Union Theological Seminary Academics


Placement Process

The placement process includes:

    • searching for a site
    • interviews
    • internship site selection
    • confirmation of the field site
    • IFE approval granted for the field site
    • contract executed and delivered to IFE Office

The Senior Director of Integrative and Field-Based Education is responsible for the placement of all students who are enrolled in the Master of Divinity degree program. After you have been interviewed and accepted by a Site Supervisor, you will need to get approval from the Senior Director before you can move forward with the contract phase.

Each academic year, the Office of IFE provides a list of available field sites for the upcoming academic year on Union’s website in the Field Site Database.

Based on their vocational goals, needs, and interests, students begin the placement process by considering and contacting available field sites from the list provided. If the field sites offered by the Office of IFE do not meet the vocational interests of a particular student, the student is advised that the lists are updated periodically, and thus she/he may need to refer to the lists later, or begin pursuing an unlisted placement that is vocationally suited to the student’s particular interest (See Pursuing Field Placements, not supplied by the Office of IFE).

Field Placement Day

To facilitate the search for an internship site and to assist students who have not yet found a site, in February of the spring semester, the Office of Integrative and Field-Based Education coordinates a Field Placement Day on the Seminary’s campus. The Placement Day is coordinated by the Office as a convenient way to bring together prospective field site supervisors and students for on-campus interviews in a neutral setting. This event allows the opportunity to interview with several prospects on the same day.

Interviews at the Field Site

Prospective field site supervisors have the option of coming to the campus to conduct interviews or of negotiating interviews at their field site. The on-site interview is negotiated between the prospective supervisor and the student intern. The advantage to having an interview at the field site is that the student will have an opportunity to view the facility, gain a sense of the travel requirements, and other information that may not be gained during the on-campus interview. Sometimes it is necessary for the student to interview several times at the site, because the hiring process at the field site requires the participation of a committee; thus students and supervisors are urged to arrange committee meetings with enough time to negotiate the placement before the due date of the learning agreement.

Choosing a Field Placement

Students select field sites through conversations, interviews, and research. Students are reminded that field placements are “real” jobs, where they will have “real” responsibilities. Students are compensated for their time and expertise, and therefore, must provide a current resumé, dress appropriately, and be punctual. Students should also be made aware that, as in any other interviewing and selection process, they may encounter some competition, as many students vie for “choice” sites and supervisors vie for “ideal” students. It is usually necessary to interview with several different sites before an intern is accepted by a site. Do not forget that even after a site and a student agree to work together, the student must get approval from their Teaching Fellow before they can move forward to the contract process.

Pursuing Field Placements, Not Supplied by the Office of IFE

Permission must be granted to students pursuing field placements that are not provided by the Office of IFE. If permission is granted, the student must adhere to the following guidelines:

    • Make contact with a potential field site Director/Supervisor to inquire about the feasibility of the internship.
    • Submit a name, telephone number, email address, and address of prospective site/supervisor to the Senior Director of Integrative and Field-Based Education in order that official contact can be made, to assess the site’s ability to meet the academic and professional standards of the IFE Program.
    • Have the site supervisor submit an Application to Request a Student Intern.

Confirming the Field Placement

Confirming the field placement is a process of negotiation and agreement between students and their selected sites. Students are expected to be proactive in obtaining placements; the Office of IFE only facilitates the process.

Students are encouraged to complete arrangements for their field placements as early as possible. The process begins in October and can be over as soon as a student is chosen by a Site & Supervisor, and the internship is approved by the Office of IFE. Regardless of when students finalize their internship arrangements, it is expected that all students will be matched with sites by April 1, and that all Field Placement Contract and Learning Agreements be turned into the office by April 1. Students will not be able to register for FE 103 during pre-registration without a contract.

For the placement process to be complete the Contract Agreement form requires:

    • meet with the prospective supervisor on-site to discuss the specifics of the internship and to agree on learning goals
    • signatures from both the supervisor and intern
    • return a signed hard copy to the Office of Integrative and Field-Based Education

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