Sociology, Criminology, Law and Society Internship Course (SOC480Y5Y) - Employer & Student Guide


What are the Goals of the Course?
What is an Internship?
What does U of T Expect of the Employer?
What are the Benefits to the Employer?
What does U of T Expect of the Student? 
What are the Benefits to the Student?
What can Students and Employers Expect from U of T and the Course Coordinator?
Students complete 200 hours of unpaid work for an outside organization by working one day per week between September and April. Students attend approximately one class per month during the academic year (September - April).
The SOC480Y5Y Internship in Sociology, Criminology, Law and Society is being offered for students in Sociology/Criminology, Law and Society major and specialist programs at the University of Toronto Mississauga.
Prequisites include: SOC205H5/SOC231H5, SOC221H5, and SOC222H5, 4th Year Standing, a minimum CGPA of 3.0 and receive the permission of the instructor.
International students should visit the International Education Centre to ensure they have the appropriate documentation required to work in Canada well before the start of the course/internship.


What are the Goals of the Course?

The primary purpose of this course is to provide students with an opportunity to apply—in a practical setting—the Sociology/Criminology, Law and Society expertise they have gained through course work at UTM. This is accomplished through internships, which provide students with a valuable opportunity to make personal contacts in sectors related to Sociology/Criminology, Law and Society. The course is also intended to help students to bridge the gap between graduation and full-time employment. Attention is paid to helping students acquire practical skills that will serve them in their job searches and, eventually, in the workplace. This course includes class meetings with discussion of theoretical and application issues relevant to the Sociology/Criminology, Law and Society, and the written and oral assignments contribute to the development of communication skills.

What is an Internship?

Students secure internships in workplaces where expertise in Sociology/Criminology, Law and Society is applied on a daily basis. The SOC480Y5Y internships are unpaid, but students earn a full course credit. Students can seek internship opportunities at municipal social service departments or non-profit agencies providing social services, social movement or community-based organizations working for social change, courts or parole offices, for-profit workplaces, or other organizations.

Internships take a variety of forms. In some cases, the “employer” may ask the student to complete an individual research project. In other cases, the student may take on a role within an existing project team. Field work, database management, or specific software applications may be involved, depending on the background, interests, and skills of the student. If the work is of a technical nature, the student may have to spend some time observing and learning the work. An employer may ask a student to attend a special training session. Employers may offer experiences that require intake, counseling assistance, community program development or delivery, or relevant field or office work.

To successfully complete the internship, students fulfill a work commitment of 200 hours (approximately equivalent to one day per week of the academic year). The scheduling of the work commitment is flexible, and is to be worked out by mutual agreement between the student and the employer. Possible arrangements include one day per week throughout the academic year or two half-days per week.

What Does U of T Expect of the Employer?

Our expectation is that the employer will provide the student with a project (or variety of small projects or tasks) to work on. We recognize that this represents a significant commitment of thought, time, and effort, because the employer must create a “niche” for the student. The work may be specifically designed for the individual student, or the student may be given a role in an ongoing project. We hope and expect that the student will be given “real” work to do, rather than work to just keep the student “busy.” In some cases the employer will need to provide a physical place for the student to work (an office, a desk, or a work station). In all cases the employer will need to spend some time orienting the student to the nature and requirements of the project or practical work, and monitoring the student’s efforts.

Once an employer has agreed to provide an internship opportunity, he or she will be asked to submit a brief project or experience description (half-page). This will include a brief narrative description of the job or project; a list of the skills required for the job (both academic skills and practical skills, such as writing or computational skills); and comments concerning any other project requirements, such as travel, special training, or required availability for field work or a special event. The internships are unpaid. The employer is also not expected to pay for the student’s travel to and from the workplace, although special costs may be reimbursed, as they would for any typical employee.

The employer will be asked to sign a workplace-education agreement form, which allows students to receive the appropriate insurance coverage while on the job. The cost and administration of insurance is covered by the University and by the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development; there is no cost to the organization providing the internship opportunity. At the end of the academic year, the employer is asked to complete a brief form assessing the student’s performance on the job; this will provide part of the student’s mark for the course.

What Are the Benefits to the Employer?

In exchange for the commitment to provide guidance, a project or tasks, and a work environment for the student, the employer will receive 200 hours of work from a UTM student in Sociology/Criminology, Law and Society. We hope and trust that our students will make a real contribution to the work of the organization. Employers also have an opportunity to assess the qualifications of UTM near-graduates. UTM is very interested in fostering working relationships with members of our community outside of academia; there are many mutual benefits to such relationships.

Some employers involved in these courses are long-time friends of UTM; some have supervised many students over the years. Some have hired UTM graduates, and some are UTM grads. Other supervisors are joining us for the first time; we welcome them, and thank all of our employers warmly. Employers who are in the early stages of their careers tell us that they value the opportunity to gain supervisory experience. Many feel that their involvement in this course will give them a chance to mentor the next generation of Sociology/Criminology, Law and Society experts, and to fulfill a commitment to the community—a chance to “give back.” We are very appreciative of the efforts of all our employers and supervisors; without their contributions, a course like this simply would not be possible.

What Does U of T Expect of the Student?

The student is expected to fulfill a 200-hour work commitment, according to a schedule mutually agreed upon by the student and the employer. If the 200-hour commitment is not fulfilled, the “employer assessment” portion of the course mark will be withheld. Students are responsible for their own transportation to and from the workplace, and travel time is not counted toward the 200-hour work commitment.

Students’ work will be monitored by the faculty and staff coordinators through phone calls, e-mail, periodic meetings, and, if appropriate, site visits. As part of the monitoring process, the student is asked to submit a Work Activity Log, in which a record is kept of dates, times, and places of work, and activities undertaken. Students are expected to attend all course meetings; a portion of the course mark is based on attendance at these meetings. The main content of the course consists of the work carried out in the internship and also includes written assignments and oral presentations.

Students accepted into SOC480Y5Y and sent to internships in the fields relating to Sociology/Criminology, Law and Society act as “ambassadors” from the University of Toronto Mississauga. Their work in these internships is representative of the work of all other U of T students. We hope and expect that our students will act as professionals at all times. We know that they will be reliable, cooperative, and punctual. We believe that they will impress their employers not only with their background knowledge, skills, and preparation, but also with their intelligence and their willingness to learn and to contribute.

What Are the Benefits to the Student?

Students receive one credit for completion of the course. Students gain valuable work experience from the course; the internship can be listed on the student’s resume as an example of relevant work experience. Through the internships, classroom sessions, and written and oral submissions, students will gain a number of practical workplace skills, including communications; job search and resume-writing skills; interpersonal and teamwork skills; and research. Students will also become aware of new developments that may have implications for their own future employment. Some students may come to the realization that they need to consider changing their career aspirations; others will find their “dream” job. Finally, students gain valuable personal contacts, reference letters, and–in some cases–permanent employment opportunities. On the basis of extensive experience with UTM students in internships, we know that the more effort a student puts into the opportunity, the more he or she will get out of it.

The course is also an opportunity for students to bring together the knowledge gained from the traditional classroom setting and the “real world”.  Working at an organization and hearing about the work of their peers at other organizations provides students with a chance to confirm and challenge what they have learned in their UTM studies to this point.

What can Students and Employers Expect from U of T and the Course Coordinator?

The University of Toronto is responsible for the cost and administration of insurance coverage for students involved in practical work as a component of their course work. Students who are working for an organization that has Workers Compensation Board coverage for their own employees are eligible for WCB coverage, handled by the University through the workplace-education agreement with the Ministry of Education and Training. Students who are completing their internship at an organization that provides private insurance coverage for their own employees are covered under the University’s comprehensive liability policy, through ITT Hartford. UTM will provide workplace-education agreement forms to be signed by the employer, student intern, and faculty coordinator.

The faculty member coordinates course activities, which includes approving internships for each student, in conjunction with the Experiential Education Unit. The faculty member is expected to monitor the student’s progress and to act as a mediator between the student and the employer, in case any problems arise. If necessary, the faculty member may make a visit to the workplace, to check on the student’s work and make sure that the internship opportunity is appropriate. At the end of the academic year, it will be the faculty member’s responsibility to gather all of the components of the course assessment and provide a course mark for the student.