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Internships for the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences

Selecting an internship site for the social and behavioral sciences is one of the most important academic decisions of your college life.

A good internship brings academic coursework to life, and provides work experiences and professional contacts that help ensure a successful professional career. Your internship is the foundation for your future. You have been preparing for an internship for years. People you  have met, courses you have taken, things you have done, and information you have collected throughout your life are all helpful in identifying and securing an internship. Like any strong foundation, its construction requires time, effort, and the proper tools. The ultimate goal is to help you identify and secure an internship that not only meets your academic objectives but also enhances your professional career in the social and behavioral sciences.

Steps

The internship Course is unlike other courses you have taken at Mercy. There are steps you need to take before the course begins to assure a successful internship.

Step 1. Register for the course. The course number is 399 for the Psychology (PSYN), Behavioral Sciences (BHSC), Sociology (SOCL), and Criminal Justice (CRJU) Majors. It is recommended that you register at least 6 weeks before the start of the internship as the next steps can take some time. It is also recommended that you take this course as a Junior or Senior (at least 50 credits completed) as you will be utilizing your academic knowledge in this experience.

Step 2. Decide if you are taking the course for 3 or 6 Credits.  If you are a Criminal Justice major you can only take CRJU 399 for 3 credits.  Students in Psychology and Behavioral Sciences and Sociology you can earn 3 credits for a 135-hour internship or 6 credits for a 270- hour internship. Most of your time will be spent at the internship site, and you will also meet with your classmates and professor over the course of the semester.  The default when you register for the course is 3 credits. Students who wish to partake in the 6 credit option MUST have this approved by the Director of Behavioral Sciences Internships immediately following registration for the 3 credit course: Deborah Aikens Ph.D, LMSW, CASAC-G (daikens@mercy.edu)

Step 3. Find potential internship sites. You will need to locate a site for your internship before the course begins. This is why you should register for the course at least 6 weeks before the start of the internship.

Go to Mercy’s Handshake site for possible internship opportunities and for instructions on how to apply for the position.  (Make sure to select “Advanced Search” and look for internships in your Career Community: Human Services and Education for Psychology, Behavioral Sciences and Sociology students and Public Service, Law and Government for Criminal Justice students).  You will also find a list of sites under the SSBS Internship List tab on the SSBS website.

Many students find their own sites. Is there an organization/agency in your area that hires professionals in your major? Some examples are hospitals, community centers, nursing or rehab facilities, drug rehabilitation centers, day treatment programs for adults with disabilities, nursery and other private schools, government offices, police departments, half-way homes, etc.   Contact them and let them know you are interested in an internship or volunteer position. It is important to note that many sites consider internships to be for graduate students, but have active volunteer programs. It may be helpful to contact the agency and ask if they have a volunteer coordinator at the site to start this process.

Step 4.  Obtain a site. Each site will have a different process, but most will require an interview to start the process. Remember that these are professional organizations and you should prepare as such. Career Services or your Pact Advisor can review your resume and letter of interest and provide interviewing tips and skills.  Once you are approved by a site there may be an extensive orientation and background check. Please complete this process prior to the semester starting if possible. See below for some Interview Tips.

 

Psychology, Behavioral Sciences, and Sociology students be sure that your Professor or Dr. Aikens (daikens@mercy.edu) have approved your site.

 

Criminal Justice students be sure your site is approved by Dr. Mary Cuadrado (mcuadrado1@mercy.edu or 914/674-7454)