Career Exploration

The Department of Sociology offers many options for students to find and prepare for future careers. Students may explore internship opportunities, which involve working in a social services and criminal justice related agencies for course credit.  Students earn internship credit during the school year, but may choose to complete internships while spending the summer off-campus.  Either way, internships are a valuable opportunity to investigate potential careers while still earning credit toward graduation.

What Can I Do with a Sociology Degree?

What Employers Look For

Many employers look for universal skills such as communication, cultural awareness, customer-centered focus, ability to problem-solve, and build working relationships. To be marketable in today’s work force, persons should strengthen their abilities be flexible while adapting to change in a technology based, highly diverse, and rapidly changing globalized society.  Skills such as resilience, problem solving and adaptability are valuable at work as well as in life.


The Department of Sociology highly encourages students to participate in internships. An internship is a great way to integrate classroom learning with real world situations.  Internships offer a planned program of observation, participation, and study in a selected agency.  They also give students an opportunity to explore a possible career choice and learn professional skills necessary to be competitive in the job market.

Internship Information for Students

The Department of Sociology at Purdue University gives students opportunities to receive academic credit for participating in the internship program with approved social services and criminal justice agencies.

The internship program offers a planned program of observation, participation, and study in a selected criminal justice agency. In a single semester, students may work 10 to 40 hours per week as arranged with their internship agency.

The sociology internship coordinator meets with each student prior to placement to discuss career goals and identify agencies of interest.  During the internship, each student should be assigned to a field supervisor who discusses the work that will be done and assists the student in determining placement objectives.


There are many benefits of internships to include:

  • Explore personal career choices
  • Develop professional work habits and improve communication skills
  • Gain hands-on work experience
  • Acquire new skills while applying classroom knowledge
  • Network with professionals in the field
  • Improve employment potential

Students must enroll in SOC 423-Field Practicum in Sociology to receive credit for internship participation. A grade is assigned based upon the satisfactory completion level of contact hours required by the school and the agency, as well as course requirements that include progress report, weekly journal reports, a final paper and performance evaluation by the agency.


If you are interested in a field placement or internship credits, please contact Career Development and Internship Coordinator Mr. William Coghill at


Agencies are not required to compensate students for participation in the internship placement with their agency. Many of the internship opportunities are non-paid, yet these agencies provide valuable practical experiences and professional networking to guide students’ career interest.


The listing below offer some of the agencies that provide internships for sociology students:

  • District Courts
  • State Government Agencies
  • Federal Government Agencies
  • Juvenile Delinquency Detention & Treatment Facilities
  • Local, County & State Police Departments
  • Probate Courts
  • Law Offices
  • Circuit Courts

Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907 (765) 494-4600

© 2018 Purdue University | An equal access/equal opportunity university | Copyright Complaints | Maintained by CLA

If you have trouble accessing this page because of a disability, please contact the College of Liberal Arts Webmaster.

Some content on this site may require the use of a special plug-in or application. Please visit our plug-ins page for links to download these applications.