Criminal Justice Practicum
Our practicum program has a rich history, with decades of partnerships with criminal justice agencies in Oregon and around the country. These partnerships have helped shape generations of professionals in the field. Our students have interned in hundreds of agencies in criminal justice and related fields.
Facilitating professional relationships between students and criminal justice organizations and creating lasting partnerships that are mutually beneficial to our host agencies and students, is a responsibility we are very proud of!
Our criminal justice students provide valuable service to our partner host agencies, who in turn, foster both professional and personal growth to prepare our students for the workforce.
It’s an amazing feature of our criminal justice and cybercrime programs!
The Practicum Process:
What is Practicum?
Students are required to take CJ409: Practicum as part of their degree completion.
The Criminal Justice practicum at WOU requires completing 33 hours of professional experience per university credit (4 credits = 132 hours) with a public, nonprofit, or social service agency related in the field of criminal justice or related fields.
Students may also take an additional 4 practicum credits, which will count toward CJ electives.
Meet with the WOU CJ practicum coordinator and/or your CJ advisor as early as possible to discuss a plan for your practicum!
Provided below is a sample syllabus for the CJ 409 course. Contact the Practicum Coordinator for the most recent version.
How do I find a Practicum?
Your practicum agency is to be chosen by you, in consultation with the WOU CJ practicum coordinator.
Do your best to start taking proactive steps to secure placement at an agency. Ideally, your search would begin at least one year in advance.
It takes time to research and narrow down agencies. Here are some links to give you some inspiration, but it is important that you meet with the WOU CJ practicum coordinator and/or your CJ advisor if you need to discuss your practicum ideas and questions before you get started with planning.
Note: The “Current Practicum Opportunities,” “Google Map of Potential CJ Agencies,” and the “Practicum Agency Contact List” are merely a suggestion. You should find agencies based on your own interests, career goals, location, etc. (See Practicum Essentials).
When do I register for Practicum?
Practicum experiences are completed during the junior or senior year of study.
“Late” planning is not ideal, but sometimes, unavoidable. Give yourself as much time as possible to find an agency and complete the process.
Once accepted by a host agency, contact the WOU CJ practicum coordinator directly so that your registration can be processed.
How do I register for Practicum?
Carefully review “CJ Practicum Essentials.” The Practicum onboarding process will typically involve:
- Finding an agency and securing placement at that agency
- Completing the student-university agreement
- Registering for the CJ 409 Practicum class
- Note: The agency may also need to complete an agency-university agreement for your Practicum. Contact the Practicum Coordinator to determine if this is needed for your agency.
Your practicum involves a process/agreement between you and your host agency AND the registration/process between you and WOU.
Is there anything special I should do?
EARLY and PROACTIVE arrangement of your practicum is absolutely vital.
Arranging practicum could be a lengthy process (depending on the agency, this may include background investigations, legal forms, contracts, etc.).
The sooner you get your process going, the better!
Many agencies register through WOLFLINK and post exciting opportunities!
Upload your resume and application materials.
For a more detailed description of the suggested practicum process, please see our Suggested Practicum Timeline!
Interested in the practicum experiences of our past students? Click on the link below to learn more about them!
Learn more about the Criminal Justice Practicum Program!
Center for Professional Pathways
Whether you are looking for help building your resume, prepare for interviews, or many other things to prepare you for an internship, the Center for Professional Pathways (CPP) is a great resource!
Consider taking the following courses offered by the CPP:
ICS 112 Career Exploration
You will learn how your personality, interests, strengths and values relate to your career choices, and learn proactive methods to explore.
ICS 113 Finding and Preparing for an Internship
Students will gain the fundamental tools to find and obtain an internship, including a better understanding of their interests, values, and goals.
ICS 125 Career Readiness
This course is designed to provide you with the fundamental tools to find and secure a job. Topics will include job search strategies, resume and cover letter writing, interview skills, and how to network like a pro.
For Host Agencies
Are you interested in becoming a practicum host agency?
Our practicum program welcomes agencies and organizations across the spectrum of criminal justice and related fields. Our goal is to provide students with diverse opportunity to explore their passions within all intersections of the field.
What is expected of a host agency?
Our program is designed to be flexible and to be generally ‘hands-off’. This means that the intern’s schedule and the work that is to be completed is negotiated by the student and the host agency. Although the work may vary significantly from agency to agency, internship activities typically allow students to spend time in a professional setting, participate in some of the activities typical of professionals working in the field, receive some training, make connections, etc.
How do I find a practicum candidate and/or advertise a practicum position?
Please contact Dr. Omar Melchor-Ayala to discuss practicum opportunities and to locate candidates.
We encourage agencies to register on WolfLink- an online service that employers and recruiters can use to post job, internships, volunteer opportunities, etc. for WOU Students and Alumni.
How do I process a practicum candidate?
Please follow all the procedures and requirements set forth by your own agency to acquire volunteers/interns. Students must complete all your agency requirements AND, separately, complete the CJ Practicum on-boarding process with us.
Omar Melchor-Ayala, PhD
Practicum Program Coordinator
Ask me about the Practicum program!
I look forward to hearing from you and the opportunity to discuss your questions. Additionally, please explore our website for more information about our degrees and programs.