GEO Community Practicum

Explore the link between active citizenship and academic knowledge.


The Graduate Engagement Opportunities (GEO) Community Practicum enables graduate students across disciplines to connect theory & practice through a quarter-long internship with a community organization and a credit-bearing seminar on engaged scholarship.

GEO is offered every Spring through a partnership between the Center for Civic Engagement, Chicago Field Studies, and The Graduate School.

Applications are now open for Spring 2024. Apply by Friday, December 1, 2023.

Community Practicum

The experiential component of the GEO program is a 10-week placement at a community organization. This placement serves as a structured opportunity for students to bring their expertise to bear on social issues, develop mutually-beneficial community partnerships, and/or develop new professional skills and experiences.

Students work one-on-one with GEO staff to secure a placement that matches their interests. We have placed graduate students at more than 100 organizations, from governmental agencies to museums & cultural institutions to national advocacy groups and grassroots non-profits. GEO students work 10-20 hours per week on a project they develop with their host organizations.


The academic, credit-bearing component of GEO is CFS 495: Civic Engagement and Graduate Education. Shared readings, along with guest speakers and site visits, foster discussion across disciplines. Topics may include theories and models of public scholarship, the history, politics and literature of Chicago, and case studies in community-university partnerships.


Graduate students at any stage of doctoral study are eligible to apply. While PhD students are given priority, Masters students will be considered if space permits.

International students who have completed three quarters at Northwestern or another U.S. institution can participate in GEO, but need to apply for authorization. This process usually takes about a week, but arrangements should be made as soon as you are placed. For further information, contact your advisor in the International Office.

Application Information

Apply now to join the Spring 2024 cohort of GEO. Applications close Friday, December 1, 2023.

Information for Host Organizations

Evaluations from partner organizations attest to the fact that GEO interns contribute valuable skills and produce high quality work. If you are interested in hosting a GEO student, please consult our information sheet for host organizations. We welcome feedback from new & continuing partners on how we can strengthen the program and further develop mutually-beneficial relationships.

Contact Information

For more information contact Ruth Martin Curry, Program Director.