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Department ofSociology


Internships give students the opportunity to work and conduct studies in an array of different fields to gain knowledge about their passions outside of the classroom. Students will be able to experience first-hand what it means to work and collaborate in the real world, while connecting this to the material being taught in their classes. This professional experience gives students an ability to experiment with what could possibly come after graduating with a sociology degree, as well as prepare for diverse professional post-graduate paths.

Internships give students the opportunity to work and conduct studies in corporations, community agencies, government bureaus, political organizations, and professional associations. Sociology majors possess skills that many employers require. The sociology department requires an internship as part of the major. Internships are most appropriate for upper-division students, preferably seniors, who have completed several upper-division courses in their major and who have developed a sufficient disciplinary foundation to relate to specific field assignments.

Reasons to do an internship:

  • Helps you to stand out in a competitive job market
  • Helps with graduate school applications
  • Expands your resume
  • Makes contacts for job references
  • May lead to a permanent position
  • Enables you to explore a variety of career interests, occupations, and work environments
  • Allows you to apply classroom knowledge
  • Develops new skills and builds on your experience
  • Develops professional relationships and mentors
  • Increases self-confidence, leadership skills, and builds interpersonal and communication skills

SCU follows the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) internship criteria, which requires the following: "An internship is a form of experiential learning that integrates knowledge and theory learned in the classroom with practical application and skills development in a professional setting. Internships give students the opportunity to gain valuable applied experience and make connections in professional fields they are considering for career paths; and give employers the opportunity to guide and evaluate talent."


Cara Chiaraluce, Ph.D.

Course Description

The Sociology Internship/Field Experience Program is designed to provide sociology majors with the opportunity to work hands-on in the community, local or abroad, and to connect sociological theory to the broader social world and professional workplace. Throughout the quarter, students will actively apply their sociological knowledge to gain a deeper understanding of their field experiences, while developing a variety of professionalization skills. Diverse field experiences provide sociology majors with rich opportunities to explore the different kinds of jobs that majors can do, as well as provide students with practical work, language, and cultural proficiencies that will aid in their academic studies, preparation for graduate school, and job search after college. May be repeated once for credit, under certain circumstances and with the approval of the Sociology Chair.


Completion of Soc 35 and an overall GPA of 2.7 or permission of the sociology chair is necessary. Students must register with the internship coordinator the quarter before they wish to register for the course. Course restricted to Sophomore, Junior, or Senior status.


Students must complete one internship or field experience at a site of their choice that meets program requirements.  Students can enroll in SOC 198 while completing the internship hours, or after the completion of an internship. The internship may either take place during the school year or the summer. Students receive credit for their hours when they successfully pass the course. The bulk of the course work will be at the chosen field site, the remainder of the course hours includes: Attending class meetings and individual consultation sessions with the Instructor, a series of written assignments to enhance students’ sociological analysis and reflection of field experiences, a professionalization portfolio, supervisor evaluation, and a final reflection and analysis project.

What should I do now?

  1. Email Dr. Chiaraluce for a Permission Number to register for the course on eCampus. Once you register, Dr. Chiaraluce will email you a packet of information.

  2. Secure a field site and supervisor. See below “Resources to Help Find a Placement Site.”  Contact organizations directly to inquire about internship opportunities. Please note that students are responsible for contacting the agency, setting up the internship (including work hours, schedule, and duties), and securing a Supervisor. Keep in mind that many organizations require trainings or orientations BEFORE the start of internships, thus it is important to secure your internship before the start of the quarter. Start the process early and plan ahead!
  1. Sociology Department Internship Binder (Hardcopy)

    Check the “Internship Binder” for hardcopies of possible internships and site contact information. Binder Location: Sociology Suite Table (3rd Floor - O’Connor Hall). Cara Chiaraluce also has a copy in her office.

  2. SCU Social Networking Resources

    Connect with SCU alumni and professional groups through Switchboard and LinkedIn, and inquire about possible internship opportunities.

  3. SCU Career Center Job & Internship Search 

    Search the SCU Internship/Job online database using “HANDSHAKE.”

    When you get to the Handshake login page:

    • Click on "Santa Clara University Sign On" and use your SCU Network username & password to log in.
    • Here, you can: search for internships and jobs, participate in on-campus interviewing, and make a career coaching appointment.

    You can also read the online Job Prep Toolkit, which includes resume, cover letter, interviewing tips and more.

  4. Independent Research/Search

    Directly contact local sites that align with your academic and/or professional interests, or places that could help you to practice or gain a new skill (i.e., data collection/analysis, program evaluation, administrative duties, law or policy-making, direct-care advocacy work, support group leadership, teaching, working with specific populations, etc.) Think about your internship as a way to develop new skills, “try-out” potential career paths, develop or clarify interests, and apply your sociological education.

  1. Department Internship Fellowships

    The Department of Sociology is committed to supporting all students who wish to take advantage of the internship experience with three fellowships, The Alma Garcia Fellowship, the Marilyn Fernandez Fellowship, and the C. Power Study of Institutions Fellowship. To apply, contact the department internship instructor.

  2. College of Arts and Sciences REAL Internship Opportunity: Real Experience. Applied Learning.

    Award stipends up to $5,000 are given to College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) students conducting research, internship, or creative projects with a CAS faculty member, or, an internship in industry or a non-profit organization sponsor. Students are encouraged to seek out their own internship, research, project or creative work opportunity and apply for funding through this program.