Exercise/Health Science Practicum/Internship Guide

EXS 4900 Practicum in Exercise and Sport Science is a required one-credit course in the exercise science major taken by seniors. Health science majors may fulfill the experiential learning requirement by taking EXS 4900, HP 4991 Action Project, HP 4990 Independent Study, or CP 3910 or 3920 Co-op Work Project I or II. Consider pursuing other internships during the summer to gain professional experience. If college credit is required, contact your advisor and the faculty member with whom you want to work about an independent study or the Career Center about CP 3910 or 3920 Co-op Work Project I or II. Remember that tuition-related expenses will be involved.

EXS 4900: Getting Started

  • RESUME! Creating your resume is the first step of any internship search. Come to Career Services for examples, advice and resume review.
  • Attending the departmental practicum/internship orientation offered each semester will also be helpful.
  • Health science students may need to meet with the EXS 4900 instructor to determine what alternative is most appropriate.
  • Exploring websites of previous placements shared at the orientation meeting will enable you to prioritize placement preferences. Consider factors such as location, schedule, type of organization, client characteristics, typical intern duties, congruence with career goals, complementing experiences and job potential.
  • If you would like to be placed at a location that has not been used previously, you may call the organization to inquire if internships for undergraduate students are offered. You may need to specify that you will be earning college credit for the experience. If the answer is yes, obtain the name and email address of the individual your professor should contact. Provide the EXS 4900 instructor the information so the partnership can be pursued.
  • Submitting your resume and an online intent to register here will enable your advisor to request that you be placed in EXS 4900. You will not be able to self-enroll. Also, provide the EXS 4900 instructor an unofficial copy of your transcript (paper or share on OneDrive) for verification of your senior standing and background. While the preferred deadlines are November 1 for spring, March 1 for summer and April 1 for fall, earlier submissions are welcome and may be required in order to secure your first-choice placement.
  • Practice with a mock interview in Career Services.
  • The EXS 4900 instructor will request your placement for this course and keep you informed. Once a site agrees to meet with you, you will receive a confirmation email. Let the EXS 4900 instructor know how your meeting goes.
  • The EXS 4900 instructor will send you instructions for obtaining a background check about a month before the term begins.
  • In addition to the activities at your site, there will be academic course requirements.

Research Opportunities

The best way to get research experience is to start with your professors. Are there projects you can assist with? If research opportunities are not currently available at Rockhurst, look to other local colleges and universities. Contact universities that are conducting relevant research and ask to volunteer. St. Luke’s has a Research Internship program.


Shadowing is not a degree requirement for exercise science or health science. If you are considering a graduate degree in an area that requires observation hours (e.g., physical or occupational therapy), make sure to follow those guidelines. If you are interested in shadowing in order to inform your decision about a career path, consider a variety of observation settings such as cardiac or pulmonary rehabilitation, sports conditioning, physical and occupational therapy, athletic training, university fitness facilities, corporate wellness programs, health clubs, orthotics and prosthetics clinics, university athletic conditioning, public health departments, county recreation departments and sports and community organizations

  1. Contact sites:
    1. Check websites to see if any information about shadowing/observation hours is provided. Follow procedures if posted.
    2. If no information is provided, contact the phone number available OR contact the main number and ask for the relevant department.
  2. Ask to speak with the person who arranges shadowing or observation experiences.
  3. Follow instructions for observation experiences.
  4. Some sites may ask you to complete a confidentiality agreement or provide proof of a recent TB test.
  5. Keep a detailed record of all observation experiences.
  6. Reflect on aspects (setting, clients, duties, etc.) of the location that seemed appealing as well as inconsistent with your interests without assuming that all facilities and staff will be the same.

Optional Internships

Many internship opportunities can be found online:

  • The RU Career Account
    This account must be set up by Career Services. It gives access to internship postings sent directly to Rockhurst from employers. Sign up for an account at weekly workshops offered on Tuesdays at 3:30 p.m., Wednesdays at 10:00 a.m. and Thursdays at 1:00 p.m. in Career Services.
    • NACE Link
      This database is offered through the RU Career Account and is a good resource if you seek opportunities outside of Kansas City, especially in major metropolitan areas.
  • Organization websites
  • Part-time jobs (rehab tech, PT tech, OT tech, front desk/administrative positions at organizations that are aligned with your career goals, fitness instructor, camp counselor, etc.) and volunteer opportunities are additional options for gaining experience.

Kansas City Organizations

Resources for researching organizations in Kansas City:

  • The Kansas City Business Journal Book of Lists, located in the Career Services office 
  • RU Career Account, accessed through the Career Services website
  • Google search
  • U.S. Department of Labor Employer Locator
  • Networking! Talk to classmates, professors, family and friends.

Searching in Other Cities

Use the same resources; simply focus them on other cities. NACE Link, an internship/job database through the RU Career Account, is connected to 500 other colleges nationwide. Additionally, many Jesuit universities offer reciprocal career services. Contact RU Career Services to find out if you can receive services from another Jesuit university in the city you want to search in. EXS 4900 summer placements outside the metropolitan Kansas City area are limited to student-located sites with existing internship programs. Additionally, for summer EXS 4900 (rather than for optional experiences without academic credit), a 3.2 GPA is required.