The Forensic Science Department strives to provide eligible forensic science undergraduate majors with practical, real-world work experience in forensic laboratories through internships. Internships enable students to earn three academic credits while gaining valuable forensic science experience. The work experience will supplement classroom learning, introduce new skills, and provide insight for future career planning. Internship placements in forensic laboratories and other applied scientific laboratories are strongly encouraged. This internship experience will primarily consist of job-shadowing. Additional experiences will be at the discretion of the internship laboratory or its internship supervisor.
Students are responsible for arranging their own internships. Forensic science faculty are a good source for suggesting internship opportunities and crime laboratory contacts. Once an internship opportunity is determined, a contract must be turned in and approval must be obtained from the Undergraduate Director.
To qualify for an internship, an undergraduate student must:
- Be a senior (84 undergraduate credits prior to the internship semester).
- Be enrolled in VCU and in the forensic science undergraduate program for at least one semester prior to the internship semester and throughout the internship.
- Have completed/passed 27 credit hours of the forensic science core curriculum, including FRSC 300.
- Have a cumulative GPA of at least 2.75.
- Students and their supervising mentor must complete the Undergraduate Internship Application. Once this is turned in to and approved by the Undergraduate Director, students should request an override in order to register for FRSC 493.
- Once an override is granted, students may enroll during pre-registration, registration or add/drop.
Interns earn academic credit through completion of the following requirements:
- Enroll in FRSC 493 Forensic Science Internship.
- Work a minimum of 125 hours in the selected internship agency over one 15-week semester period or equivalent summer semester.
- Communicate with the Undergraduate Director (at a minimum) at the beginning, middle, and end of the semester. Discussions will include internship requirements and student expectations, mid-semester progress, and a final evaluation. Due dates for the mid-semester progress report and final assessment will be assigned during the initial communication.
- Maintain a Internship Hour Log of hours worked. The log will have, in columns from left to right, a record of dates, times at site, activities during each time period and total time (total time must equal at least 125 hours). The log must be signed and dated by both the intern supervisor and submitted to the undergraduate director at the end of the semester of the intern experience.
- Complete and submit (email to Undergraduate Director) a one to two page progress report by the deadline provided. This report should include a narrative detailing the internship duties, including the positive and negative aspects of the internship. A meeting may be scheduled with the Undergraduate Director to discuss the progress of the internship, or a discussion may take place via email.
- Be evaluated by the internship supervisor at the end of the 15 weeks. The Undergraduate Director will email an evaluation form to the appropriate supervisor.
- Write and submit (email to Undergraduate Director) a reflective paper by the stated deadline. The paper should be typed and 5-7 pages in length. Spelling, punctuation and grammar will be considered. This paper is to contain an assessment of the internship experience and involvement with the organization. This could include topics such as:
1. The main contribution made to the organization as an intern.
2. Something learned or observed and its link to a course(s) taken.
3. A significant event of the internship.
4. The most positive and negative aspects of the internship.
5. The most important thing learned as an intern.
6. Additional learning needs identified as a result of the internship.
7. How the internship will help in pursuing career goals.
This is a pass or fail course. Students who complete required internship hours within the semester, complete all written work by the stated deadlines, attend required meetings on time and receive a satisfactory evaluation from his/her internship supervisor will receive a grade of “pass.”
Interested students who meet criteria should contact the Internship Coordinator. They will be required to fill out an application to receive credit for the internship.