Justice studies internships carry four credits and required 240 hours of work at the internship. Internships may be done during the summer or during the academic year. Students may only enroll in one internship for academic credit. Under normal circumstances students will be expected to have completed four or five relevant courses before doing an internship. Thus, most students will do internships no earlier than their junior year. The purpose of this requirement is to ensure that the student intern will have a sufficient background in the field to be of value to the internship provider and that the student will be far enough along in their undergraduate education that the internship will be of the greatest value to them in making career choices. Every effort will be made to either meet with the student and their supervisor during the internship or at least talk with the intern and their supervisor by phone to ensure that the internship experience is meeting the expectations of both.
In order to obtain the full benefit of an internship experience we feel that it is important for students to bring together what they have learned in the classroom and in the “real world” through a process of reflection and synthesis. For this reason a justice studies internship requires more than working a minimum number of hours. It also requires three different types of writing assignments.
1) Daily log. Entries may be brief but they should provide a sense of what activities were engaged in each day as well as personal reactions to these experiences. Entries can be used to help generate ideas for the research paper and the career report. The daily log also provides a mechanism for documenting the number of hours worked.
2) Career report. This is a brief reflective paper (2 pages). In it students will comment on how the internship experience has influenced their thinking about career goals and plans. Topics may include a choice made, the choices being considered, the positive and negative aspects of a possible career, and strategies for reaching career goals.
3) Research paper. This is a paper in which the student investigates an issue that is related to their internship experience (10-12 pages). It may be on a topic that the student has worked on during the internship but may not be a product produced by the student for the internship provider. The goal is to help place the internship experience in a broader context so that the student may see how unique or common their exposure to an issue has been. Because it is a research paper students are expected to use academic sources and reference them. Students should also avail themselves of the resources at their disposal in their internship. This includes documents and reports produced by the organization and informal discussions with those providing and supervising the internship. Students should contact their justice studies internship supervisor no later than one-half way through the internship to obtain approval for their topic.
Students often take incompletes in their internship in order to complete the writing assignments. When an incomplete is taken all work and evaluations must be turned in no later than four weeks into the next semester and the credit hours earned for the internship will not count to the total that determines the student’s registration time for the following semester.