One of the hallmarks of the PLU sociology and criminal justice program is the opportunity for students to participate in experiential learning opportunities. Internships are a great way to gain valuable work experience and to learn more about potential career paths. Internships are required for Criminal Justice majors and strongly recommended for Sociology majors.
Criminal Justice students commonly complete internships with juvenile courts, law enforcement agencies, probation offices, and victim advocacy organizations, among other agencies. Sociology students participate in internships at local schools, shelters, and social service agencies, many of which have a social justice focus. The Department of Sociology & Criminal Justice has ongoing relationships with numerous internship providers, but we also encourage students to consult the Opportunities Board or the Director of Career & Experiential Learning at Alumni & Student Connections to discuss potential internship sites.
Steps for Securing an Internship
Step 1: Discuss internship opportunities. Meet with Dr. Laura McCloud (firstname.lastname@example.org), internship professor, and/or Karmen Baldwin (email@example.com), Director of Career & Experiential Learning, to discuss internship opportunities. The department recommends that students begin researching internships at least a full semester before they plan to enroll in the course.
Step 2: Contact internship sites. Students planning for a fall semester internship should start contacting potential internship sites by the end of the spring semester or early summer. Students planning for a spring semester internship should start contacting potential internship sites by early to mid-fall semester. Please note: If students are planning to apply for an internship at a law enforcement agency, they must apply months in advance so that their background check can be completed prior to the start of the semester.
Step 3: Work on the learning agreement worksheet with an internship supervisor. Once students have secured an internship, they should meet with their internship site supervisor to discuss specific internship responsibilities. Based on this conversation, students should start working on their learning agreement worksheet. The worksheet is a tool for students to record all pertinent information that they will later input into their formal learning agreement.
Step 4: Work on the learning agreement worksheet with the internship professor, Dr. McCloud. Once students have a full draft of the learning agreement, set up a meeting with the internship professor to review it and discuss the sociological or criminological connections. This meeting, and the above meeting with the internship site supervisor, will help ensure a student’s learning objectives match up with expectations for what they can accomplish at their internship.
Step 5: Submit the learning agreement. Take the information from your Learning Agreement worksheet and submit it in the Learning Agreement. Students taking internship through AICE 476 will be automatically registered for the course upon submission of the learning agreement. Students taking an internship through SOCI 495 can register for the course through the typical registration process.
Step 6: Begin internship after the Statement of Understanding is submitted to PLU. Before a student can begin their internship, their internship site must complete PLU’s Statement of Understanding (SOU). Students may not begin their internship until their SOU is received by Alumni & Student Connections. Students will be notified by Elli Pippin, Director of Career & Experiential Learning at Alumni & Student Connections, when the MOU is complete and they can begin their internship. Some internship sites have existing MOUs with PLU and students will not have to wait for this step to be completed.
Will the department assign me to an internship site?
No, it is your responsibility to secure an internship. The internship professor from the Department of Sociology & Criminal Justice and the Director of Career and Experiential Learning are here to support you to find an internship that connects to your vocational goals.
Can an internship count toward my minor?
Yes, completing a 4-credit internship (SOCI 495 or AICE 476) counts toward the sociology and criminal justice minors, in addition to majors.
How many hours will I need to complete at my internship site?
It depends on the number of course credits you are registered for. Students may take this course for 1 to 4 credits as follows:
- 4 credits = 120 hours in placement
- 3 credits = 90 hours in placement
- 2 credits = 60 hours in placement
- 1 credit = 30 hours in placement
How many credits should I sign up for?
Criminal Justice majors should sign up for 4 credits of internship to fulfill their internship requirement. Sociology majors, who would like an internship to fulfill their 400-level requirement or an elective requirement, should also register for 4 credits. If a student is looking to complete an internship that does not meet one of the above requirements in SOCI, they can sign up for fewer than 4 credits. In this case, it is usually recommended that they register for AICE 476.
Which course should I register for internship credit?
- Sociology majors should register for SOCI 495, which can be done through the typical registration process.
- Criminal justice majors should register for SOCI 495, which can be done through the typical registration process.
- Sociology majors with criminal justice minors should register for AICE 476. Upon completion of the learning agreement, students will be automatically registered.
- Criminal justice majors with sociology minors should register for AICE 476. Upon completion of the learning agreement, students will be automatically registered.
- Sociology or criminal justice minors should register for SOCI 495.
I’ve already completed a 4 credit internship, but I’d like to do it again. Is this possible?
Yes! Internships are a valuable part of your education at PLU and the department supports students completing multiple internships. Please connect with the internship professor to discuss your options for a second internship.
Will SOCI 495/AICE 476 meet as a class on campus?
No, sociology and criminal justice internship students do not meet as a class on campus. Your experience at your internship site is your coursework! You will be in regular contact, including one-on-one meetings, with the internship professor.
What coursework is required for an internship in the Department of Sociology & Criminal Justice?
In addition to completing the required hours at the internship site, students are also required to: 1) complete an activity log that documents hours and tasks; 2) complete journal entries, where they reflect on how the internship experience connects to their sociology/criminal justice coursework and their vocational journey; 3) meet with the internship professor to discuss progress at the internship site; 4) write a final reflective paper; and 5) update their resume to reflect the internship. Internship site supervisors are asked to complete two evaluations of interns.
Is there funding for internships?
- Please check out the Alumni & Student Connections internship funding page. Most of PLU’s major internship scholarships are for the summer, but there is now a PLU internship fund that can cover some internship costs during the semester.