The Department of Sociology has several long standing partnerships with civic and community organizations through which we are able to place Sociology majors as student interns in 2-quarter positions during Winter and Spring quarters. Information about our partner organization as well as details about individual internship opportunities are posted below. Participation in any departmentally sponsored internship requires registration for SOC 404 in Winter quarter and SOC 399 in Spring quarter.

UW Sociology Internships offer dedicated UW undergraduates interested in service the opportunity to actively engage in public sector work with the guidance of a Sociological framework through academic credit. These unpaid internships provide students the chance to explore, contribute, and grow in public sector organizations that are committed agents of change in Seattle and King County.

Currently, we are working with The Federal Public Defender (FPD) Office in Seattle and the Probation Services Department at Seattle Municipal Court.

These internships offer high level opportunities for Sociology majors to gain exposure to and become part of the important work that our partner organizations engage in. Due to the breadth of on-site training and learning, these department sponsored internships require a 2-quarter commitment from student interns. Our Internship Program runs during winter and spring quarters of each academic year. For the 2019 internship cycle, we will have approximately one dozen intern positions available for students.

The internship positions are linked to our Practicum course, SOC 404: Sociology in Practice, Civic and Community Internship. All students who are offered and accept internship offers from partner organizations must also sign up for this 5 credit, graded course in winter quarter. In spring quarter, students earn academic credit by signing up for SOC 399: Internship Credit, a variable credit course that is graded CR/NC. SOC 404 is a seminar style class designed to give students practice in applying sociological concepts and knowledge to work experiences. Through readings, projects, papers, discussions and/or presentations, students consider how Sociology helps inform and enrich their internship experience. For Sociology majors SOC 404 can count as an upper division elective (or toward lower division electives). For non-Sociology majors, SOC 404 counts as an I&S course.

Students may apply for up to two internship positions. However, a targeted, carefully considered application for one position is often stronger than a more generic application for multiple positions. If this describes you: “I don’t care where I intern, I just want an internship; any internship,” you risk coming across as desperate, rather than as a mindful applicant who has given a great deal of thought to the kind of organization and type of work you would like to be involved in. If you wish to apply for more than one position, please complete a separate application and a position-specific cover letter and resume for each internship position.

While the internship organizations are different and each internship demands its own set of skills, strengths, and time commitments from the student interns, the positions also have many things in common:

  • All internship positions are unpaid, 2-quarter commitments unless noted otherwise. As part of the internship, students are required to register for SOC 404 in winter quarter and SOC 399 in spring.
  • Interns must be current UW students and priority will be given to Sociology majors.
  • As part of the application process, students will have an initial interview with Susanna Hansson in the Sociology Advising office. Finalists for the positions will then interview with internship site staff before their internship can be finalized. All interview times will be set up with students via email.
  • The complete applications of students who become finalists for an internship position, will be shared with staff at the internship location.  By submitting an application, you are allowing us to share all your application materials.

Below are brief descriptions of each 2-quarter internship as well as information about the associated weekly time commitments for each position. For detailed information about the individual organizations, please visit their websites before carefully reading the document called 2019 Information and Application for the position that interests you.

CourtWatch internships are not available for this coming year,

we apologize for any inconvenience.

The CourtWatch Internship at KSARC
Winter and Spring quarters 2019 (not available)

CourtWatch is a court monitoring program founded in 2010 by the King County Sexual Assault Resource Center (KCSARC), located in Renton, WA. It was established for the purpose of holding the justice system accountable for its handling of sexual assault and child abuse cases, and to create a more informed public. Court monitoring is a way to gather information about the courts by observing legal proceedings, as well as conducting research on individual cases, court practices and procedures. CourtWatch Monitors produce data to support anecdotal evidence about what happens in King County Courts; their presence also provides transparency in the legal process.

Observations and information collected by volunteer CourtWatch Monitors is used to improve court processes. Volunteers are trained to be unobtrusive observers, and to document both procedural and substantive information about the cases that they observe.

The CourtWatch internships are unpaid. This year, the Department of Sociology will be able to place up to four to six (4-6) student interns at CourtWatch. DACA students are welcome to apply.

CourtWatch Interns volunteer for at least one courtroom shift (3.5 hours/week) in both winter and spring quarters at the Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent or the King County Courthouse in Seattle. In addition, interns should expect to spend 2-2.5 hours/week reading background information on cases before shifts, as well as synthesizing and typing up observations after a shift.

The Internship at the Federal Public Defender (FPD) Office
Winter and Spring quarters 2019

The Federal Public Defender (FPD) for the Western District of Washington (WAW) was established in the spring of 1975 to ensure the Sixth Amendment right to effective counsel and equal access to justice for defendants accused of federal crimes. The office also provides support and training for lawyers who accept appointments to represent financially qualified clients under the Criminal Justice Act (CJA), the law which assures professional legal counsel in federal courts by paying an hourly fee for court appointed lawyers who serve clients without the means to pay for legal services.

The FDP Seattle office contributes research and support to both high-profile federal cases and more local defense efforts.  UW interns analyze case documents, reports, surveillance video, and recorded telephone conversations. In some cases, their research efforts have been instrumental in obtaining reduced sentences for clients. In complex drug cases, interns have created charts to demonstrate direct links between defendants and transactions.

The Federal Public Defender internships are unpaid. This year, the Department of Sociology will be able to place up to two (2) student interns at the FPD offices.  Students need to be US citizens or legal residents to qualify for this internship.

FPD interns volunteer for 10-12 hours/week during regular FPD office hours in the downtown Seattle location during both winter and spring quarters.
2019 FPD Information and Application

The Seattle Municipal Court Internship
Winter and Spring Quarters 2019

The Seattle Municipal Court (SMC) is the largest misdemeanor court in the state of Washington and has long considered itself the peoples' court. Through a Community Involved Justice model, the Court strives to make the justice system more effective by re-establishing links between criminal justice service providers and the communities they serve. Community Involved Justice initiatives ultimately seek to transform the way people think about crime - not just as cases to be processed but as problems to be resolved and relationships to be developed and maintained.

Working with defendants, observing court proceedings, and networking with court staff, will give students an understanding of misdemeanor probation, an introduction to multiple career paths within the criminal justice system, and offer student interns a better understanding of how the criminal justice system actually operates.

The Seattle Municipal Court internships are unpaid. This year, the Department of Sociology will be able to place up to eight (8) student interns at Seattle Municipal Court.

Seattle Municipal Court interns volunteer as Court Case Aides for at least 8 hours a week (two 4-hour shifts per week) during both winter and spring quarters. 
2019 Seattle Municipal Court Information and Application


Internships are meant to help students connect "real world" outside-the-classroom experiences to concepts and empirical findings in their major.  They can be a valuable part of the undergraduate major, providing experience critical to future employment or graduate work.  The Department of Sociology recognizes the value of internship experiences and we encourage our majors to be come familiar with internship opportunities; those offered through the department or the many opportunities available through the UW Career and Internship Center in Mary Gates Hall.

Finding an internship is similar to looking for a job.  In fact, students who take the time to prepare well for their internship search will likely find their job search post-graduation much less intimidating than students who have not engaged in an internship search.

Internships have three components:

1. The actual work you will be doing with mentoring and supervision at the internship site.

2. The academic part of the internship

3. The Sociological part of the internship

The typical older model was for students to find an internship, develop a proposal, find a faculty sponsor and then register for SOC 399 credit.  This process is described in detail below but we want to note that it can be challenging for students to develop a solid proposal and not all Sociology faculty members are able to act as sponsors.  In order to make it easier for students who do internships, the Department offers a small seminar-style class, SOC 404: Sociology in Practice: Civic and Community Internship, which includes component 2 and 3 above.  In other words, students who secure an internship on their own can sign up for SOC 404 in lieu of developing a proposal and finding a faculty sponsor.  SOC 404 is offered in Winter quarter and is an excellent complement to a student internship.  The process for students who secure independent internships for Spring, Summer, or Autumn quarters is described below.

Independent Internships

For students who choose to do an internship during Summer or Autumn quarter, the Sociology department offers an Independent Study model (under the SOC 399 course number) which allows students who have secured internships to coordinate their study with a department faculty member. SOC 399 can be taken for between 2 and 5 credits, depending on how many hours the student spends at the internship every week. SOC 399 is graded CR/NC.

Registering for SOC 399 credit involves three basic steps:

  1. find an internship
  2. find a faculty sponsor
  3. complete the necessary paperwork

Step One: Find an Internship

To register for SOC 399 credit, you first need to find the internship on your own. Here is a list of resources to help you do this:

You can also approach companies that you find interesting. Look at their websites and email appropriate contacts to ask about internship opportunities.

Step Two: Find a Faculty Sponsor

Once you have found an internship, you need a sociology faculty member to sponsor you. The faculty member supervises the academic component of the internship. The most natural "fit" is a faculty member whose research interests match the content of your internship. You might also approach faculty with whom you already have a working relationship.

When you approach a faculty member, be as prepared and as specific as possible. More concretely:

  1. Produce a written proposal that is as specific as you can possibly make it. This is a proposal for an academic project connected with the internship area, not a proposal for your site work. Remember that you are not getting credit for the internship itself or the work you do there, but for an academic project connected to that work (e.g., a paper, etc.).
  2. Email your selected faculty member and ask if it would be appropriate to meet during office hours. Offer to email or leave the proposal ahead of time, or to bring it when you meet.
  3. At your meeting, make your pitch and demonstrate that you are self-directed, motivated, responsible, and capable.

A student is doing an internship with an organization offering services to single mothers. The student needs to articulate the sociological relevance of the subject – to show why this is sociology rather than, say, social work – and provide a concrete proposal to the faculty member. Thus, "I want to get credit for working with single parents" is a good reason to do an internship; it is not a good reason to get sociology credit.

Sociology credit comes from an academic project done from a sociological perspective. For example, would you study single parenthood from a social problems perspective? From a criminology perspective? From a family perspective? From a gender perspective? These are the general areas into which faculty separate their own research; it is how sociologists think about their research.

A good approach might go something like this: "I am working at Youth and Single Parent Organization, and I would like to do more research on teenagers raised in single parent homes. I propose writing a 15 page essay on academic achievement among teenage girls raised in single parent households, assessing the arguments of authors on my proposed reading list. I will also use current research from The American Journal of Sociology and The American Sociological Review and data from interviews of staff at the Youth and Single Parent Organization."

This kind of proposal demonstrates that you have done background research, that you have a focused idea, and that you are self-directed and motivated. It provides evidence that you will be responsible and do good work without the faculty member having to guide you through every step. It shows that you are not a student just looking to pick up some easy credits.

Step Three: Complete the Necessary Paperwork

You can pick up hard copies of the relevant forms outside Sociology Advising Office (SAV 203). When you have completed the registration form, turn it in to the Sociology Advising Office, and we will register you for the credits. The number of credits you receive from your internship is based on the number of weekly hours you dedicate to your internship site.

Along with completing the SOC 399 Registration Form, your site supervisor must complete a Site Evaluation at the end of your internship. Give your supervisor the form (downloadable below) and have him or her send it to the address listed.

PLEASE NOTE: you can receive 2-5 credits of SOC 399 depending on the work you arrange with your faculty sponsor. The general guideline is 3 hours per week, per credit received. All credits in SOC 399 are graded C/NC. You can count up to 5 credits of SOC 399/499 (Independent Research credits) toward the Sociology Elective Requirement.



 Page Last Updated 10/2018.