Internships & Community Engagement
Steps Before Enrolling
Students wishing to undertake an internship should follow these steps early in the semester prior to the semester of the anticipated internship:
Identify a variety of agencies in the local community whose mission and work not only relate to themes covered in one or more of the social science elective courses you've taken, but also match the your values, interests, and career goals. (See list of potential community agencies to get you started.) Visit the agencies' websites or call their offices to learn more about their mission and work.
If you do not already have a faculty mentor in mind, ask the Undergraduate Director or your academic advisor which faculty members they would recommend you speak to about guiding your internship at one of these potential agencies. Ideally, the faculty mentor should be one whose area of teaching or research interests intersects with the mission and work of the agencies. (To learn about faculty members' teaching and research interests, visit the Faculty page.) A student who aspires to work at an agency that provides services to people with disabilities, for instance, will want to take our course SYO 4430: Disability and Society or ISS 3420: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Disability Studies," and then ask our faculty member(s) who teaches that course to consider serving as their faculty mentor for either SYA 4949: Sociological Internship or ISS 4940: ISS Internship. If you difficulty finding a faculty mentor, please contact the Undergraduate Director for further assistance.
You should work with the faculty mentor to narrow the list of potential agencies. The final selection will likely require conducting informational interviews with the directors or internship supervisors of the agencies to determine their suitability for an internship. Before conducting these interviews, you and your faculty mentor may want to review the expectations for internships, which have been established by The U.S. Department of Labor, the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), and USF.
After receiving the verbal agreements of a faculty mentor and an agency staff member who are willing to guide you in the internship, arrange for everyone to meet (preferably in person) to identify the learning objectives and to discuss and agree to the terms outlined in the Guidelines and Expectations form (pages 3-5). After everyone signs this form, the faculty member will request the Academic Program Specialist, Fransheska Andaluz, to open a section of SYA 4949 or ISS 4940 under the faculty’s name and issue a permit for the student to enroll in that course section for the following semester.
The student should enroll for the number of credit hours that corresponds to the amount of time he/she anticipates working at the agency. It is expected that the student will work at least thirty hours at the agency per credit hour enrolled (i.e. 30 hours for 1 credit, 60 hours for 2 credits, 90 hours for 3 credits,… 180 hours for 6 credits).