College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Sociology & Criminology

Internships

Internships provide students with the opportunity to move between the academic setting of the classroom and the applied setting of an agency, organization or business. The internship provides the student with meaningful opportunities, under the supervision of a representative of the agency, to assist the agency in its mission. 

Internships in Sociology, Sociology/Social Work and Criminology are designed to extend students' learning opportunities beyond the traditional classroom setting. The primary goal is for students to gain hands-on experience in professional work environments related to their academic and career interests. Internships in criminal justice, human services, businesses and community contexts also provide students with practical experience and career and networking opportunities. Internships are often a key step in becoming familiar with job requirements and obtaining a job upon graduation.

Our internship experience is structured to benefit both the student intern as well as the sponsoring organization. The Department of Sociology and Criminology has established the following evaluation criteria for internship students and their evaluators:

Breadth and Depth of the Experience

The internship needs to provide the student with a broad overview of the organization. In addition, the student should gain a clear understanding of what a particular bachelor degree career field or occupation entails. The student should have the opportunity to engage in projects and activities at a professional level. The focus of the internship is for the student to learn about the organization and develop new skills and knowledge.

Opportunity for Students to Apply Principles Learned in and outside the Classroom

An internship should provide the student with hands-on experience and a good sense of what an actual job in the organization will be like. The relationship between the internship experience and the knowledge and skills that the student has gained through their major course is emphasized. The student brings a set of skills and a knowledge base to the internship experience that allows them to help the organization meet its goals as they engage in various activities at the internship site. Through the internship experience, the student also has an opportunity to refine and further develop their skills and to deepen their understanding of the concepts and theories they are learning in the classroom.

Opportunity to Observe Professionals in Action

It is important that student interns be able to observe professionals in their particular field to grasp what the occupation will really be like. We encourage interns to participate in staff meetings and to attend presentations and meetings with clients when appropriate. Additionally, interns should have the ability to talk to and interact with professionals at the internship site bout their respective jobs and career paths.

Opportunity to Develop Specific Skills

The students should leave the internship with a new set of skills or improvements in their current skill set. We encourage the student to concentrate on the following areas:

  • Research skills
  • Writing skills
  • Technical skills appropriate to the field
  • Presentation skills

Unique, Substantive, and Diverse Internships

Butler students are encouraged to identify internships that are related to their career interests and goals and to participate in experiences that will expand their knowledge base and expose them to diversity and new ways of thinking. Butler sociology and criminology students have completed internships in a wide variety of organizations, agencies, and businesses, including

  • Indiana Department of Homeland Security
  • Pendleton Juvenile Correctional Facility
  • Marion County Prosecutor's Office
  • Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic
  • The Children's Bureau
  • Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (various divisions)
  • Department of Child Services
  • Safe Families for Children
  • Exodus Refugee Immigration, Inc.
  • The Julian Center
  • Salvation Army

View a more complete list of recent internship sites.

Requirements

Students in the Department of Sociology and Criminology are required to complete either a three-credit-hour internship (SO484) or a service-learning course.  We also offer a six-credit-hour internship (SO485) for interested students (only three credit hours will count toward the major requirements).  Students must complete an internship that is related to their specific major (sociology, sociology/social work or criminology) and all internship sites must be approved by the department prior to enrollment. Student performance is evaluated both by a faculty member (academic requirements) and by the on-site supervisor (internship site/job requirements).

Specific Requirements Include:

  • Complete information forms and contract along with developing specific goals and objectives prior to beginning the internship, including all signatures. Students develop their goals and objectives in consultation with both their on-site and faculty supervisor.
  • Complete 160 hours (or 280 for SO485) in the field at the internship site.
  • Keep a work journal of experiences and observations while doing the internship (a sort of work ethnography) and share biweekly with the designated faculty internship supervisor.  Ongoing reflection is required and students are encouraged to examine their journal for common themes that emerge and for connections to what they have learned through their major courses.
  • Attend meetings on campus with the designated faculty internship supervisor biweekly.
  • After completion of hours in field, turn in an internship portfolio which includes: the work journal and reflections; an evaluation of the achievement of goals and the tasks and activities the student engaged in to meet these goals; an overview of the internship organization and the student's role in this organization; an academic paper in which they utilize the academic literature and what they have learned in their major to analyze and shed light on an issue or experience related to their internship; an evaluation by their site supervisor and a self-evaluation; and supporting documents. 

For more information about the specific requirements for an internship, please pick up a copy of the internship packet from the Sociology and Criminology Office (JH375-B) and meet with your advisor.

How Do I Find an Internship?

Students are responsible for working, in consultation with their advisor, on finding an appropriate internship site, applying for the internship, and identifying a full-time faculty member to serve as their faculty supervisor.  

There are several resources available for identifying possible internship sites:

  • The department maintains a list of internship sites that are used on a continuous basis by our majors.
  • Utilize the resources maintained by Butler's office of Internships and Career Services.
  • Consider participating in Butler's Washington, D.C. Internship Program.
  • The department frequently posts and emails notifications to students of new internship opportunities.
  • Complete your own internship search for local, state, national and international internship opportunities. Many government agencies offer internship opportunities. Internship and Career services can help you with your search.

Sample Search Resources

  • A list of government agency websites (including the FBI) can be found at: http://www.usa.gov/directory/federal/F.shtml.
  • The United Way of Central Indiana's list of agencies and their website addresses can be found at:  http://www.uwci.org/agencyresults.asp.
  • Visit the office of Internships and Career Services at Butler (Atherton Union, Room 315). This office provides a number of different resources to help you with your internship search, including internship fairs, counseling and advice, help writing resumes and cover letters, interviewing practice, etc.