Social Sciences & Humanities

Students seeking to gain practical experience in the humanities and social sciences can engage in the history, culture, economic development and unique world of Chicago neighborhoods. Deepen your understanding of social policy, urban history and community development, and develop skills such as non-profit management, social policy analysis, community organizing and urban planning through interning at organizations such as Interfaith Worker Justice, Breakthrough Urban Ministries, Open Book and Chicago Legal Clinic. Or, you might work in government institutions such as the Cook County Juvenile Court, U.S Postal Inspection Service and the City of Chicago’s Department of Law.


Chicago is a city of 77 neighborhoods, each with its own culture and vibe. Experience their unique offerings and special beauty through Chicago Semester.

Site Highlight


Committed to community revitalization in the East Garfield Park on Chicago’s West Side, Breakthrough has followed a profoundly simple formula for 25 years: people first. Breakthrough provides housing, food, job training, medical care, education and youth development activities to more than 6,000 local residents. Students interning at Breakthrough will have the opportunity to contribute in direct client services, youth services and community outreach.

Site Highlight

H.O.M.E. (Housing Opportunities and Maintenance for the Elderly)

H.O.M.E. is a one-of-a-kind Chicago organization that seeks to foster joy, connection and independence for Chicago’s low-income seniors. Founded in 1982, H.O.M.E. has helped thousands by providing home repairs, shopping bus, moving assistance and affordable intergenerational buildings. Students here contribute to H.O.M.E.’s mission through communications and direct client services, from managing social media and writing stories to assisting clients with everyday tasks.

Site Highlight

Open Books

Open Books is a nonprofit social venture that transforms lives through reading, writing and the inspiring power of used books. Each year, Open Books brings joyful literacy experiences to 6,000 students through engaging literacy programs, and donates more than 160,000 books to children, families and under-resourced communities throughout Chicagoland. Students working here will have the opportunity to assist with after-school programs, editing and publishing.

Internship Placement Process
  1. Submit your program application, references, resume, transcript and essay responses to Chicago Semester.
  2. We review your materials, work with you collaboratively to create a polished resume ready for professional review and send these to potential internship sites.
  3. You interview with potential internship sites and prioritize which opportunity is the best fit for you.
Hear from a Social Sciences & Humanities Alumnus

"My internship allowed me to explore different areas of law, which will be extremely helpful in law school. I also have practical and hands-on experience rather than just guessing what an attorney does on a day-to-day basis. Most importantly though, I was able to grow my knowledge and professionalism... The Chicago Semester program is a very valuable program and not just because of the internship. The experience to live in a big city contributes greatly to growing in independence and experiencing diversity."

– Maddie Bailey

Class of '19, Internship at Chicago Volunteer Legal Services

Professional Seminars and Courses

Professional Seminar (Interdisciplinary) - Fall, Spring and Summer

This field education internship experience provides hands-on practice in the knowledge and skills learned in major courses. You will develop a learning contract for focused areas of development and learning, and are mentored and supervised at the site by professional staff with experience in the area of practice. You will also be supervised by Chicago Semester staff through a weekly professional seminar course and through midpoint and final site visits.

Arts in the City - Fall and Spring

This course investigates urban cultural life as reflected in the arts of Chicago. We will attend plays, concerts, movies, and visit art galleries. We will process these experiences through readings, lectures and classroom discussion as we explore how Christians engage culture.

Diversity and Inequality: Engaging Chicago Cross Culturally - Fall, Spring and Summer

This course introduces the culture, history, assets and challenges of Chicago neighborhoods. We will examine our own social and cultural locations, and compare and contrast how our stories are similar to or different from the Chicago racial and ethnic landscape.

Social Justice - Fall and Spring

This course will introduce students to major streams of social justice thought, including the history of the criminal justice field and contemporary movements for social justice. We will examine the role of race, poverty and inequality in people’s experiences of the criminal justice system in the U.S. As a class we will discuss how marginalization, segregation and the lack of access to social resources influences people’s experiences of justice. We will also explore two major issues related to justice: mass incarceration and mass eviction. Finally, through conversations and visits with practitioners, advocates and organizers we will look at models of restorative justice and how communities address issues related to injustice.

Values and Vocation: Reflections on Work and the Common Good - Fall and Spring

This course explores the concept of vocation from a variety of perspectives. Drawing on readings from religion, theology and sociology, we will examine the ways in which we discern our calling in light of our responsibility to engage the common good. We will also look at social structures that impact work and family life (gender, race, religion and class) and how they might shape our understanding of vocation.
Course Information

You will enroll in a Professional Seminar and in up to two other courses of your choice.

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Admissions Information