Prospective Interns

Zulemaspeed screening


JS students should begin thinking about the kind of internship setting they would like to work in by the beginning of the junior year, and should begin the process of applying for specific internship opportunities during the semester before they intend to enroll. The first step is to read our Internship FAQ, which should answer the majority of your initial questions. The second step is to download and review the common JS 181 (internship) course syllabus. When the course goals are understood, it is time to find an internship placement.

Please apply to several internships, as some agencies are competitive. To find an internship placement, begin by reviewing our department's internship opportunities page, followed by the university's internship opportunities page, and then SJSU Handshake.  You can also meet with internship faculty advisers, attend internship informational meetings/lectures, peruse SJSU's Internship Resources page, and/or contact agencies directly about the internships they offer. Those students interested in working with agencies that require extensive background checks (such as most federal agencies and many state agencies) should start the application process at least six months to a year before they plan to register. Ultimately it is the student’s responsibility to find an appropriate internship site in a timely manner; failure to do so may delay the student’s graduation.


There are several steps to registering for the internship class (JS 181).

  1. During the registration period (typically starting in April or November) for the planned internship semester, prospective interns must fill out the Internship Add Code Application. This application is used to assign students to an internship adviser and to distribute add codes for each adviser's JS 181 course section.
  2. Submit required paperwork to the Justice Studies Department. Paperwork may be dropped off at MH 524 or emailed to
    1. Unlisted internship sites require approval in advance from Internship Coordinator.
    2. All paperwork must be complete.
    3. The deadline for submitting paperwork is Friday of the first full week of classes.
  3. Students receive email stating approval with an add code and section number, or disapproval and reasons why. Students may not register for an internship section until an add code is received.
  4. With the add code in hand, login to MySJSU and add the course. If you proceed all the way to step 3 on the site and see a green check mark, you have successfully added the course. 

Adding the course, however, does not guarantee an internship. Students must maintain good relationships with and availability for the submitted internship site. Students who do not may be dropped from the class or receive a grade of 'NC' for the course. 

Many internships--including federal law enforcement--may require prolonged application processes, often starting with submitting materials online. Students should begin looking for internships several months (or even years, e.g., see US Secret Service) in advance of signing up for the class. 

After locating an internship (and having gained approval from the Internship Coordinator if seeking an unlisted internship) students need to formally meet with the person that will be the internship supervisor (the person to whom one reports at the agency). Students should take the Agency and Student Internship Agreement and the Internship Registration Form to that meeting so that the supervisor and the student can sign the documents together (please leave the course instructor signature blank as it will be signed later). Once both documents are signed, submit them to the Justice Studies Office (524 MQH or, subject, "Internship Paperwork") by the first week of classes.


Students may not satisfy the internship requirement with a placement that is not approved in advance by the Justice Studies Department. Periodically, a student will find an internship placement that is not on the list of approved internships. In such cases, the student must gain approval from the Internship Coordinator or Department Chair. To get this approval, the internship must meet the following criteria:

    1. The mission and values of the organization must be consistent with those of the Justice Studies Department.
    2. The intern will do work that is instrumental to advancing the mission of the organization. No more than 20% of internship time may be used for mundane tasks such as clerical work, observations, or answering phones.
    3. Students will have the opportunity to complete 120 hours of service within the internship semester or summer session.
    4. There will be a designated supervisor who will agree to be responsible for overseeing the intern's work, reporting the intern's hours, and evaluating the intern at the end of the semester or summer session.
    5. The organization will enter into formal agreement over the parameters of each intern's placement.

To request approval for an unlisted internship, the student must submit two things to MH 524 or to the Internship Coordinator: 1) a quality assurance letter on organization letterhead signed by the supervisor at the agency, and 2) a Request for Approval of Unlisted Internship Form. The quality assurance letter must clearly spell out the mission and values of the organization, the duties that the intern would perform, and guarantee that the internship will meet the criteria above. Only after gaining written approval from the Internship Coordinator or the Chair may the student enroll in JS 181 with that placement.


Each internship faculty adviser establishes his or her own internship meetings schedule. By the first meeting, students must be in good standing with the approved internship. Any student not in compliance will be dropped from the internship for that semester or session. Students must take the Internship Meetings Sheet to each of the required internship class meetings and have it signed by the faculty adviser--the meetings sheet documents that the student attended the FOUR required meetings with an adviser. At the final meeting of the semester, the student will submit to the faculty advisor the Intern Performance Evaluation that the internship supervisor used to rate their performance. (There is also a Current Interns page for students enrolled in the internship.)


In rare cases, a student may be granted a substiution of the internship requirement. This will occur only when students can demonstrate extensive experience has already been obtained in their area of interest (e.g., having an established career in criminal or social justice, having extensive prior volunteer experience in one's field). Such students may be granted permission to substitute another 3-unit Justice Studies course for JS 181. The substitutions typically involve taking Individual Studies (JS 180), Themis Journal (JS 182), Directed Readings (JS 184), or another writing intensive course. 

Any student wishing to substitute the internship course must speak to the Internship Coordinator and request the substitution using the following form (pdf). Requesting a substitution does not mean that it is approved. Only formal written approval will be accepted as proof of a substitution. Save the written approval for graduation advising. If denied, the decision is final with no appeal.