Internships are work-related opportunities that help students develop a better understanding of a prospective career.  Specifically, it is an opportunity for students to determine whether their interests match a chosen career path in the real world, while simultaneously gaining experience with professionals in the field.

The Sociology and Criminal Justice Internship program allows students to work as an intern and earn 3 hours of graded credit at the 4000 level in exchange for 180 hours of work during a semester period.  

Basic Requirements

  • 180 hours of work with the sponsoring agency, program, or office, before the end of the academic period.  During the Fall and Spring academic terms, the average is 12 hours per week for 15 weeks in a 16 week semester.  During the Summer Session III (12 weeks), the average is 15 hours a week.  Six hours credit can be earned for 360 hours of work.
  • Maintain a journal with weekly entries.
  • Complete and submit four (4) written assignments through the course of the semester.
  • Attend scheduled class meetings (4 per semester).
  • Maintain a log of hours worked; the log must be signed by a supervisor.

Fayetteville Police Department application
Fayetteville Police Department Intern Code of Conduct

  1. Discuss your desire to enroll in the internship program with your academic advisor. Because an internship requires 180 hours of work through the semester, it is important that you both discuss your schedule and determine how best to fit an internship into your college career.
  2. Choose an area of interest and identify sponsoring agencies that might provide an internship opportunity. Feel free to contact Dr. Shields, as some agencies request interns from time to time and he can help you narrow your choices.
  3. Review potential agencies’ websites or contact their personnel department to determine their application requirements. This is important. Many agencies require several months lead-time to perform background checks.  Don’t wait until the last moment.
  4. Write (and update) a resume. Your resume is an introduction to potential employers, and often it is your first chance to make an impression. We recommend that students have their resumes proof read by a third party.  The University of Arkansas Career Development Center provides assistance to students who need help preparing resumes. In addition, CLASS + Writing Support can proof read your resume and make suggestions to improve it.
  5. Email that you are interested in enrolling in the internship program. You will then be responsible for setting up an interview with the sponsoring agency and keeping Dr. Shields informed of your progress. If you are selected by that agency, Dr. Shields will enroll you in the class.

The internship program offers students a number of valuable opportunities beyond classroom instruction.   Many students have never worked in their field of study, so they have had few opportunities to develop work experience in the field they want to enter upon graduation.  Other students may be sure of a particular career path, but have no idea how to get a job in that field. Still other students may be interested in many sub-fields and simply need help to narrow their focus. An internship can assist students with all of these issues.  

An internship helps students gain real world work experience and provides a great opportunity to improve and hone oral and written communication skills.  While working as interns, students not only learn teamwork, but they also gain self-confidence.  That real world work experience gained from an internship may be the edge, the single factor, that separates the job applicant from others in the application pool—many agencies use internships as a recruiting tool.

Still wondering?  Click here or google “why internships are important”.