Independent Study and Internships
Independent Study and Reading - SOCI 396
Sociology 396, titled "Independent Study and Reading," may be taken for 1-3 hours of credit, depending on the amount of academic work to be done by the student. Any student is eligible to take 396 with a sponsoring faculty member in the Department, but is usually taken by those who have had at least three previous courses in sociology.
The following are some typical uses of Sociology 396:
- The student does reading and research in an area in which no course is offered.
- The student has taken course work in an area and wishes to undertake advanced or more specialized work in that field.
- The student combines employment and study in some internship program for which he or she wishes to receive academic credit.
Students wishing to take Sociology 396 should carefully think through the purposes and substance of the course they would like to do. If an internship is planned, it is the student's responsibility to secure the employment. All sociology 396s must include related reading work and a final written product. Registering for 396 is contingent upon the student identifying a sociology faculty member who will sponsor and oversee their work. After the student has decided on a plan of action, he or she should come to the Department office to obtain the form necessary for seeking faculty sponsorship and permission to take the course.
It is up to the supervising instructor in consultation with the student to decide exactly how much reading and possibly outside work is to be done by the student, how often the two will meet to discuss what is being accomplished in the course, and what papers or examinations will be a part of the course. Some reading and written work involving sociological analysis must be done to receive credit for this course.
SOCI 397 can be used to obtain credit for internship work in government or public service. For the purposes of this course, paid positions are not appropriate. If you are interested in an internship, you will need copies of the following documents which you can download here:
Below, are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about Sociology internships:
- Purpose of Internship
- Types of Internships
- Tasks of Interns
- Academic Credit
- Faculty Supervisor
- Approval Requirements
- Procedure for Approval
- Time Requirement
- Paper Requirement
- Journal Requirement
- Internship Contract
- Meeting Requirement
- Internship Funding Sources
Two Purposes of the SOCI 397 Internship
- To provide students the opportunity to earn academic credit while obtaining appropriate, practical work experience demonstrably related to the study of sociology;
- To enable the student to develop the research necessary to write a high‐quality research or project paper on a topic related to the intern's work at the agency or organization.
Types of Internship Agencies or Organizations Allowed
The work of the sponsoring agency must be meaningfully connected to the study of sociology. It is the student's responsibility to find her or his own internship; however, your sociology advisor may be able to provide assistance and information. Also, the UNC Career Services Internship Office website at http://careers.unc.edu/ is a useful resource.
Tasks of Interns at Agencies
Although some routine administrative tasks are required of any professional employee, it is expected that the majority of the intern's work will be directed towards the substantive mission of the agency and that the tasks will be of a quality and nature that will justify the award of academic credit. (For example, in an agency that serves clients, the intern must have recurrent contacts with the client population whose problems the agency is addressing.)
Academic Credit and Limitations
- A student is limited to a maximum of 3 hours of academic credit for a SOCI 397 Internship.
- A student is limited to one SOCI 397 Internship.
The faculty supervisor must be a member of the Sociology Department. The student is responsible for finding a faculty supervisor who will work with the student. Students who find internships are not guaranteed a faculty supervisor. Therefore, students are advised to secure a faculty supervisor early.
Prior Approval of Internships Required
A student may not receive credit for any SOCI 397 internship unless the student obtains approval before beginning the internship. Under no circumstances may a student receive credit for an internship in progress or completed before the internship contract is signed.
Procedures for Prior Approval of Internships
- Fall and Spring Semester Internships: If the student will be working at an internship during the fall or spring semester, the student should arrange the internship, obtain the faculty supervisor's approval, and sign the internship contract during pre‐registration the semester prior to the internship. However, in the event that this is not possible, the internship contract should be completed and returned to the Sociology Office no later than the end of the first week of classes. The internship contract must be signed and turned in to the Sociology Office before the first day of the internship.
- Summer Internships: Summer internships will be considered for approval only if the student has obtained a faculty supervisor, completed arrangements with the agency, and turned in the internship contract before the internship starts. For summer internships, credit for SOCI 397 is earned and the research or project paper is completed during the fall semester following the summer internship.
- Summer School Credit Internships: A student may complete a summer internship for summer session credit only if the student secures a faculty sponsor who will be available to the student during that session. The requirements for summer session internships are the same as for other SOCI 397 internships.
Internship Time Requirement
Interns must work a minimum of 8 hours per week, for a total minimum of 100 hours per semester, at the internship placement. This is the minimum number of hours. If the student misses hours one week, he or she is expected to make up these hours. These required hours are roughly equivalent to the number of hours a student would spend in class and preparing for class during an ordinary course over a semester. The same minimum number of hours is required for summer school session internships.
Research or Project Paper Required
A high‐quality research or project paper on a topic related to the internship is required. The length of the paper, the due date, and the topic of the paper are to be determined by the faculty supervisor and the intern.
The student is required to keep an internship journal containing daily entries. These entries should set out the intern's activities at the internship that day, the intern's impressions and perceptions of those activities, reflections on how that day's work relates to the student's service and learning objectives, and actions that the student plans to take at the placement in the future based on what the student learned that day.
The Internship Contract sets out the SOCI 397 requirements and the particular tasks and goals for that student's internship as determined by the agency, student, and faculty supervisor. The student obtains the contract from the Sociology Department and is responsible for taking the contract to the agency and faculty supervisor for completion. The student, faculty supervisor, and agency supervisor must sign the contract. The student returns the contract to the Sociology Office and provides copies to the faculty supervisor and agency. The contract should be turned in no later than the end of the first week of classes: the contract must be signed and returned before the first day of the internship.
Meetings with Faculty Supervisor Required
The intern is required to meet periodically with the faculty supervisor to discuss the research or project paper, the student's progress, and any internship‐related problems. The number of meetings, times, and dates are to be determined by the faculty supervisor. If problems arise at the internship, the student is required to contact the faculty supervisor immediately.
The Sociology Office will provide an evaluation sheet to the student to give to the agency supervisor. The completed agency evaluation must be turned in to the faculty supervisor to assist in assigning a final grade to the student. The faculty supervisor determines what weight will be given to the student and agency evaluations, the journal, and the paper, and the faculty supervisor should provide that information to the intern at the beginning of the internship.
The faculty supervisor's grade on the faculty grade form is the student's final grade. Please note: beginning Fall 2012, SOCI 397 will be graded on a pass/fail basis. Students completing their internship prior to Fall 2012 will receive a letter grade determined by the faculty supervisor.
Internship Funding Sources at UNC
Internships are an essential way for undergraduates to gain career experience. University Career Services offers a listing of possible sources of funding for UNC‐CH students pursuing summer internships.