While few occupations include “sociologist” in their title, government, non-profit, union, business, and other employers in a wide range of fields actively recruit college graduates with degrees in Sociology. The skills acquired as you complete your undergraduate or graduate degree prepare you for a wide range of occupations. You will enter the highly competitive job market with a broad understanding of social processes and social structures. You will have learned critical thinking and analytical skills, you will know how to design and conduct research to develop solutions for real world problems, and you will be skilled in presenting your research with clarity and compelling logic. One effective way to prepare yourself for a rewarding career is to gain practical experience while still in college. Internships, volunteering, and other work experiences provide opportunities to develop your skills and learn from and build personal ties with other professionals.
What are the benefits of an internship?
Internships help you develop professional skills and broaden your professional network.
- Internships provide work experience, a valuable plus as your enter the highly competitive marketplace. Important as well is the opportunity to develop contacts that will prove useful when you graduate. Just as important as the social networking you use to keep in touch with friends and family are the professional networks that will lead to getting a job. Think of an internship as the first link in your professional network.
- Internships strengthen your resume. With more and more students doing internships, employers are coming to expect to see them listed on the resumes of potential employees. Your success as an intern provides evidence of both your work ethic and your skills in working with others.
Internships enable you to explore different careers.
- If you are not sure about the type of career you want to pursue, the internship experience offers an opportunity to explore an occupation or industry. In addition, you can choose courses that will fit in with your long term career goals.
Internships integrate classroom learning with real world experience.
- Internships link classroom learning real world experiences. The hands-on experience gained through an internship deepens sociological and anthropological knowledge.
Students who complete internships evaluate their experiences as satisfying and enjoyable.
- For many students engaged in programs that serve the community an internship is a means of “making a difference” in the lives of others, whether through direct experience with under-served populations or through participation in developing policy initiatives that lead to practical solutions to social challenges in communities.
What are the eligibility requirements for internship?
To be eligible to receive academic credit for an internship (SOCI 416/616), students must have an overall GPA of 2.75 and have completed SOCI 101, Introductory Sociology or another course in Sociology at Mason.
How do I enroll in the internship course, SOCI 416/616?
Step 1: Begin your Internship Search
- Visit University Career Services for help preparing your resume and cover letter. Use HireMason to search for internships.
- Talk with the Sociology Internship Director about possible areas of interest and opportunities.
- Search online for organizations or positions in your area of interest. For example, if an internship with the Federal or local governments seems attractive, students can search websites that include links to volunteer or internship opportunities and requirements. Some of these internships require a longer lead time, with deadlines for applications being set months ahead, so students should think ahead.
- Talk with your professors, classmates, colleagues, and academic advisor about opportunities for interning. The importance of personal networking should never be overlooked, so use social and business networks.
- Review the list below for a snapshot of organizations with volunteer and internship opportunities.
Step 2: Apply for Internships
- Submit your application, resume, and cover letter directly to the organization. Be aware if references are needed and provide names on your resume.
- Check with the Sociology Internship Director to make sure the internship will qualify for course credit. Through this process the University can ensure that the sponsoring organization understands the nature of internships and their linkage to your academic work. For example, Mason requires that 50% or more of the student’s internship tasks be career related and helpful to the student in building academic knowledge.
- After you have preliminary discussions with a possible internship contact, you should make an appointment to see the Sociology Internship Director who will provide you with the necessary forms to take to your prospective sponsor and discuss learning objectives and requirements.
Step 3: Complete the Internship Course Application Materials
- Upon obtaining an internship and receiving approval from the Sociology Internship Director to pursue the internship for academic credit, submit the following forms for enrollment in SOCI 416/616:
- Please note that these forms must be submitted by the regular course add deadline for the semester in which you are requesting to take the internship course.
- Also note that SOCI 416/616 is a course and tuition will be charged accordingly.
Potential Internship Sites
Most of the following organizations, unions, and agencies have hosted Mason Sociology interns in the past, or have expressly indicated that they would welcome applications from our students in the future. Listings in bold represent recent internships or requests for interns (2020-2021).
We also encourage you to check out the excellent directory of community organizations and initiatives maintained by SAIL at Mason: https://sail.gmu.edu/get-involved/community-partner-information-list