A growing body of research demonstrates that experiential learning enhances student learning, success in the classroom, on-time graduation, and transition to the workforce. Many UGA students already engage in experiential learning, and ensuring that all students do so prior to graduation will take the world-class learning experience that UGA provides to an even higher level.

This page offers students information on internships previously completed by political science and international affairs majors, opportunities within organizations which have sought SPIA students in the past, links to internship resources via the UGA Career Center, and study abroad opportunities. It also provides information on how one may add an academic component to an applied experience and information on special experiential programs within the school: The Emerging Leaders Program, The Senator Isakson – SPIA Public Policy Fellowship, and SPIA’s several need-based study abroad scholarships.

The Undergraduate Office communicates information about internships and experiential learning opportunities which come to our attention through the Advising News & Updates listserv. Any UGA student can subscribe by e-mailing

2018 Emerging Leaders Program

Interested in making a difference in the lives of fellow Georgians? There is no more impactful and satisfying career path than that of a public affairs leader. The University of Georgia and its partners in local and state government seek the next class of paid Emerging Leaders Interns who will spend 8 to 11 weeks interning in local or state government offices or in the nonprofit sector in Georgia during the summer of 2019. This is an incredible opportunity to gain experience in the areas of public policy, public services, public safety, and public wellbeing in the State of Georgia.

The application process is simple. Submit your resume and a short statement (no longer than 1-page, single-spaced) about why the Emerging Leaders Internship is a good fit for your interests. Additionally, students must also satisfy at least two of the following conditions: (1) history of overcoming unique challenges; (2) first generation college student; (3) member of a low income family; (4) reside in a rural or inner-city location; (5) raised in a single parent household. Please address these conditions, as they apply to you, in your short statement.

Submit your application materials directly to Paul Welch ( at the UGA School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA) or contact Paul at 706-542-4114 for more information. Submissions are due by October 25, 2018.

Your application will be considered by a committee which will select prospective candidates for internships. SPIA and its UGA partners will facilitate contacts between candidate interns and candidate intern sponsors in local government and nonprofit agencies. The sponsors will make the final selection, and the intern experience will begin in May or June of 2019. All internships are paid.



Students who wish to add an academic component to an applied experience should:

  • Take at least one appropriate pre-requisite course from POLS, INTL, or PADP & have 60 credit hours
  • Speak with their advisor in SPIA about the appropriateness of the experience
  • Provide verification of the applied experience (sample confirmation letter)
  • Obtain the agreement of the sponsoring agency to SPIA’s Internship Memorandum of Understanding
  • Register for the approved internship-related course(s)
  • Attend the mandatory internship orientation meeting held each Reading Day


The course offerings for an academic component for internships permit students to enroll for 4 to 12 credit hours in a fall or spring term (4 to 8 hours in summer term) across four different areas:

  • 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 a series of six analytical essays in which students draw upon their upper division course work and “analyze” observations & ideas from their internship experience.
  • 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.

For more information on the expectations and content of SPIA internship courses, please review the current handbooks for interns:

Internship Manual Political Science 2018

We expect that students will work full time for the agency or organization for at least twelve weeks over the course of a semester (6 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 the faculty supervisor will be in contact on a regular basis.

These 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 and are strictly enforced. SPIA divides internship credit components into six different fields:

Legislative Internship (POLS 5100, 5101, 5102)
Internships related to state or national legislatures.

Lobbying Internship (POLS 5110, 5111, 5112)
Internships for lobbying organizations, including work for non-profits.

Campaigns Internship (POLS 5120, 5121, 5122)
Internships for organizations involved in political campaigns.

Federal, State, or Local Government Internship (POLS 5130, 5131, 5132)
Internships for governmental agencies at any level, including courts, prosecutors, and public defenders.

International Affairs Internship (INTL 4720, 4721, 4722)
Internships related to international affairs including government agencies, think-tanks, and non-governmental agencies.

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 generally responsible for identifying organizations to sponsor internships using the resources of the UGA Career Center. SPIA often shares information on internship opportunities via the SPIAdvis listserv as well.


SPIA partners with other entities to offer applied experiences for students in Athens, Atlanta, Washington, and beyond. Examples of such partnerships are:

SPIA – Senator Johnny Isakson Public Policy Fellowship

Georgia Legislative Internship Program

CITS Russell Security Leadership Program

Washington Semester Program



The Office of Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA) and the School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Georgia offer SPIA undergraduate students opportunities for applied and academic study in Washington, D.C. via the Public Policy Fellowship.

A Fellow is selected each fall and spring term to work for Senator Isakson’s Senior Policy Advisor and legislative staff in Washington, D.C. She or he is directly involved with a broad range of issues and activities in support of Senator Isakson’s responsibilities in the fields of finance, education, labor, veteran’s affairs, and ethics.

The Fellow’s tasks include the following:

  • Assist in the preparation of background papers for the Senator’s meetings and Congressional hearings.
  • Attend selected Congressional hearings and prepare a summary of relevant points.
  • Analyze the major state and national events that impact U.S. policy and provide commentary on their significance.
  • Participate in discussions and briefings on public policy issues at universities and think tanks.
  • Research public policy topics using the Library of Congress and other Senate resources.
  • Coordinate with the Executive Branch on a broad range of domestic policy issues.
  • Work with other Senators’ offices and with Senate committees and coordinate Senator Isakson’s endorsement of relevant bills, resolutions, and letters.
  • Meet with individuals, on behalf of Senator Isakson, to discuss their concerns and interests in domestic policy affairs.

In addition to a stipend of $1,500 per month ($6,000 total for the term), the Fellow pursues academic credit under the supervision of a SPIA faculty member. This academic component compliments and enhances the applied learning of the Fellowship.

In order to apply, students should be 21 years of age by the start of the Fellowship, complete the online application, and submit an application portfolio including:

  1. Fellowship Application (online application)
  2. A letter of application (see the Career Guide linked below for examples)
  3. A personal resume
  4. An official academic transcript (obtainable from the Office of the Registrar)
  5. A list of three references (at least two of which should be academic)

Applicant’s portfolios should be completed no later than October 5th for priority consideration to:

Office of the Dean
c/o SPIA Senatorial Public Policy Fellowship Selection Committee
School of Public and International Affairs
The University of Georgia
204 Candler Hall
Athens, GA 30602-1492

Finalists for the fellowship will be interviewed on campus in mid- to late-October, with final selections made shortly thereafter.

Additional information: All undergraduates 21 years of age are invited to apply. The Fellow must be an eligible student and enroll in academic credit associated with the experience. One may do this independently through one of SPIA’s academic departments or through UGA’s Washington Semester Program. (Application and acceptance to the Washington Semester Program is separate from application to the Fellowship.) Recent graduates are not eligible for the Fellowship.

The Career Guide published by The Career Center provides general information on writing letters of application and cover letters (pp. 32-33) and creating personal resumes (pp. 22-31). The Career Guide can be picked up at The Career Center in Clark Howell Hall or in the Candler Hall lobby and is available as a “pdf” download here.

Transcripts can be ordered at the Registrar’s Office via Athena. Your list of references will ideally come from faculty members, although one outside reference is acceptable. Simply provide the names and contact information for the references. Letters of recommendation are not required.

Any questions can be forwarded to Paul Welch by email at or phone at (706) 542-0096.


It’s never too early to begin your search! Familiarize yourself with the companies or organizations in your area of interest. Visit their website, attend information sessions and join professional organizations. There are so many ways that you can get a head start. Check the deadlines for internships. The UGA Career Center can help you with your internship search. Each major is assigned a Career Consultant who can help you sharpen search skills, resume, cover letter, and interviewing techniques. To set up an appointment with your Career Consultant, just call (706) 542-3375 or visit their website.