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.
To this end, all UGA students must meet the Experiential Learning Requirement (ELR). SPIA students meet ELR in one of several ways:
- participation in a SPIA or other UGA-approved study abroad programs
- doing an internship with an academic component
- taking a service-learning course
- taking a research-intensive course
- taking one from a few select SPIA courses with applied components
In SPIA, INTL 4622R “GLOBIS Human Rights Lab” is a research-intensive course and courses with applied components include INTL 4415 and 4425R which are courses associated with the Security Leadership Program and POLS 4645E “Applied Civic Engagement.” The SPIA Survey Research Center also offers POLS 5140 “Survey Research Internship” and POLS 5141 “Research in Public Opinion”.
Beginning in spring 2021, select pre-approved non-credit programs will also meet the requirement for SPIA students. A list of those experiences can be found here: Approved Non-Credit Activities for SPIA
The options below offer students information on how one may add an academic component to an applied experience and insight on special internship experiences offered by SPIA: The Emerging Leaders and Experiential Learning Internship Programs. Additional options include information on SPIA’s study away programs and several need-based study abroad scholarships offered by the school.
The Office of Student Affairs 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 email@example.com.
Emerging Leaders Program
Interested in making a difference in the lives of citizens within organizations at the local, state or federal level? There is no more impactful and satisfying career path than that of a public affairs leader. The University of Georgia and its partners in the local, state and federal government seek the next class of paid Emerging Leaders Interns who will spend 8 to 11 weeks interning in local, state or federal government offices, in the nonprofit sector, and in public-facing operations of private businesses during the academic or summer term. This is an incredible opportunity to gain experience in the areas of public policy, public services, public/private partnerships, public safety, and public well-being.
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 Adam Paige (firstname.lastname@example.org) at the UGA School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA) or contact Adam at 706-542-4114 for more information. 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 government and nonprofit agencies. The sponsors will make the final selection, and the intern experience will begin in either the academic or summer term. All internships are paid. Awardees will also complete a project or activity related to their internship that is shared with the UGA and SPIA community.
SPIA Experiential Learning Internship Program
The Experiential Learning Internship Program provides paid internship opportunities for undergraduate students in Georgia and Washington, D.C. on a competitive basis. Students spend 8 to 11 weeks interning in government agencies or non-governmental organizations (NGO) in Georgia or Washington, D.C. or work locally to identify issues that impact the non-profit sector and governmental sectors all while preparing for career opportunities in the public sector.
Experiences across both the international affairs and political science majors are available across broad categories of organizations. Sponsoring agencies represent fields within international affairs of human rights, terrorism, defense and security policy, policy analysis, democracy promotion, and countering extremism. With political science, intern experiences include legislative, government relations and lobbying, campaigns and political parties, policy research and analysis, city and county government, state government, Federal government, political communications, and non-profits.
Eligible students must be current undergraduates with a major in political science and/or international affairs as evidenced by a record of course-taking in SPIA courses; demonstrate an interest in careers in public affairs, public policy, and government; and obtain a recommendation of support from a SPIA faculty member. Awardees will also complete a project or activity related to their internship that is shared with the UGA and SPIA community. SPIA has funding available to support approximately 20 students in public affairs and government internships over the spring and summer: 10 in Georgia and 10 in Washington, D.C. Up to five awards may go to participants of UGA’s Washington Semester Program in the fall term. These awards may not be used for the spring term of the Washington Semester Program.
SPIA internships during academic year 2020-21 will generally take the form of remote internships due to the Covid-19 pandemic, thereby limiting costs to students for participating in the internship. In fulfilling the internship, the intern agrees to incur any and all costs associated with fulfilling the internship, including but not limited to travel, lodging, meals and expenses.
Students are to be paid $10/hour up to $4,000 depending on the length of their internship. Select internships in public affairs, politics, government, non-profits, or with a focus in areas related to political science or international affairs are eligible. SPIA has secured placements with a variety of organizations. The process is competitive and selected finalists will be presented to agency partners who will make the final decisions on placement.
The application for consideration consists of completion of the online application form, the candidate’s resume, the candidate’s statement of purpose describing their interest in public sector careers, and identification of a faculty member who will complete a recommendation form for the candidate. The Office of Student Affairs will distribute the recommendation form to the faculty member.
For more information, contact Adam Paige via email email@example.com, or phone at 706-542-2924.
INTERNSHIPS & ACADEMIC CREDIT
ADDING AN ACADEMIC COMPONENT TO AN INTERNSHIP
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 the Memorandum of Understanding signed by the Dean (signed forms are available from Mr. Joe Davis (firstname.lastname@example.org) & only signed forms should be presented to sponsoring agencies).
- Register for the approved internship-related course(s)
Please forward required documents and any questions about adding a credit component to Mr. Joe Davis at email@example.com.
COURSE OFFERINGS & ELIGIBILITY
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:
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) in order to be eligible for full-time credit (12 hours). 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. Part-time internships may qualify if they are at least 10 hours per week for the specified number of weeks: 10+ hours per week may take 4 credit hours from a graded course, 20+ hours may take 8 from a combination of graded or pass/fail courses.
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 required. 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:
The School of Public and International Affairs believes international education is vital to the educational mission of SPIA and encourages students to pursue foreign study. SPIA offers a variety of programs led by our faculty to destinations around the world. More information on SPIA-led programs through GLOBIS, UGA at Oxford, other departments, and about SPIA’s need-based study abroad scholarships may be found at the study abroad pages of this website.
Beyond the excellent SPIA-led programs, students may work with the Office of Global Engagement to participate in programs offered across campus and through UGA partners to find the right program for their interests.
Participation in UGA approved study abroad is one way students can meet SPIA’s Experiential Learning Requirement.
UGA CAREER CENTER
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.