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Summer with CFS

CFS at a Glance

Chicago Field Studies combines a course and internship experience to bring academic context to the professional world, expanding learning beyond the classroom and enabling students to pursue both academic and career aspirations. This one-quarter academic internship program is open to sophomores, juniors, and seniors from all Northwestern schools and majors who wish to connect academic learning and practical experience.

CFS students participate in a weekly, 2-hour themed seminar course that relates to their internship field or industry. These classes allow you to bring theory and experience together through discussion, reflection, and theme related assignments, papers, and projects. CFS courses are either set at 4 units of credit or variable credit (1-4 units). Students who are participating for 4 units of credit are expected to dedicate their quarter exclusively to their CFS course and internship while variable credit allows students to take 1 or 2 other NU courses in addition to doing CFS. More information on CFS courses.

Students in CFS courses are required to participate in internships during their CFS quarter, as reflecting on internship experiences provides valuable context to class discussions and assignments. You are welcome to secure your own internship or work with your CFS advisor to find one that is right for you. Your internship does not have to be directly related to your major or minor but should connect to the theme of your CFS class. Please note: Summer internship opportunities through the CFS program differ from those available during the school year. Competition for Chicago area internships increases and many employers have their own summer internship programs that prevent them from working with CFS interns. More information on internships.

Academic credit and grades are earned based on your coursework and participation in the CFS class. While not graded, your performance at your internship will still be evaluated by your employer. The number of hours you are required to intern increases with each unit of credit. CFS courses typically count as general credits toward graduation but may count towards majors or minors. We encourage you to talk with your academic advisors prior to applying for CFS. More information on CFS credit.

If you would like to do CFS during summer session, you should:

Summer Tuition and Costs

Summer tuition is charged per unit of credit. Students interested in participating in CFS in the summer must have established they are able to pay the costs associated with doing the program in summer PRIOR to applying.

CFS Courses offered IN Summer

Business Field Studies (2, 3 or 4 credits)

Field Studies in the Modern Workplace (2, 3* or 4 credits, *2 or 3 credit option offered in summer only)

Legal Field Studies (2, 3* or 4 credits, *2 or 3 credit option offered in summer only)

Field Studies in Humanities (variable, can be taken for 1, 2, 3, or 4 units of credit)

Field Studies in Public Health (variable, can be taken for 1, 2, 3, or 4 units of credit)

Field Studies in Business Culture online (variable, can be taken for 1, 2, 3, or 4 units of credit)

Analysis of Field Experience online (.25 or 1 unit of credit class options available)

*the 2 or 3 units of credit option is offered in Summer quarter only.  All other quarters these courses are set at 4 units of credit. Students participating in these courses for 2 hours of credit often work at their internship 24-36+ hours a week even if they are taking another summer course.

Units of credit should be determined before you register and cannot be changed once summer session is in progress or has ended. You can always intern more than required for the units of credit you are taking your CFS course for, but not less. We highly recommend that you take no more than 1 other course while participating in CFS in the summer.

Online options

If you have a summer internship outside of Chicago but need academic credit to do it or want to get the benefits of being in a CFS course, CFS offers 2 online courses in summer:

Full yearly course offerings...

Engage Chicago

CFS also partners with the Center for Civic Engagement for Northwestern University's Engage Chicago program, an eight-week summer course that combines immersive experiential learning with coursework taught by Northwestern faculty and thoughtful reflection led by Northwestern staff. Visit the Engage Chicago website for more information and to apply.

Important Dates 

Applying to CFS

You are required to attend or complete an information session prior to applying. More about information sessions

Application Deadlines

Ready to Apply

What to expect if you are accepted

The Accepted Student’s Obligation to Participate in the CFS Program

Students may withdraw without penalty from the CFS program at the discretion of their CFS advisor. If the student is approved for withdraw without penalty the student will be granted Deferral Status. If a student withdraws without approval of a CFS advisor or is dropped from the program for violations of the CFS Participation and Conduct Agreement, that student will be ineligible to participate in the CFS program in the future.

Please remember, CFS is an academic program, not an internship placement service.  Withdrawing from the CFS after securing an internship through our program may be considered a violation of academic integrity and will likely result in the termination of the student’s internship.  Withdraws of this type will make students ineligible to participate in CFS in the future.

CFS students who are unable to secure an internship for the summer will automatically receive Deferral Status as long as the student has maintained compliance with the CFS Participation and Conduct Agreement.

Student Experiences

Find out about the CFS experience by reading our Blog! These stories are written by CFS students while they are in their internships and courses and are searchable by tags such as course and internship type. You can also read stories of featured alumni of the program and how CFS has helped them.

Who does CFS?

Questions? Contact or call (847) 467-0605 during business hours.