Special courses include internships, independent studies, arranged courses, field experiences, senior theses, teaching assistantships, and research assistantships. Students may enroll in special courses provided they meet all eligibility criteria. These courses will not be added to a student’s schedule until the appropriate form is completed and processed by the Registrar’s Office.
To register for a special course, students must complete a Special Course Registration Form, available through the Registrar’s Office. This form needs to be completed in its entirety, including details regarding the course and the required signatures of approval from the instructor and the student’s faculty advisor. The instructor for the special course must be a member of the academic department to which the course is being assigned. The Special Course Registration Form must be turned into the Registrar’s Office by the end of the add/drop period of the term in which a student will be participating in the special course.
Special courses are offered at the 200 and 400 course levels, with the exception of senior capstones, which are only offered at the 400 level. The difference between 200 and 400 level special courses is the rigor and application of skills and knowledge required to complete the course.
No more than 12 internship, field experience, research assistant, or teaching assistant credits may be applied towards requirements for the baccalaureate degree.
Field Experiences and Internships
A field experience or internship is a way to gain practical, hands-on work experience in a particular field of interest. Students may pursue such opportunities locally or elsewhere and may receive pay for their experiences. In addition to opportunities on campus, in the Chequamegon Bay area there are diverse opportunities available for student experiences with state and federal governmental agencies, non-profit organizations, for-profit organizations, tribal governments, municipalities, as well as with other organizations.
Students may receive academic credit for a field experience or internship. Students who wish to participate in either option must make arrangements with a faculty member to develop a description, goals, and evaluation criteria for the experience or internship. When a field experience or internship includes work with a cooperating organization, a supervisor from the cooperating organization must submit to the faculty member an evaluation halfway through and at the end of the student’s experience to confirm that the student has met the pre-arranged criteria. The faculty member assigns a grade at the end of the experience based upon the supervisor’s evaluation, a final debrief with the student, and any other work the student has agreed to submit. Students earn either a Satisfactory (S) or Unsatisfactory (U) grade. Internships and field experiences are treated like any other academic course with the work started and completed during the term in which the student is enrolled for credit.
Students should register for a field experience if the proposed experience
- will provide significant support for the cooperating organization with less focus on new learning;
- meets all the criteria for an academic experience but does not meet the criteria for internship.
Students should register for an internship if the proposed experience
- will primarily increase the student's knowledge, while benefiting the cooperating organization;
- meets all criteria developed for a certain department’s internship (see website for specific internship criteria);
- will include training or mentoring in new skills and knowledge.
For more information regarding field experiences or internships, contact your faculty advisor or the Coordinator of Applied Learning.
Students may pursue independent studies to investigate a topic or subject area of particular interest to the student. Students who most benefit from independent studies are mature, self-disciplined, and highly motivated. Students must have specific objectives clearly defined for their independent study and work with a chosen faculty member, who will serve as a consultant and evaluator. Independent studies are only available to students in good academic standing who have a 3.0 cumulative grade point average in the previous session of enrollment. Students will receive a letter grade for the course.
Teaching and Research Assistantships
With approval from the instructor, students may serve as teaching or research assistants for a course. As teaching assistants, students assist instructors in classroom activities, student training, or material preparation for a course in which they have particularly strong skills or experience. Students are eligible to receive some credit for these experiences, but no more than the credit value of the course. As research assistants, students perform library, laboratory, or survey research under the direction of a faculty member on an issue, topic, or project that the faculty member is investigating. Students receive letter grades for their work. Only students in good academic standing may serve as teaching or research assistants.
Senior Capstones & Senior Theses
All Northland students must complete a senior capstone or senior thesis that demonstrates the composite knowledge and skills that they have acquired and developed through their collegiate studies. To fulfill this requirement, students work with faculty in their major fields of study (or take a multi-disciplinary approach) to design a project that reflects senior-level work. Projects vary across disciplines and may include in-depth research or writing and presenting a paper similar to a graduate-level thesis. Public presentations in all disciplines are encouraged so students can share their knowledge with others.
Faculty members provide guidance for and assessment of capstones and theses. Some departments offer a senior capstone or thesis class, while others require students to register independently for a capstone or thesis using the Special Course Registration Form. See the listing of courses or your faculty advisor for more information regarding capstone and thesis options.