Part-time Internship with Practicum
The Part-time Internship with Practicum (REL 3986/7) is one of the most important ways that YDS partners with churches, schools, and other institutions in the theological education and formation of individuals for ministry. Sites participating in the internship program represent a broad range of denominations, theologies, and missions. They include parishes, campuses, and both faith-based and secular community organizations. Students participating in the program are an equally diverse group. While supervised ministry is a requirement of the Master of Divinity degree, it is open to all YDS students in degree programs. As educational programs of Yale University, all internships must be open to all students regardless of sex, race, age, disability, veteran status, or sexual orientation.
Each site has a trained supervisor (or a supervisor and a theological mentor) who directs and supports the student’s experience and engages in theological reflection with the student. The YDS program is built around the mentoring relationship between individuals. The importance of this relationship explains how potential supervisors are chosen: they have the qualities of a good mentor, they have extensive experience or participate in training in supervision, they commit to meeting weekly with interns, and they collaborate in regular assessment. The supervisory relationship is really the heart of the educational and formational process for interns. This is not to discount the importance of the tasks interns perform, nor of the value to them of being exposed to sites where ministry is flourishing; it simply means that the learning all comes together in the supervision they receive.
A supervised ministry site must be able to:
- Provide significant tasks that a student can accomplish and learn from on a part-time and short-term (9-month) basis;
- Enable a student to function in roles appropriate to their status as students in formation;
- Give a student an opportunity to work with people on serious issues;
- Facilitate a student’s learning through conversation and reflection.
The Course REL 3986/7
Part-Time Internship with Practicum is a course in the YDS curriculum and should not be construed as a job. (If a site would like to employ a YDS student, please contact Susan Olson, Director of Career Services, at firstname.lastname@example.org) It must be taken for two consecutive semesters, Fall and Spring, and carries three credits per semester. These are elective and do not apply toward Area IV requirements. Students are graded on a Credit/No Credit basis.
The student intern is expected to spend an average of 14 hours on site each week for two consecutive semesters, excluding most school breaks. Fourteen hours each week for twenty-six weeks over the course of the academic year, including prep time and travel time greater than 15 minutes each way, plus the 1.5 hour weekly practicum, amounts to a required 400 hours. The intern is expected to work under the guidance of a qualified supervisor who has undergone training at Yale Divinity School or has extensive mentoring experience (see below). Specific responsibilities are set out in a Learning Agreement developed by the intern and the supervisor prior to the internship. Internships should be designed to teach students to reflect critically on the meaning and practice of ministry as well as the practical aspects of ministry, and therefore they include mandatory weekly one-hour meetings of student and supervisor/mentor.
To complement their field learning, interns also participate in a peer-reflection Practicum taught by a practitioner at the Divinity School. Practicum meets once each week for one and one-half hours.
A prerequisite for the Part-Time Ministry Internship is REL 3990 Negotiating Boundaries in Ministerial Relationships, a sixteen-hour workshop generally offered three times each year. It is also a degree requirement for the Master of Divinity. Enrollment is part of the student’s semester course registration.
Supervisor Qualifications and Requirements
Committed and effective supervision is crucial to the success of supervised ministry. In order to maintain the integrity of the program, supervisors are expected to have certain qualifications and meet specified requirements, including:
- A minimum of three years of experience in a professional position that qualifies them to supervise students;
- At least one year in their current position;
- The ability to provide a structure that is challenging and educational, as well as the time to observe the intern’s practice of ministry and provide concrete feedback on it;
- Meeting weekly with the student for supervision and theological reflection;
- Being present and able to work with an intern through the academic year (from September through April);
- Training in the skills of supervision;
- Participation in supervisor orientation sessions. Times and dates for these sessions are announced each summer.
Financial Considerations: YDS offers financial aid to its part-time interns in the form of a grant credited to the Bursar Account. Sites no longer contribute directly to that aid but might be contacted by the Office of Development to make a contribution to the school. The Office of Supervised Ministries does, however, encourage sites to reimburse students directly for transportation expenses.
Reporting: Four reports are submitted to the Office of Supervised Ministries throughout the year. One Observation Report is due each semester giving feedback about skills the intern is developing. In addition, reports are due at mid-year and year-end. These are co-written by intern and supervisor.
Intern committee: We encourage all sites to assign an individual or create a committee of lay people, staff members, and/or clients to provide additional feedback and support to the intern. Suggestions for creating an effective support committee can be found on the OSM website.
Site Application: The application for hosting a YDS intern is available on the OSM website. The application includes two Agreements: the Supervisor’s Agreement and a Hold Harmless Agreement. These Agreements must be signed and mailed or faxed with the application to the OSM office by March 1. Information from site applications will be posted on the OSM website for students to explore.
Student Application: The student’s application for a supervised ministry site is also available on the OSM website. It is also due on March 1. It includes a two-page resume. The Office of Career Services provides excellent tools to assist with resume preparation.
Placement Process: During March and April, interns can select from a rich bank of possibilities those sites where they will then request interviews. Options for the part-time internship include churches of all sizes, schools (K-12), colleges and universities, non-profits and clinical settings. Typically, there are more sites that request interns than there are students who are seeking placements. Sites interview students and offer a placement, much as they might conduct a job interview. Further details about this process can be found in the Guide to the Placement Process.
Students are encouraged to explore websites, visit sites, and talk to past interns, supervisors, denominational contacts, and others to learn more about various sites. Sites should feel free to talk to students about internships or encourage them to interview. However, please do not finalize any agreements about an internship without contacting the Office of Supervised Ministries.
At any time, feel free to contact or refer others to the Office of Supervised Ministries. Please don’t hesitate to contact us by phone or e-mail.