International Development and Social Change


Internships provide an opportunity to gain insight and experience in development and social change through work in government or nonprofit agencies. Recently, IDSC students have had overseas internships with the Save the Children-Nicaragua, Catholic Action-Namibia, USAID-Ecuador, Care International-Tanzania among many others. Some recent Worcester- and domestic-based organizations that have hosted IDSC undergraduate interns include: Lutheran Refugee and Immigrant Services, International Rescue Committee, African Community Education Program, Environmental Defense Fund, Grassroots International, Oxfam America, Habitat for Humanity, MassPIRG, Aid to Artisans, among others.

All IDSC majors must undertake either an internship or conduct field research for academic credit. Unless the internship is part of a Study Abroad curriculum, you must seek prior approval and register the internship for academic credit through Career Services. You then register for ID 299 the semester during the internship to receive credit. If you have a summer internship, you should register through School of Professional Studies.

Per university regulations, any internship must last a minimum of 140 hours.

Tips on Seeking Internships and Internship Supervisors

1. There are many different ways for you to find internships. You can identify advertised internships through Clark's Career Services, or through connections made through the Clark Study Abroad programs. Many IDSC majors have also found internships through the Washington Semester Program or Washington Center Program.

You might also consider taking the initiative to send a cover letter and your résumé to small organizations that may not advertise formal internships. Many of them are willing, even eager to sponsor interns, especially if you are willing to work as a volunteer. The Community Engagement and Volunteering (CEV) Center can help you locate such organizations.

2. Be sure to think through the relevance of your internship for your IDSC major/minor. Consider the following questions:

• What size and type of organization interests me professionally?
• What kinds of skills can I offer and/or what kinds of skills do I want to learn?
• What will I do on a day to day basis?
• Is this particular internship relevant to my major [required] or specialization [encouraged]?
• How will I develop an “academic” component to my internship? In other words, what kinds of readings will help me prepare for the work? And, what kind of written paper will I provide to my Clark faculty supervisor when I’m done?
• Can I afford to do an unpaid internship? If not, what sources of funding will I seek to support me for this work? (See, for example, the Anton Fellowships in ISS).

3. To find a faculty supervisor, it is wise to identify more than one person in case your first choice is busy, on leave, or otherwise unable to advise you. You should contact him or her in office hours or by email by April for a summer internship. Remember, the supervisor does not have to be from the IDSC core faculty. Affiliate IDCE faculty or anyone else in the university may be willing to supervise internships.

4. At a meeting with the faculty supervisor, you will work out a plan of action, including the nature of your final product and the deadline by which your academic component needs to be submitted. Remember to bring the approval form provided by Career Services (Undergraduate Academic Internship Application) for your supervisor to sign.

For more information, visit Clark's Career Services.

5. Internships are taken Credit/No Credit. If you want a grade, you should petition the Dean of Students before undertaking an internship.

Internships Undertaken during Study Abroad or Other Clark University-Sponsored Programs

Many Study Abroad programs or semester-away programs sponsored by Clark University have internship components that are supervised by the resident faculty of these programs. In these cases, you do not need the supervision of a Clark faculty member. However, you must get prior approval from your IDSC major advisor (or, for minors, from the IDSC Minor Coordinator) if you wish to count this internship toward your major/minor.