Online Bachelor's Degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice

FAQs - Internship Track

What is the Internship Track?

The internship track is the course where students who are doing an internship at a field site put in the hours and complete the reading and written work to complete the course and earn credit for it. Students can clarifying their career goals and have “hands-on” experience they can place on their resumes, as well as contacts and letters of reference for future job applications.

What are the goals of an internship?

  • Assisting students in clarifying their career goals.
  • Recognizing “shades of gray” and social constructionism in behavior defined as “criminal.”
  • Appreciating the importance of integrity, honesty, and an ethical approach to a career.
  • Reflecting on and describing ways to bring enthusiasm and ethical leadership to a career.
  • Adding work experience to their resumes, networking in the criminal justice field, and earning strong letters of recommendation from internship site supervisors.

What are the advantages of an internship?

  • Students gain real experience with an agency in the CJ field
  • Students are able to work with professionals in the field, learn by “doing” and asking questions as they are participating in an authentic environment.
  • Students are able to place their internship experience and hours on a resume.
  • Students will have made contacts in the field through their internship sites, will have networked, and will be able to ask for letters of recommendations from site supervisors.
  • Sometimes an internship can lead to a job, though it should not be expected.

Can Police Academy training substitute for eight (8) credit hours of CCJ404?  

Police/Correctional Academy training may be counted for eight (8) lower division credits in lieu of the CCJ 404 Cooperative Education/ Internship requirement. Students should forward their certifications and course work to Angela Barrett (abarrett@pdx.edu) for evaluation.

How does an internship work in an online setting?

Students enroll in two 4-credit hour classes – usually over the course of two back-to-back terms. For each 4-credit class, they will fulfill 100 hours of internship work (200 hours total over the course of the 8-credit hour CCJ404 cluster). Students can expect to average ten (10) internship hours per week at their field sites over one of the ten-week terms. In addition to field hours, students will complete reading assignments and four (4) written assignments, along with an MS PowerPoint presentation for each 4-credit hour course.

Where should I look for an internship?

Students usually find internships in their own local settings with federal, state, county, and city criminal justice agencies (police departments, sheriffs’ offices, courts, district attorneys’ offices).  If cold-calling, they should ask to speak with someone who can give them information about internship or volunteer positions. The CCJO program can provide a list of the types of agencies where students have found internships in the past.

Why am I required to have a telephone advising session with Dr. Lindberg before enrolling in the internship course?

You must have an advising session with Dr. Lindberg approximately two (2) months prior to enrolling in a CCJ404 class in order to confirm the appropriateness of your choice and to ensure your readiness for the internship (e.g., appropriate field site, expectations, and attitude; as well as other considerations such as transportation, child care, internship hours, physical responsibilities). Dr. Lindberg will provide information relevant to your internship and work with you to eliminate unexpected events which may derail your opportunity to work with professionals in the criminal justice field.

What is expected of me at my field site?

Students’ obligations to the field site consist of the following:

  • Follow policies and procedures of the agency.
  • Ask questions.
  • Be willing and enthusiastic learners.
  • Behave in a professional and discreet manner.
  • Be grateful for the opportunity to learn in an authentic setting.

What are the expectations of the field site supervisor and other agency employees?

Field site supervisors’ (and other employees’) obligations consist of the following:

  • Allow the student to participate in a variety of tasks and experiences, based on the student’s interests and abilities, and the agency’s needs.
  • Provide guidance and insight pertaining to working at various positions within the agency.
  • Provide security training and safety equipment, as needed.

If my internship site supervisor wants me to begin the internship before the start of the term in which I am enrolled in CCJ404, will those hours count toward my internship?  

No. Only the hours a student interns during the period in which he/she is enrolled in CCJ404 may be counted toward the internship hours requirement.

What happens if I am unable to complete the internship hours within the term?

If a student believes he/she is unable to complete required number of internship hours before the end of the term, he/she should immediately contact Dr. Lindberg to discuss the matter and arrange an alternate method of completing the course.

What is a reasonable preparation timeline if I decide to go with the internship track?

  • Beginning of junior year – students should begin thinking about agencies where they would like to do an internship, taking into consideration: agency mission/focus; location; student interests; transportation and childcare needs.
  • Midway through junior year –
    • Conduct an internet search to learn more about several potential internship sites or visit the agencies in person.
    • Contact Dr. Lindberg to obtain a copy of either the Portland-specific or generic list of agencies where students have found internships in the past.
  • Beginning of the term prior to the term in which the student plans to do an internship -
    • Contact the two or three agencies to learn whether an internship is feasible.
    • Update a resume and draft a generic letter of interest (which can be customized slightly each time it is sent to a potential internship field site).
    • Be prepared to complete an application process, if required, and to go through a background check (expect it to take 2-6 weeks).
    • Before arriving on the first day, students should make themselves aware of the agency dress code, other relevant policies, and the driving route to the internship site.