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Sociology Capstone

All information is current as of catalogue year 2023-2024. For catalogue years before 2023-2024, or for more information on available courses, please visit the Loyola catalogue.

Why is a capstone required?

The sociology capstone requirement is intended to engage majors in applying the knowledge they have accumulated about social theory and methods. It can be fulfilled in two ways: through an internship or through an independent research project.

What is the purpose of the sociology internship?

The sociology practicum courses offer a pre-professional experience for sociology majors, and form one option for the capstone of the sociology major.

  • Students complete a minimum of 120 hours in their placement site over the course of the semester.
  • Students participate in a weekly integrative seminar (35 hours).

The seminar and related written assignments serve to help students process and organize their experiences and make learning apparent. The seminar facilitates the student's ability to use a sociological lens to understand their placement organization (both how it operates and how its work is situated in relation to the structure of American society) and to understand their personal experience in the placement.

The practicum courses, inclusive of the internship and seminar components, have four specific learning aims: vocational development, intellectual development focused on sociology, personal growth, and community service.

Vocational Development

  • Students acquire/hone specific skills related to the tasks assigned in their placements: administrative, methodological/technical, organizational, interpersonal, etc.
  • Students acquire new knowledge about the "subject area" of their work site from internal documents, in relation to tasks assigned, and formal and informal mentoring.
  • Students establish a track record that prospective employers or graduate programs can use to assess their work habits and attitudes.
  • Students determine how well-suited they are in terms of skill and personality to particular kinds of work.

Intellectual Development

The internship provides students with a setting to apply their existing sociological knowledge (concepts/theory and methodology) and a place to acquire new sociological knowledge, and the seminar offers them a forum for integrating knowledge from prior course work with their practical experience in their placement.

Personal Growth

The internship presents students with a setting to

  • develop self-awareness and a style of professional practice that is consistent with their own personal strengths and weaknesses.
  • develop/hone their soft skills, including their ability to take initiative, to develop collegial relations, to negotiate disagreements, to organize, to motivate themselves, to prioritize, to maintain a positive attitude, etc.

Community Service

Many students serve in nonprofit organizations. Their 120 hours of effort is a significant contribution to the operation of those organizations.

Options for Enrollment

  • SC 401 - Sociology Practicum is the base course for all sociology majors.
  • SC 402 - Social Work Practicum is an option for sociology majors wishing to pursue future studies in social work, if they have completed appropriate coursework (SC 214 - Introduction to Social Work) and have been granted approval by the sociology department chair.
  • SC 403 - Gender & Sexuality Studies Practicum is an option for gender & sexuality studies minors with appropriate internship placements who have received permission from both the gender & sexuality studies director and the SC 401 instructor.
  • SC 498 - Forensic Studies Experience is an option for forensic studies and sociology double majors who would like to use an internship to fulfill their capstone requirement and have received approval by both the forensic studies director and the SC 401 instructor.

To complete enrollment in SC 401, SC 403, or SC 498, students must provide the instructor with contact information for their supervisor at their internship site. The instructor will then grant students electronic permission to register. Under extenuating circumstances, the instructor may grant sociology seniors without placements permission to register when the term starts with the understanding that they must secure a position before the add/drop deadline for the spring term (failure to secure an internship requires dropping the course).

Prerequisites for Enrollment for SC 401

In order to enroll in SC 401 - Sociology Practicum, students must have met the following criteria:

  • This course is open only to junior and senior sociology majors.
  • Students have completed SC 100 - Introduction to Sociology and SC 342 - Social Research Methods, and have completed or are concurrently enrolled in SC 355 - Sociological Theory.
  • Written or electronic permission of the instructor is also required, and is granted after the student provides the instructor with evidence that they have secured an appropriate internship (the organization name and their supervisor's name, telephone number, and email address).

How do I secure an internship?

Students need to locate an internship site and create a relationship with a supervisor, then contact the SC 401 instructor to secure permission to register for the seminar. In most cases, this will involve a formal application process (submission of a resume and cover letter) through a website or via email. Internship sites located through social networks may be less formal. The application process will take time to complete, and students should plan to wait weeks to learn the results.

This is a suggested plan of action to ensure you secure an internship of most interest to you with the least amount of stress.

The spring term before you wish to enroll, start learning about the sociology practicum experience.

  • Review the lists of past sociology placements for ideas.
  • Attend presentations made by students currently taking the practicum course in late April. Information about these presentations will be emailed to all sociology majors and minors.
  • Review the video presentations made by past sociology interns.
  • Attend the department's Career Night events to learn about the employment and educational trajectories of Loyola sociology alumni. Information about these presentations will be emailed to all sociology majors and minors. You might run across a career track you hadn't thought about exploring.
  • Review the video archive of past Career Night speakers' presentations. Many presenters are open to talking or emailing with current students about their careers. Check with Isabel Stevenson about the availability of their contact information.
  • Engage with the Career Center. Register for Handshake and craft your resume (the Career Center offers advice and templates).
  • Engage your personal relationships. Talk to your parents, family, and friends about your intention to complete an internship. Ask if they have contacts in fields in which you are particularly interested. Very good opportunities can be produced through personal networks.
  • Utilize websites that aggregate intern recruitment information (listed below) and explore how they are organized.
  • If you are a forensic studies and sociology double major and wish to use SC 498 to complete the forensic studies capstone requirement, you should meet with Dr. David Rivers to alert him that this is your plan. He can assist you in your search, and he must approve the site you ultimately secure.

The fall term before you wish to enroll, set aside 3-5 hours each week to pursue finding and securing an internship.

  • Attend the informational meeting about SC 401 that is held early in September. Information about this presentation will be emailed to all sociology majors and minors.
  • Attend the sociology department's Resume Workshop to craft your resume to highlight your skills.
  • Familiarize yourself with writing a cover letter (see template and example).
  • Review the lists of past sociology placements for ideas.
  • Run searches on the websites that aggregate intern recruitment information (listed below) to find possibilities. Start early, because some sites have early deadlines. Do this weekly until you have secured an internship.
  • Email and/or call sites on the recent sociology placements lists to ask about potential openings. Download the Internship Guidelines (linked below) so you can share them.
  • Explore the CCSJ for undergraduate student internship opportunities.
  • Contact the Career Center about locating particular kinds of placements and use Handshake.
  • If you are a forensic studies and sociology double major, meet with Dr. David Rivers to activate his contacts.
  • Meet with the SC 401 instructor to discuss your ideas and issues.

I have been selected by a site for an internship. Now what?

  • Send the SC 401 instructor an email with the organization name and the name, email address, and telephone number of your supervisor. If you wish to be registered under SC 402, SC 403, or SC 498, explain why (this will require some additional paperwork).
  • The SC 401 instructor will send the named supervisor an email with attached copies of the Internship Guidelines and the Internship Contract. You may be copied on this email.
  • Complete any necessary paperwork and background checks for your internship site.
  • Ensure that you track your first day of "work" or training.
  • When the SC 401 instructor grants you permission to register, do so ASAP.

Documents and Forms

The sociology practicum courses involve several official documents and require the completion of a number of forms. You will be supplied these by the instructor, who will also provide you with examples of completed forms.

The practicum course instructor will also provide formats and examples of resumes and cover letters, also linked below.

Internship Search Resources

Past Sociology Placements

Sociology students have found internship placements in varied organizations across the state of Maryland and remotely. Click here for a list of past placement sites and more information. The second column indicates the professional topic areas in which students have worked during their placements at the organization.

  • Criminal Justice and Law
  • Social Service, Advocacy, and Activism
  • Organizational Operations (Human Resources, Development, and Public Relations)
  • Violence against Women
  • Meeting Children's Needs (Education and Counseling)

Aggregation Sites for Searching for Openings

Organizationally Specific Internship Programs


Loyola's Social Science Undergraduate Internship Travel Stipend is designed to offset transportation costs for undergraduate students pursuing internships in the social science departments. Find more information here.

Research Capstone

Sociology majors can choose to fulfill their capstone requirement through an independent research project by completing SC 400 - Independent Scholarship Capstone. Under the guidance of a faculty member, students will conduct and document empirical research (qualitative or quantitative) or develop a field statement. Students then present their scholarship in a public forum approved by the instructor. Interested students must secure the commitment of a supervisor and come to agreement on the scope of the project early in the semester before registration.