UW Sociology Internships offer students academic credit while doing public sector work. These unpaid positions let you explore, contribute to, and grow in organizations committed to change in Seattle and King County. Internships give Sociology majors experience in the important work of our partner organizations.
Because of the need for on-site training, department-sponsored internships require a two-quarter commitment. Internship Program runs during Winter and Spring quarters of each academic year.
While partner organizations differ and each internship demands different skills, strengths, and time commitments, all our positions have much in common:
- Internship positions are unpaid and require a two-quarter commitment. Registering for SOC 404 in Winter is required. Students may additionally register for SOC 399 in Spring for academic credit.
- Interns must be current UW undergraduates, and we prioritize Sociology majors.
- When applying, students will first interview with Susanna Hansson in the Sociology Advising office. Finalists will then interview with partner site staff before the internship can be finalized. All interview times will be arranged via email.
- Completed applications will be shared with internship site staff. By submitting an application, you authorize us to share all application materials, including your academic records.
Internship course credit is provided through the Sociology Practicum course, SOC 404. All students who accept internships must sign up for this 5-credit, graded course in Winter Quarter. (In Spring Quarter, interns may earn academic credit by taking SOC 399, a variable credit course that is graded CR/NC.) SOC 404 is taught seminar style. Students practice applying sociological concepts to their work experiences. Through readings, projects, papers, discussions and presentations, students consider how Sociology informs and enriches 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.
Preparing Your Application
Students may apply for two internship positions. However, a carefully considered, targeted application for one position is often stronger than a more generic application for two. If you opt to apply for more than one internship, please complete a separate application for each, with a position-specific cover letter and resume.
Applications will vary, but a strong application will showcase your individual strengths and respond directly to the specific internship’s requirements and prompts. For additional help putting together your application, you may schedule an appointment with an advisor.
Winter and Spring Quarters 2020
Federal Public Defender Internship
The Federal Public Defender’s office (FPD) for the Western District of Washington was established in 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 under the Criminal Justice Act, the law which assures professional legal counsel in federal courts by paying for court-appointed lawyers to serve clients without the means to pay.
The FPD 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 has been instrumental in obtaining reduced sentences for clients. In complex drug cases, interns have created charts to demonstrate direct links between defendants and transactions.
This year, the Department of Sociology will 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.
Seattle Municipal Court Internship
The Seattle Municipal Court 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 them a better understanding of how the criminal justice system actually operates.
This year, the Department of Sociology will 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.
Independent Research (SOC 399)
For those who find internships during Summer or Autumn quarter, the Sociology department offers an Independent Study (SOC 399) which allows students who have independently-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 site each week. SOC 399 is graded CR/NC.
Step One: Find an Internship
To register for SOC 399 credit, you first need to find an internship on your own. Here is a list of resources to help you do this:
- Sociology Blog
- The Carlson Leadership and Public Service Office cultivates and publicizes internships in the public sector (community-based organizations, government agencies, and educational institutions).
The UW Career and Internship Center offers internship listings and other career related resources.
Step Two: Find a Faculty Sponsor
A faculty member must supervise the academic component of your internship. The most natural "fit" is a faculty member whose research topics 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 as possible..
- Prepare a written research proposal; make it as specific as possible. Proposals must outline an academic project connected with the internship, not just describe your internship. You earn academic credit not for your internship work, but for a scholarly project connected to it (e.g., a paper, etc.).
- Email your selected faculty member to request a meeting time to discuss your proposed project. Offer to email or leave the proposal ahead of time, or to bring it when you meet.
- At your meeting, pitch your project, taking care to demonstrate that you are self-directed, motivated, responsible, and capable.
Step Three: Complete the Necessary Paperwork
You can pick up the relevant forms at the Sociology Advising Office (SAV 203). When you have completed the registration form, turn it in to Sociology Advising, 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.
SOC 399 REGISTRATION FORM
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.
SOC 399 SITE EVALUATION
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.
Independent Research (SOC 499)
Independent research (SOC 499) in sociology allows students to work closely with faculty on current faculty research projects or on student and faculty designed projects. Similar to internships, independent research can be a valuable part of the undergraduate program, providing experience critical to future employment and graduate work.
Independent research is best suited to students who have a particular research subject they want to investigate and are prepared to find a faculty sponsor and work closely with them on either a jointly designed or already existing research project. Independent study is normally open only to juniors and seniors. Students must provide a written proposal outlining the objectives and research strategy of their project.
Students interested in independent research should also be aware of SOC 494, the Sociology Practica. Practica courses are organized by the department in cooperation with local organizations like schools, businesses, and government programs to immerse sociology students in real-world projects and help them gain valuable experience beyond the classroom.
Students may also receive 2-5 credits through SOC 499. Registering for SOC 499 credit involves two steps:
- Find a faculty supervisor
- Complete the SOC 499 Registration Form
Step One: Find a Faculty Supervisor
Think about contacting a faculty member whose class you enjoyed taking or whose research area interests you. You can also look at faculty areas of interest and/or ongoing research to find a faculty member or project that interests you and then contact that faculty member via email.
Step Two: Complete the SOC 499 Registration Form
You can pick up a hard copy of the SOC 499 Registration Form outside the Sociology Advising Office (SAV 203), or access it below. When your faculty sponsor has signed your form and you have attached your research proposal, turn it in to the Sociology Advising Office and we will register you for the credits.