Internships, Independent Study, and Research

Can I do an internship in sociology?

A: Technically, no.  The department does not keep a list of internships that we can place students into for academic credit.  If you already have an internship and wish to get sociology credit for it, you need to arrange to do an independent study with a full-time faculty member in the department.  The content of any independent study could certainly be centered around an existing internship, but we will not give credit for just the internship itself. Furthermore, we strongly encourage you to contact the Rutgers Internship and Coop Program (RICP) for advice and direction.

Periodically we offer a course with a service learning component, in conjunction with the Civic Engagement and Service Education Partnerships (CESEP) program at Rutgers. Historically, this partnering has most commonly happened in courses with a practical orientation and/or some pronounced attention to institutions that provide social services, such as schools, daycare facilities, nursing homes, and criminal justice-related organizations. Feel free to contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies for more information.

What is an independent study course?

A: Traditionally, independent studies are designed to allow for further study beyond topics in our regular curriculum.  This could be either to go into more detail about a topic you encountered in one of your sociology courses or to explore something that we don't regularly teach at the undergraduate level.  In certain rare cases, independent study may be used to get academic credit for an existing internship.

An independent study course must be done under the supervision of a full-time member of the sociology faculty.  We currently offer only 3-credit independent study courses, so expect the workload of a regular 400-level course, or more. Independent study is not an opportunity to satisfy program requirements the easy way. In fact, independent study typically only works well when the student and faculty member set forth clear expectations of the work involved, establish and adhere to a regular meeting schedule (preferably weekly), and set a deadline for completion of written work.

What are the requirements for an independent study?

A: For sociology majors, you must be of junior or senior status and have completed at least four sociology courses.  Two of your previous sociology courses must have been among our core 300-level courses for the major (311, 312, 313, 314). For independent study, you must have a GPA in sociology of 3.0 or better and a B in the prerequisites courses.

For non-sociology majors, eligibility is decided on a case-by-case basis, but similar standards apply.  B or better work in previous courses is generally expected.

How do I arrange for an independent study?

A: It is up to the student to arrange for an independent study with a sociology instructor. Almost always we require that the instructor have the title of Assistant Professor or higher.   Talking to instructors you've previously had a course from is your best bet.  Have some idea of what you'd like to do before approaching the instructor to ask about independent study.  If the individual agrees to work with you on an independent study course, you'll need to get written approval from the Undergraduate Director. Click here (pdf) for an independent study application.

I'm going to be one credit short of what I need to complete my degree.  Does the Sociology Department offer any one-credit independent studies that I could take?

A: Unfortunately not.  If you know you are going to fall a credit or two short, there are several options for you in the Sociology curriculum.  You will need to take a 3 credit course to finish the major or minor. This would give you a 20 credit minor rather than a 19 credit minor.  If you are a Sociology major, you could take a fourth core course (311 through 314) as an elective giving you a 37 credit major rather than a 36 credit one.  If these options do not work for you, set up an appointment with the department’s Director of Undergraduate Studies to see if other strategies are possible.