Political Science majors learn much about politics in the classroom. However, learning in an applied, "real-world" setting is an important component of education as well. To that end, all majors are required to complete an off-campus internship in a business firm, nonprofit organization, or government agency. Students typically complete the internship in their junior or senior year and earn academic credit for doing so.
Benefits of the Political Science internship include:
● On-the-job exposure to a prospective professional career
● Resume-quality experience for further study and employment
● Networking opportunities
● The opportunity to make a meaningful contribution to a local, state, or national organization
Most students find the internship to be an extremely beneficial experience. Many consider it the highlight of the undergraduate career and a significant number are offered a paid position at the completion of their internship. Students are thus encouraged to take the internship very seriously and to position themselves to take advantage of any opportunities they may encounter.
It is the student’s responsibility to find an internship. There is no list of "approved" placements from which students must choose. The department occasionally receives requests for interns, and we notify our majors of these as we receive them. More commonly, students identify their own internship opportunities. Internship opportunities may be posted online by host organizations, or they may be proposed and created by mutual consent.
The internship does not have to be overtly "political." Students are encouraged to arrange an internship that is conducive to their academic interests and long-term career plans, in consultation with the Internship Coordinator.
Internships must be approved before students begin earning academic credit. To earn academic credit, each student must work a total of 120 hours, keep a detailed journal, and write a term paper related to the internship experience. There are no “class meetings” other than one-on-one meetings with the Internship Coordinator. With advance approval, internships may be undertaken during the summer or winter break.
Students who study abroad may waive the internship requirement. A student who studies abroad for four weeks or more may, if he or she wishes, take an additional 300-level Political Science elective in place of Political Science 305, Political Science Internship.
For more information, contact the Internship Coordinator, Professor Robert Darst.