Undergraduate Program

Should I do an internship?

For most students, yes. There are four advantages: 

  • Sometimes an internship turns into a paid job after graduation. 
  • An internship provides early information about whether you really like a particular type of work or not. 
  • An internship work supervisor can provide the kind of letter of recommendation other employers will want to see address work habits, diligence, initiative, relationships with clients and so forth), and which your teachers typically are unable to provide. 
  • Many employers want to hire people with work experience. An internship can provide some of that experience. 

When should I do an internship? 

A major goal of the internship experience is to integrate your academic knowledge with the world of work. Thus, you should do an internship after you've had several courses in your major, but before graduation. Generally, this means late in the junior year or early in the senior year. For many students the summer between their junior and senior years is ideal. 

Will I get paid for my internship? 

Some internships are paid, but most of the ones in public service agencies are not. The computerized listings through Career Services indicate which positions are paid. 

How do I find an agency or organization for an internship?

There are essentially three ways. The Sociology Department has a file of agencies which have sought interns in the past, and which may be needing interns in the future. Career Services has an online system called Huskies Get Hired with internship listings accessible only to NIU students.  Another source of possible internships is Major WebLinks featuring two internship fairs every year, one in the Fall and one in the Spring. You can also call an agency in which you are interested and ask whether they take interns. 

What are the requirements for an internship? 

Minimally, you must be a sociology major in good academic standing. You must commit at least 120 hours of work to the agency, although some agencies require more. You must work out a plan for the internship with your agency supervisor, and that plan must be approved by both the Sociology Department Internship Coordinator.  (We don't want you doing merely repetitive clerical work. neither do you.) 

What is the relationship between SOCI 390 and Career Services? 

All students taking SOCI 390 must register their internships with Career Services. This provides a record of your internship activities, generates a notation on your transcript, and facilitates our obtaining an evaluation of your work from the agency supervisor.  See the Career Services website to register an internship and complete the Internship/Co-op Placement Reporting Form.

On the other hand, you may undertake an internship without seeking academic credit for the experience. SOCI 390 is an internship, but it is also a course. It requires two book, an internship diary, approximately four class meetings, a series of short papers, and a term paper. A syllabus is provided which explains the internship in greater detail. 

Can I get internship credit (in SOCI 390) for work I've already done? 

No. We have done this a few times in the past, but we found that in doing so we had no control over the quality of the experience. Thus, we no longer approve after-the-fact internships. 

Can I do more that one internship for credit? 

Yes, subject to the following constraints. First, you should only do one internship at a time. In addition, a second internship should normally be with an agency other than the one with which you did the first internship. Sometimes we will approve a second internship with the same agency, but this requires clear evidence that the second experience will be substantially different that the original. 

Who do I see for more information? 

Mr. Jack King, Department of Sociology 
Zulauf 802, 753-6440

Ms. Teri A. Schmidgall, Career Services
Campus Life Building, 220, 753-1641

You can also visit the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences internship webpage here.