The Criminological Sciences Internship

Educational vision on the internship

Through experiential learning the work placement contributes to the development of competent criminologists who can communicate clearly and correctly, who can expand, apply and share their knowledge through cooperation and who are aware of their social responsibility. Specifically students will practice and apply professionally oriented knowledge and professional skills during a work placement in an organization within the criminological domain.

Work placements differ from other forms of field experience by their comparatively lengthy duration and the relatively high level of autonomy students have in everyday practice.

The following goals are pursued with this course unit:

  • Orientation: getting acquainted with professions in the professional criminological domain.
  • Integration: the integration of contents from different course units
  • Reflection: considering and elaborating on the potential impact of criminological research in the domain in which the work placement is situated and critically reflecting upon one’s own functioning
  • Student employability: enhancing employability through experiential learning and the•  training of professional skills on site•  Autonomous application of research skills

Eligible organisations for internship

Our internships roughly focus on the following themes: safety, unsafety, criminality, human rights, criminal law, crime prevention, mediation and substance abuse treatment.

The criminological professional domain is very broad. Our alumni are engaged in a wide diversity of professions. Therefore work placements are possible in the following domains:

  • Public Police Services
  • Private Security (surveillance industry, financial compliance, ...)
  • Justice: public prosecution offices, prisons & other organisations for the execution of sentences, courts of penal law, …
  • Social sector: specialised youth care, forensic psychiatry, drug and substance abuse treatment facilities,...)
  • Policy: government departments engaged in home and justice affairs, specialized public investigation services (customs departments, economical inspection), N.G.O.’s, .
  • Research: academic research institutes, public or private organisations for scientific research on penal law and criminological topics.

Practical details of our internship

Our Master students (4th year students) perform a 300 hours work placement in an organization belonging to the criminological domain and participate in the daily activities to induce experiential learning. Students execute the agreed upon internship plan relatively autonomously and receive feedback on the process and the end result.

There are two periods in which the internship can take place: during the first semester of our academic year (from September until December) and during the second semester (from February until May).

Students start preparing for the internship at least six months before the actual start of the work placement. Our department has a list of suggestions of eligible organisations which students can use to base their choice on. Students always need to thoroughly motivate their choice in writing. In addition, students are allowed to introduce a new work placement post that is not on our list yet.

The content of the internship plan

The internship plan is drawn up in mutual agreement between the student and the work placement organisation. After all, our internship programme pursues a win-win situation for the student as well as the work placement partner.

Amply before the actual start of the internship period, our students will contact the work placement partner to participate in any selection procedures that are required and to discuss the details of the contents of the internship plan.

During these preliminary consultations our partners will thus be asked for input on general types of assignments the student can participate in and on potential policy challenges concerning their daily practice which are relevant for further exploration/research by our students.

The output that can be asked of our students can be very diverse. The assignments can for instance result in a written report, an oral presentation or can even be a series of smaller supportive tasks for the benefit of the work placement partner.

On the basis of the type of activities are students are engaged in during the internship period, different types of internship are possible:

  1. a research internship with a scientific research assignment as the main activity
  2. a work placement focussing more on the development of professional skills during which students have to integrate and participate in the daily work and caseload of the organisation and/or support its functioning by way of a set of tasks that are executed relatively autonomously.
  3. a mixture of the 2 options above

As long as the assignments and tasks the student performs contribute to an in depth understanding of topics related to the criminological domain, our department will support the cooperation.

Role of the supervisor

The supervisor supports the learning process of the student by allowing for a gradual learning process. He/she starts by introducing the students to the functioning of the organisation and its network of partners.

The supervisor further offers input and agrees on a set of general assignments and evaluates the timely execution thereof. We do not necessarily expect supervisors to personally guide our students on a daily basis but we strongly recommend regular feedback moments (on a weekly basis is advisable).

We also expect the supervisor the be available for and participate in mid-term evaluation and evaluation at the end of the internship period by telephone or online meeting with an Ghent University tutor). The supervisor will be contacted by our deportment to set this up.

Legal aspects

Everly work placement has to meet the legal requirement of our university and must be covered by a signed contract before the actual start of the internship period.

More information on the internship contract of Ghent University.

Each contract requires annexes on health monitoring

Information on travel insurance for our students.