Luther is part of a consortium of Lutheran Colleges that maintains a semester-long program in Washington, D.C. The main component of the program is a four-day-per-week internship. Because there is no vacation in the middle of the semester and because students work four days each week, employers know they will have a nearly full-time worker for fourteen weeks and, therefore, almost always provide the students with genuine work opportunities. The range of internship possibilities is wide, and the program has an internship coordinator who helps students acquire internships. A limited number of internships require early applications and even security clearances, but most can be attained with relative ease the semester before attending the program.
Students receive six credits of Internship (graded on a Credit/No Credit basis) and two credits of Directed Readings (a letter grade is assigned on the basis of the journal that students keep while doing the internship).
January Term is an ideal time to scratch the surface of a profession or activity. January Term internships almost always involve an element of “shadowing” rather than being an actual work experience. That is, one can hang around a law firm and get a sense of what lawyers do. Or one might choose to spend the month hanging around the office of a state legislator.
Students can earn no more than two credits for these internships. The grading is Credit/No Credit.
Occasionally, a student will take on a project that involves working a few hours per week as an intern. Recently, for example, a student helped the Decorah chapter of the League of Women Voters organize events and work on their website.
Students usually receive 1-2 credits for these internships. The grading is Credit/No Credit.
Students may do summer internships for which they can receive credit from the department. There are two options open to students. One, the college will allow a student to do a summer internship for two credits at no cost. The credits will be applied to the fall semester total and count toward the 36 credit total covered by the comprehensive fee. The grading is Credit/No Credit.
Students wishing to pay for the internship credits may earn more credits (consult with the Registrar to determine the cost per summer credit hour). Generally, we discourage students from doing this summer internship for credit because they cost extra money and because the internship experience will appear on the student’s resume and in the student’s cover letter for a first job.
On occasion, we still allow a student to spend an entire semester working in a candidate’s campaign for national office. Typically, the student will earn 12 credits for the semester. The student will earn six credits (Credit/No Credit) for the internship experience. The student also will earn two credits of Directed Readings, based on the journal we will ask the student to keep; these two credits will earn a letter grade. In addition, the student will do an independent study (almost always after the completion of the election but prior to the end of the semester). We will list this as an independent study and it will earn four credits, graded A-F.