Our practicum coordinator will work one-on-one with you to tailor your experience. Internships can be paid or unpaid, carried out in person and virtually, and completed in one semester or spread out over two semesters. Examples of typical work include but are not limited to:

  • Data analytics projects
  • Reference/technology assistance through chat, email, or in person
  • Programming assistance—workshops, events, exhibits, etc.
  • Information literacy and instructional support for libraries
  • Preservation and archival work
  • Research related to exhibits and collections
  • Metadata and database work
  • Assisting with digital collections, updating LibGuides
  • Website support, creation of blogs and other digital content  
  • Assessment and evaluation projects, writing grants
  • UI/UX research
Cayden Boyer

My current internship is in human resources at Caterpillar, which aligns very well with my interest in corporate policy. They have given me projects related to my interests, a lot of which include creating and distributing surveys and strategizing methods of process improvement.

Cayden Boyer, BS/IS student

Explore your opportunities

Students have the opportunity to work with a variety of employers, including corporate and government settings as well as libraries, museums, and nonprofits. The iSchool can suggest a placement, or you can propose one of your own based on your career interests.

  • Airbnb
  • Amazon
  • Baseball Hall of Fame
  • Deloitte
  • Federal Reserve Board
  • Innovation, Discovery, Design, & Data Lab (IDEA Lab)
  • Library of Congress
  • National Center for Supercomputing Applications
  • Newbery Library
  • PayPal
  • PepsiCo
  • Polyvinyl Records
  • San Antonio Public Library
  • Syngenta
  • University of Illinois Press
  • U.S. Department of Transportation, National Transportation Library

iSchool/Urbana Free Library Apprenticeship

For the third year, this two-semester apprenticeship allows students to work on focused tasks and projects under the supervision of a librarian and receive two hours of practicum credit. Assuming performance is satisfactory in the fall, apprentices return in the spring to work in different areas of the library. As an added bonus in the spring semester, apprentices receive an iSchool fellowship and register for a four-credit hour independent study.

Questions about how to arrange your practicum? I can help!

Rebecca Hodson
Rebecca Hodson, Assistant Director of Career Services & Practicum Coordinator