University of North Texas

Division of Student Affairs

CJUS 4850

Course Description

The Criminal Justice Internship course is designed to give students practical experience in the field prior to graduation and affords them the opportunity to apply classroom knowledge to the practice of criminal justice. The internship serves as a gateway to careers in the Criminal Justice field by familiarizing students with the various career opportunities available in the field, as well as furnishing them with strategies for pursuing those careers.  Students must complete 120 contact hours at their internship placement to receive 3-credit hours and 240 contact hours to receive 6-credit hours. During the internship, students will complete weekly journals; weekly time sheets signed by their supervisors; and a summary term paper describing their internship experience.

Course Objectives

  • Students will gain exposure to and a greater understanding of the applied aspects of the Criminal Justice system;
  • Students will enhance their academic training with this practical knowledge;
  • Students will be able to better assess their career goals based on this experience; and,
  • Students will enhance their employment prospects as a result of this internship experience.

Eligibility

  • Received a favorable grade in CJUS 2100 (or equivalent CJUS introductory course);
  • Completed at least 12 additional hours of Criminal Justice coursework (4 courses);
  • Received departmental consent to participate in the internship course; and,
  • Secured an internship placement with an approved agency prior to enrolling in the course;

Course Requirements

  • Completion of the “up front” paperwork (enrollment form, liability release form).
  • Written verification that the syllabus has been read and course requirements are understood.
  • Regular and punctual attendance at internship placement;
  • Professional appearance and demeanor as well as exemplary behavior during your internship;
  • Completion of a journal of daily activities – submitted weekly;
  • Verification of time sheets – signed by supervisor and submitted weekly;
  • Completion of term paper; and,
  • Completion of formal evaluation by internship agency supervisor.

In addition to the preceding information, the following is offered to assist students and advisors in making informed decisions about participation in the course and the optimal timing of that participation, and the options available:

The Internship course may be taken for a maximum of six semester hours of credit.  This six hours may be taken during a single semester or in three hour increments during different semesters.  Students may also elect to take the course a single time for three hours of credit. In deciding whether to participate, and to what extent, students should consider their other obligations and whether they will have sufficient time to commit to the internship experience.

The internship course is offered during each of the regular academic semesters, and as a ten-week course during the Summer term.  During a regular semester, students will need to average 8 hours per week at their host agency for three hours of credit and 16 hours per week for six hours of credit.  Participation during the summer, weekly participation will necessarily increase.

Since one of the objectives of the course is to enhance the “career readiness” of participating students, it is recommended that students plan to do an internship no sooner than during their junior year, and preferably during their senior year or the preceding summer term.

Students are responsible for securing their own internship placement.  The Internship Coordinator is available to discuss internship options and to provide advice/direction on the process of obtaining an internship, but the ultimate responsibility lies with the student and students will not be allowed to register for the course without first having secured a placement.  Students frequently ask about the existence of “paid” internships.  Most are unpaid, and while a limited number of paid internships exist, experience has shown these do not necessarily provide the best experience in terms of student learning.  Present policy does not allow a student’s past or current employment to serve as an internship experience.

Internships with a criminal justice agency are highly desired positions and the process is often competitive.  Additionally, UNT is only one of several schools in the area with students seeking these opportunities.  The potential benefits of such an experience are considerable however, and students should be encouraged to do all they can to make themselves competitive with other applicants.  This includes attention to their personal conduct, academic performance, and other relevant aspects before seeking an internship.

Students with issues of personal conduct, including but not limited to prior criminal arrests/convictions, should candidly discuss these issues with the agency they are seeking to intern with to determine whether the issue(s) will make them ineligible to serve as an intern.  Any student accepted as an intern, and later dismissed due to the existence of a personal issue not disclosed at the time of application, will be ineligible for further consideration in the course.     

Due to the interest in these opportunities, students are highly encouraged to begin their efforts to secure an internship a minimum of one semester prior to the one in which they plan to actual enroll in the course.  Additionally, the time involved in the application process and background investigation required by many agencies demonstrate the need for planning.

Students seeking to participate in an internship should understand this opportunity is a privilege, and is subject to approval by the Criminal Justice Department.  While in these positions, students are representatives of both the department and University of North Texas.  Positive experiences will provide incentive for host agencies to accept additional students in the future, while negative experiences will hinder that effort.  Students not prepared to conduct themselves in a professional manner, and to view the opportunity as an important part of their professional development, should consider other course options.