Internships provide invaluable experience for SPIA undergraduates.
Students interested in adding an academic component to an internship are required to secure an offer and arrange for a faculty sponsor. Keep in mind that most internships will not be suitable for academic credit, particularly those undertaken for just a few weeks during the summer semester. Pursuing an academic component to an internship opportunity adds a significant amount of intellectual effort to the work associated with the actual internship. Please note that SPIA does not allow graded credit for the internship itself, but for the additional academic component required by the faculty.
Professors will serve as sponsors only when convinced that a student has both the necessary preparation and ability to complete a successful research project during the internship. As part of that preparation, a student must have had at least one of the specified pre-requisite courses (found below under course offerings). Faculty members are under no obligation to offer internship credit to any student and will never do so retroactively.
After securing an offer, students must visit the advising office to obtain an Internship Request Form. After the advisor conducts a pre-requisite check, the student obtains the signature of an appropriate faculty member in either the Department of Political Science or Department of International Affairs who will act as supervisor. The signed Internship Request Form is returned to the advising office. As part of the enrollment process, students also are required to secure a letter of agreement from the agency or organization that will sponsor the internship. This letter should also be returned to the advising office. Permission to register for academic credit is granted only after this process is complete. When the process is complete, the student my register for the appropriate courses on OASIS.
The course offerings for an academic component for internships permit students to enroll for 4 to 12 credit hours in four different areas:
- Internship performance: One four-hour course graded an “S/U” for job performance. This requires formal feedback from the agency or organization that is sponsoring the internship. This course must be taken with one or both of the internship courses and applies to the program of study as a general elective.
- Internship research paper: One four-hour course graded A-F for an original empirical research paper. Internship analytical essays: One four-hour course graded A-F for 15 analytical essays in which students draw upon their upper division course work and “analyze” observations & ideas from their internship experience.
NOTE: Students are not allowed to enroll only in the S/U course. Students must take at least one, or both, of the other academic courses (research paper and/or analytical essays).
We expect that students will work “full time” for the agency or organization for at least twelve weeks over the course of a semester (9 weeks in the summer). The remainder of the semester should be used to focus on activities in support of the internship (including the completion of research for academic credit). Students and faculty supervisors will be in contact via e-mail on a regular basis. In addition, students are encouraged to return to campus to discuss academic requirements with the faculty supervisor for at least one meeting over the course of the semester.
Download the Internship Request Form [pdf]
Course offerings are designed to take into account the substantive content of both the internship and the previous academic work completed by that student. Pre-requisites are therefore tied to the substantive content of the internship. Pre-requisites are strictly enforced.
Legislative Internship (POLS 5100, 5101, 5102)
Internships related to state or national legislatures. Pre-requisite: one from POLS 4600 Legislative Process or POLS 4660 Southern Politics.
Lobbying Internship (POLS 5110, 5111, 5112)
Internships for lobbying organizations, including work for non-profits. Pre-requisite: one from POLS 4540 Interest Group Politics or POLS 4600 Legislative Process or POLS 4650 State Politics or POLS 4070 Theories of Political Choice or POLS 4520 Electoral Behavior.
Campaigns Internship (POLS 5120, 5121, 5122)
Internships for organizations involved in political campaigns. Pre-requisite: one from POLS 4530 American Political Parties or POLS 4615 Campaign Politics or POLS 4510 Public Opinion and Democracy or POLS 4520 Electoral Behavior or POLS 4550 Government and the Mass Media or POLS 4600 Legislative Process or POLS 4640 Southern Politics.
Federal, State, or Local Government Internship (POLS 5130, 5131, 5132)
Internships for governmental agencies at any level, including courts, prosecutors, and public defenders. Pre-requisite (directly related to agency work): one from PADP 4620 Public Administration and Democracy, PADP 4630 Government Budgeting and Finance, POLS 4640 Urban Politics, POLS 4640 State Politics, POLS 4730 Criminal Law, POLS 4720 Criminal Procedure, POLS 4740 Judicial Process and Behavior.
International Affairs Internship (INTL 4720, 4721, 4722)
Internships related to international affairs including government agencies, think-tanks, and non-governmental agencies. Pre-requisite: one from INTL 3200 Introduction to International Relations or INTL 3300 Introduction to Comparative Politics.
Internships in law firms are generally not eligible for use in the political science internship programs unless the firm is directly involved with government relations, public policy, and/or campaign law. Students are responsible for identifying organizations to sponsor internships and faculty who will serve as supervisors. Consistent with past policy, students are encouraged to contact those faculty members who were their instructors for a previous upper division course. Graduate students and other non-tenure track faculty, with the exception of Franklin Fellows, may not sponsor students.