Union Theological Seminary Academics


A Full Time Internship: FE 300/301

This course is designed as an independent study, consisting of a field site, readings, and critical reflection related to a full-time experience of ministry during a minimum of eight months of the academic year. This course consists of an out-of-seminary, supervised ministry, providing opportunity for intensive exploration of a specific ministry. The internship generally, though not exclusively, follows the completion of the second year of M.Div. studies. It is open to students as one option for completion of the Field Education requirement for the M.Div. program. It is also open to students who want to earn elective credit in Field Education.

Field Site Criteria

In developing an internship position, students are encouraged to use the following criteria as a guide. It is expected that the chosen site will have a relationship to a religious community or agency and not be isolated from it. The best internship placements will have the following characteristics:

Significant Educational Opportunity: There must be a reasonable expectation that the substance of the proposed internship position will contribute toward the student's stated educational goals and objectives.

Range and Volume of Responsibilities: The position should specify clearly the areas of work for which the intern is responsible. This work should have genuine importance for both the field site and the intern. Lines of accountability for the intern should also be clearly stated.

Independent Development: In order to foster the development of the intern's leadership strengths and abilities, the internship design should provide opportunity for initiative and creativity in stated areas of program development and for public representation in a leadership role.

Theology of Ministry: The interns and their supervisors and colleagues should be in general agreement regarding such areas as the nature and mission of the church and the role of the particular institution in society.

Compensation Guidelines

Base Salary: Minimum of $1000.00 a month. This may vary within the specific urban, suburban, and rural contexts. The main intent is to provide a financially stable environment during the course of the internship.

Paid Vacation. Two weeks during an eight-month internship.

Housing. Housing or a housing allowance must be provided. The availability and cost of local housing should be discussed with the intern and taken into account in providing compensation that will cover the cost of living accommodations.

Travel. Car or local travel allowance should be a part of the financial package.

Health Coverage. If possible, the intern should be added to the group medical insurance plan at the site. If this is not possible, the intern must subscribe to the Student Health Insurance at the Seminary

Academic Requirements

The Internship Agreement: The learning agreement must be submitted to the Office of Integrative and Field-Based Education before the beginning of the fall semester of the internship year.

Conferences: Interns have dialogue and evaluative discussions with the Senior Director of IFE at least three times during the internship year, at the start-of-year, mid-year (January), and end-of-year intervals. It is the responsibility of the intern to set up these conversations, which must be done in person, by telephone, or through e-mail.

Ministry Proposal: This proposal should be submitted to the Senior Director of IFE within two weeks of the beginning of the semester. It should be 2-4 pages in length and should include the following information: a) focus of the ministry in the internship year, b) learning goals for the year, c) methods of achieving these goals, d) bibliography of related readings, with a minimum of four books and three articles.

Ministry Case Study: This paper should be submitted to the Senior Director of IFE at the end of the first semester. It should be 5-7 pages in length and consist of a substantive theological reflection on a particular experience of the intern’s work at the site. See the following examples of the process of theological reflection: James D. and Evelyn Eaton Whitehead, Method in Ministry (Kansas City: Sheed and Ward, 1995) and Patricia O’Connell Killen and John De Beer, The Art of Theological Reflection (New York: Crossroad, 1994).

The Internship Project: This project may take varied forms and is decided upon through consultation with the on-site supervisor and Senior Director of IFE. It should relate in a specific way to a particular problem that the intern has discovered in the course of working in this ministry. The project should be 15-20 pages in length and should be submitted to the Senior Director of IFE at the end of the second semester. It should include research into the topic, as well as an account of personal experience at the site, theological reflection, and a complete bibliography.

Evaluation: The student’s self-evaluation and supervisor’s evaluation of the student are required at the end of each semester.

Final Conference: At the end of the internship experience, the student schedules a final conference with the Senior Director. The purpose of this final conference is to assess the work of the internship year and the learning accomplished, in accordance with the stated goal of the learning agreement.

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