Finding an Internship

Today, the shape of ministry takes many forms and is located in surprising places.  Hence YDS takes a student-centered approach.  The student leads the process of exploration and selection of a site—whether from a list of actively engaged sites with whom prior students have interned before or finding a new site that better meets the student’s goals for learning.

STEP I: Gathering information - Fall semester

STEP II: Explore and visit - October to February

  • Research potential sites by talking with current students, visiting churches or other sites, meeting with Jenny or Alison, and exploring the site’s online presence.
  • Engage with potential sites & supervisors. Make contact, express interest, gain clarity on application process and site-specific timelines.
  • Attend information session (first week in February)

STEP III: Contact and Apply - March

  • By the end of March, students should have contacted all sites they are interested in interning with and arranged interview meetings. Be mindful of timing around Easter breaks. Clergy might be on vacation. 

STEP IV: Finalize - April

  • Once interviews have completed, you’ve decided on a site and supervisor, and have site confirmation, notify Program Directors Alison Cunningham for non-profit placements, Jenny Davis for parish/chaplaincy placements.
  • Submit a work plan on Internship Hub. Directors will review, and, if approved, will contact the site supervisor for confirmation.

Additional things to consider:

  • If you are in an ordination process, determine exactly what is required of you as well as whether your supervising committee/person has preferences. Do they require CPE, a site within the denomination, a parish with certain characteristics, etc.? Also ask about timing—do you need to have completed an internship in order to be considered for the next step in your ordination process? Past experience has shown that getting these expectations and preferences in writing (or email) can be important.
  • Consider your schedule - academic and extracurricular. Challenging classes, life events, fellowships, study abroad, ordination requirements require time that may impact internships.
  • Financial obligations may impact your internship decision. Do you need to work full-time in the summer in order to meet your commitments? Do you need to work many hours in the academic year? Internship requirements cannot be reduced, so think about what you can do to plan financially for reduced income. Some students do work AND do internships during the academic year. Whether or not you would be able to do this depends on your academic and time-management skills.
  • Considering the options offered by YDS, what appeals to you the LEAST? Why? Is this a growing edge? Stretching is good.
  • Think through your previous experiences. What have you already done? What would be new for you? What kinds of people are the most comfortable for you to interact with? Who would stretch you the most?
  • Think about the kinds of supervisors that you’ve had in the past. What works for you? What doesn’t? Is this a person you respect and really want to learn from?
For more information, contact:
Non-Profit, Justice Internships: Alison Cunningham, Director of Professional Formation
Ministerial Internships: Jenny Davis, Director of Supervised Ministries