Sociology & Anthropology

Individualized Learning and Hands-On Opportunities

Among the most exciting experiences you can have in your education are those which involve hands on, experiential learning in new settings. For this reason, we highly recommend that students explore internships, directed studies, and off-campus study (such as the Philadelphia semester or a spring term travel course), international study (either as a semester abroad, as funded student research, or as a participant in a Hanover "travel course"). Each of these can be eye-opening and life-changing experiences. Do not just let your education happen to you; seize opportunities and help make them a reality.

If you are interested in off-campus study, especially in the form of international experiences, see Uschi Appelt in Lynn Hall. Sociology and Anthropology internships are described below.


What is an Internship?

Internships in sociology and anthropology afford an opportunity to apply classroom knowledge to concrete experiences, cultivate professional skills and demeanor, and explore professional options. An internship should challenge the student to examine the social philosophy, purposes, and structure of the organization or agency involved in the experience, and to assess the student's education as it relates to that experience. If the internship is an academic one, it must be mentored by a faculty member and must involve academic content making it the equivalent of any other course at Hanover.

Internships can be enormously valuable when job-hunting time finally arrives. For students hoping to enter a human services field (such as social work), volunteer work and/or internships are indispensable, either for the job market or for entry into the better social work graduate programs.

Opportunities for Internships in Sociology and Anthropology

Sociology and anthropology are broad-ranging disciplines, covering many topics relevant to today's society. Therefore, the options for internships are also very broad. For example, many of our students are interested in working in a social service setting in order to explore the practical issues of providing for the needs of individuals in society. Another popular area is the study of bureaucracy and complex organizations, especially relevant for students with an interest in business administration or personnel/human resources. Opportunities are also possible in health care settings, in the criminal justice system, and in legal and political settings. Some students may wish to locate internships with an international focus.

  • Social Services Social services agencies offer a tremendous diversity of experiences for students. Examples include various social welfare agencies, family and child welfare agencies, and agencies which address specific issues such as substance abuse. Students interested in social work as a profession are particularly encouraged to do a social service internship. Students with an interest in women's studies can locate an internship in agencies which serve the special needs of women in our society.
  • Medical and Health Settings Given that the medical and health care industries are growing in our society, students often find that medical sociology and anthropology are of particular interest. Examples of settings include hospitals and well-baby clinics. Students interested in gerontology often intern at a nursing home.
  • Legal and Criminal Justice Settings The legal and criminal justice system offers opportunities for students interested in criminology or law and society. In addition to working in the court system, students could consider an internship with a law enforcement agency, a probation and parole office, or a facility for juveniles.
  • Complex Organizations The study of bureaucracy and complex organizations has a long history in sociology, and recently anthropologists have made significant contributions to our understanding of bureaucratic settings. Students with an interest in business administration can arrange an internship working with the management of a business organization. Students more interested in labor relations might explore opportunities with the personnel/human resources department or with a union organization. Religious organizations may also be of interest.
  • Educational Settings Students wishing to understand today's educational institution might arrange an internship in a school. While most students won't be teaching, other opportunities in public and private schools are often available.
  • Political Sociology/Anthropology Internships in political sociology or political anthropology would be possible both in governmental agencies (at local, state or federal level) or with various organizations (such as environmental organizations) interested in social, cultural, and political change.
  • Media One of the newest and most fascinating areas of sociology is examining media in society. Anthropology also offers insights into the cultural context of information transmittal, biases based on cultural assumptions, and cross-cultural comparisons of uses and impacts of mass media.
  • International Internships Students may be interested in internships with organizations which have an international focus or which are located outside the U.S.


  • good academic standing
  • completion of 4 sociology courses (for a sociology internship) or 2 courses in anthropology (for an anthropology internship)

General Procedure

  • Identify a clear set of learning goals; discuss them with the appropriate faculty member.
  • Locate an appropriate agency and arrange for an on-site supervisor; the internship office will help with this. Debe Barlow, whose office is in the Career Center, has many agencies on file.
  • Determine, in consultation with the faculty supervisor, the requirements for the internship. Please see the following page for guidelines; however, it is possible for the faculty member and student to decide to depart from this "typical" set of assignments.
  • Students interested in summer internships should talk with a faculty member during winter term.

Guidelines for the Academic Component of an Internship

An academic internship must be mentored by a faculty member and must be the academic equivalent of any other course at Hanover. Therefore, the department has developed the following guidelines regarding academic internships:

  • At the outset, a reading list will be established by the instructor and the student, perhaps also including the internship supervisor.
  • The student is responsible for staying in regular contact with the faculty member who is mentoring the internship. Specifics should be arranged with the mentor for each internship, but contact should be made at least once every two weeks to discuss insights, progress toward goals, and how theory from readings is applicable to the student's experience.
  • Many instructors also require that students keep a daily intellectual and professional journal which is given to or sent to the instructor weekly. Other professors may require several short papers or other written assignments during the internship as stipulated at the outset of the experience. These exercises involve introspection regarding the experience itself, one's personal and professional growth from the experience, and observations regarding how readings and social theories relate to interactions and observations on the job.
  • The paper which is due at the end of the experience should go beyond description, though there will no doubt be description of the setting and of experiences.

    The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate an ability to engage in applied sociology or applied anthropology. The aim is to show an ability to analyze a social setting, a program, and/or a set of interactions using the tools of the social sciences; in short, you are to integrate insights from courses taken at Hanover with a concrete field experience.

    The audience for this paper should be advanced level undergraduates who are sophisticated in social science theory (i.e. you do not have to define standard sociological terms and concepts), but who are not familiar with this particular setting. Keep in mind that if the paper is really a high quality piece of work, you may want to submit it as part of a job application.

    The criteria for evaluation may vary somewhat based on the specific project, but unless otherwise specified, the criteria for evaluation for the analytical paper will be: (1) presence of a clear thesis or central question which provides integration and synthesis to the paper, (2) demonstration of ability to apply theoretical material from the readings to concrete experiences in the internship (3) ability to move beyond description to analysis, synthesis, and evaluation of readings, and (4) command of the conventions of good writing (organization, grammar, sentence structure, spelling, etc.).

  • The oral presentation is to be delivered at the end of the experience to an appropriate audience at the college.

    The purpose of this presentation is to demonstrate an ability to analyze an applied sociology or applied anthropology social setting, program, and/or a set of interactions. The speech should go beyond description, though there will no doubt be description of the setting and of experiences as part of the address. A secondary purpose is to stimulate interest in internships among other students.

    The audience should be your peers: undergraduates who have a basic grasp of sociological/anthropological concepts and perspectives and who may be interested in doing an internship.

    The criteria for evaluation may vary somewhat based on the specific project, but unless otherwise specified, the criteria for evaluation for the oral presentation will be: (1) ability to describe the internship in a way that is appealing and holds the interest of the audience, (2) ability to move beyond description to analysis, synthesis, and evaluation of the internship experience, (3) presentation of one's self in a professional manner, and (4) command of the conventions of effective speaking.

Directed Study in Sociology and Anthropology


Students at Hanover College have the privilege of working with a professor one-on-one in pursuit of knowledge on a shared topic of interest not accessible through other available courses. The Directed Study experience can provide a dynamic opportunity for students to develop their knowledge of specific topics to a degree not easily achieved in other courses. But students should recognize that whereas they enroll in such a study as one of their standard courses, faculty take on the responsibility of overseeing a Directed Study in addition to their standard teaching load and other professional responsibilities.

Pursuing a Directed Study requires considerable personal initiative on the part of the student. Even if work is specifically assigned and laid out by the supervising professor, some level of independent study will certainly be expected. At the very least, students will have to organize their time in such a way that even without the multiple meetings per week of regular classes, they allot sufficient time each week to fulfill assignments and work productively towards the objectives of the Directed Study. The student should plan on blocking in and committing no less than ten hours per week to reading, writing and other studying for this course.

General Objectives

While each Directed Study will have its own specific objectives, shared objectives include increasing a student's depth of knowledge in a particular subject area and enhancing a student's research and other academic skills, including analysis, synthesis, discussion, and presentation (in written or oral formats).

General Procedure

  • Identify a clear set of learning goals; discuss them with the appropriate faculty member.
  • Determine, in consultation with the faculty supervisor, the requirements for the Directed Study--including the writing assignments and clarification of how evaluation of performance will be assessed. This may include determination of what percentage of the grade is based on the quality of discussions when you meet, how much based on journals or other shorter writing assignments, and how much on the final paper. A directed study is a different kind of learning experience, but it is not less demanding than a regular course.
  • Establish regular meeting times.

Guidelines and Expectations for a Directed Study

A Directed Study must be the academic equivalent of any other course at Hanover. Therefore, the department has developed the following guidelines:

  • At the outset, a reading list will be established by the instructor and the student. It may be developed, modified, or expanded as the course develops. Since the course focuses on reading rather than class time, it is not unusual for the course to involve reading six or eight books together, or the student doing research involving two dozen or more sources.
  • The student is responsible for meeting regularly with the faculty member. Specifics should be arranged with the mentor for the Directed Study, but contact is typically weekly for an hour. This is not optional! When a faculty member has set aside time to meet with you for an directed study, it should not be something you cut or miss. Any missing of these meetings is very likely to jeopardize your grade.
  • The student should arrive at each meeting prepared to engage in a comprehensive discussion of the readings. In a directed study, the burden of initiative for exploring issues rests heavily on the student. This is the student's opportunity to be pro-active in designing and shaping the direction of a course. Be responsible about that opportunity.
  • Some instructors require that students keep an intellectual journal which is given to the instructor weekly. Alternatively, the instructor may ask you to record (on 3x5 cards) questions and insights that come to you, and these may be used to stimulate your conversations regarding the material. Other professors may assign several short papers. Typically a final cumulative paper of twenty pages or so is required. This paper should reflect significant analysis and synthesis of course material -- as designated in the agreement with the professor at the outset of the course. The types of assignments specified above are typical but not binding. The specifics will be spelled out with your designated professor.
  • Directed Study courses are offered as a service and as a favor to students; they are undertaken as a work overload for the faculty member. Thus, deadlines and meeting times are even more important than those of standard courses. Please take them very seriously.

Off-Campus Study

There are many opportunties for off-campus study, including a spring term travel course and semester abroad. If you study abraod, while there are multiple chjoices, the programs with which Hanover has a direct tuition agreement and that have strong sociolgy anx anthropology options are Univerwity of Wollongong (Australia) and Bogazici Universtiy (Istanbul, Turkey). We have had studnets have extraordianry experietnces in both locations. We have a listing of the courses that have been approved for direct trransfer into our sociology or anthropology programs, so see one of the faculty members for that list.