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What is a Field Experience in Criminal Justice? 

A criminal justice field experience, also known as an internship, is designed to allow students to gain experience within a criminal justice agency while incorporating the experience with academic training. It is recommended for criminal justice majors who are not employed in the criminal justice system; however, practitioners may apply for the field experience in an area of criminal justice other than the one in which they normally function.

Who May Enroll in CJ 4380 or CJ 4680?

Students may enroll for Field Experience (CJ 4380 or 4680) if they are a declared criminal justice major, have completed at least 60 semester hours, and have maintained an overall 2.5 GPA. Students who have received transfer credit for field experience form another institution are not eligible for the University of Houston - Downtown program. 

How are Field Experiences Arranged?

Arrangements must be made for the field experience well in advance of registration for the semester in which the student will be doing the field experience. Students may not enroll for the course until approved by the CJ Field Experience Coordinator. 

The process is as follows:

  • Make sure that you meet the qualifications listed above.
  • Pick up a Field Experience/Internship Packet from the Career Services office (North 370).
  • Review the Career Services file of field experience opportunities.
  • Select the agencies you are interested in and make appointments with them for an interview. If they accept you, have them fill out the Field Experience Job Description form contained in the field experience packet.
  • Return both the Field Experience Job Description form and the Field Experience Application to the CJ Field Experience Coordinator. Be sure you indicate whether you are applying for CJ 4380 (three-hours credit) or CJ 4680 (six-hours credit).
  • Once the necessary forms have been returned to and approved by the CJ Field Experience Coordinator, the student will be allowed to register for the course.

Are There Paid Field Experience Positions?

Paid positions are very rare. Most field experiences are coordinated through the agency's volunteer office. In some instances the agency may provide a small stipend; however, most field experience positions are volunteer. 

Where Can I Do My Field Experience? 

Students are encouraged to select an agency that is representative of the type of work they are interested in pursuing after graduation. The field experience location must be taken in an approved criminal justice or related agency. Students are not limited by those agencies on file with Career Services. 

How Many Hours Will I Have to Work? 

Criminal justice field experiences are awarded for three or six semester credit hours. Three hours credit requires a minimum of 120 on-site hours and the six hours credit requires 240 on-site hours. It is the student's responsibility to develop a work schedule with the agency in a manner that is beneficial to both parties. 

Are There Any Other Requirements? 

A daily log of hours worked and activities conducted should be kept. Additionally, a paper is due at the end of the semester which ties the field experience to the literature addressing issues relevant to the field experience. 

Who is the Criminal Justice Field Experience Coordinator? 

The CJ Field Experience Coordinator rotates every semester to a different professor. If you would like to contact the Coordinator, please email or call: 713.221.8943

Last updated or reviewed on 6/10/14

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