The Department of Political Science offers credit for internships that are “political” in nature and that advance the goals of the Department and University. An internship is different from “employment”: while many, if not most, students have “jobs” today, an internship must be related to political science, broadly defined, and advance one’s political science career goals. An internship can be with a paid employer, community service, campaign, law company, interest group, volunteer work, and/or anything broadly related to politics.
All students who are in good standing with the University and Department are eligible for an internship.
Students must first secure a faculty member sponsor for an internship. A faculty member sponsor can be any member of the faculty who is tenured, tenure-track, or currently employed as a professor/instructor in the Department (this includes, of course, the Head of the Department as well as the Internship Program Coordinator). The faculty sponsor will be the instructor of record for the internship and will give the final grade for the course.
It must be emphasized that no faculty member is required to sponsor/do an internship. Internships, therefore, are in many cases on a “first come, first serve” basis, based upon Department and faculty willingness and resources. Potential interns are therefore encouraged to think ahead and plan appropriately. An internship with a faculty sponsor is in many ways similar to an independent study course, and requires time and effort from both the student and faculty sponsor.
Students interested in an internship must provide a letter from their program sponsor stating the specific character of the internship (i.e., its “political” nature) and the number of hours that will be required to satisfy it. At the end of the internship, the program sponsor must supply a letter stating how well the intern performed their duties. This will be very important in helping the faculty sponsor give the final grade for the course. Faculty sponsors may require from an intern additional works, such as a daily journal, essay, book summaries, and the like—this is determined with the faculty sponsor in consultation and agreement with the student intern.
In general, an internship is like a regular course, or an independent study course, to be determined with the faculty sponsor. Internships can be taken at the 300/400 level. A three credit internship, therefore, will generally require the same amount of total hours (i.e., in class, homework, and assignments) as a normal three credit course. Internships of 6 hours or more will be decided appropriately. Of course, some internships (i.e., campaign work) may be exceedingly compressed, requiring interns to do massive amounts of work in a few weeks, and then little before and/or after. This will be determined and agreed to by the faculty sponsor and program sponsor.
The role of the Internship Program Coordinator is to overview and/or sponsor such internships, with the Head of the Department and other members of the faculty (given their willingness, resources, and ability to do so). The faculty sponsor, however, is the instructor of record (if this person is not the Coordinator or Head of the Department). It should be emphasized, however, that once a student has received a faculty and program sponsor, they will work with that faculty member and sponsor for the duration of the internship. The Internship Program Coordinator and Head of the Department, unless they are the sponsors themselves, will simply serve as administrative oversight.