Political Science Internships
Do you wonder about what you'll be doing after graduation? Internships offer the opportunity to explore potential careers, network with professionals, build a stronger resume, and apply your coursework.
Our interns have earned credit while helping elect candidates to office, researching pressing policy problems for state and federal agencies, gaining first-hand knowledge of how nations work together, and aiding local, state, and national officeholders write laws and represent their constituencies.
This page provides answers to frequently asked questions about our internship programs. You will also find the application material necessary for applying for credit below.
Please contact Prof. Zach Baumann (email@example.com), the Department's Internship Coordinator, if you have further questions or would like additional information.
- Where do I find an internship?
- How do I earn credit for my internship?
- What is the application process for earning departmental credit?
- What does the internship course entail?
- Is financial support available for my internship?
- Earning credit for the Business and the Liberal Arts Minor
Locating an internship is the responsibility of the student. For help with this, check the website of the College of the Liberal Art's Career Enrichment Network .which offers a database of known positions, including those in government, law, and public policy
Register in the College's Network Simplicity at http://la.psu.edu/current-students/cen/about-network-symplicity to be able to browse these openings, upload and receive feedback on your resume and cover letter, and view upcoming professional development and career-related events.
We also recommend that you search for internships online and utilize those people around you to learn about potential openings in fields you want to explore.
What are some examples of internships for credit in political science?
Examples include internships in:
- local, state, and national agencies (for example, the U.S. Department of State, Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office, and district attorneys offices);
- international agencies (for example, the United Nations);
- law firms;
- state and federal lobbyists;
- candidates for local, state, and national office;
- public policy think tanks; and
- local, state, and national party organizations.
Internships are not accepted for faculty research projects. You may, however, seek independent study credit if you work on such a project.
Contact Prof. Baumann (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have questions about a specific position.
How do I earn credit for my internship?
You can earn Internship credit either from the Department of Political Science or the College of the Liberal Arts.
To earn Departmental credit you must meet the requirements outlined below and your position must relate to the field of political science. Up to three hours of internship credit earned in the Department’s program can count toward your major.
If you would like to pursue an internship outside the field, or do not meet the Department’s requirements, the College of the Liberal Arts also offers credit. Credit earned in the Liberal Arts internship program will not apply to your major, but will count toward your general graduation requirements.
The Department of Political Science’s Internship program is built around three goals:
- to develop an understanding of work-life at the internship and what a career in the field entails;
- to grow substantive knowledge about political science by linking internship experiences to classwork and critically evaluating these relationships; and
- to encourage students to think about life after college by networking with other professionals, understanding the qualifications necessary to be successful in the job market, and learning how to effectively convey skills.
Admission into the Department’s Internship program is by application only. This is an academic course and we want to ensure that students who enroll will be successful in achieving its objectives.
The first step in applying for internship credit through the Department of Political Science is to obtain an internship that will be relevant to your coursework.
Second, you must complete an application (see below for the form) that describes your internship, how you are qualified for the program, and how the work will advance your political science education. You will also be asked to choose if you’d like to earn 1 or 3 credit hours of LA 495. The requirements of the course are the same regardless of your choice; however, you are expected to work a minimum of 45 hours to earn 1 credit and 135 hours to earn 3 credits. Internship applications can be submitted until the mid-point of each semester, after which we cannot enroll students in the class.
Please email your completed application to Angela Hill (email@example.com) who will forward this to the Internship Coordinator for approval.
- Political Science Internship Application (please note this form works best using Microsoft Word)
Once a completed application has been received, the Internship Coordinator will examine the documents, considering the applicant’s previous academic work, capacity to be successful in the internship, and ability to gain knowledge from the experience. Specific requirements for admission include:
- Be an undergraduate at The Pennsylvania State University
- Demonstrate how the internship experience is relevant to your political science education
- Demonstrate strong academic work (minimum GPA of 2.75, but 3.0 preferred)
- Have completed coursework relevant to the internship
- Students must be 03 semester standing or higher
If accepted, your information will be forwarded to the College of the Liberal Arts for enrollment. The course will appear as “LA 495” on your transcript, but will be administered by the Department of Political Science and count toward the requirements for the major.
LA 495 is designed to help you get the most out of your internship experience. You will be asked to network with colleagues, reflect on work-life in this career, explore potential jobs, and consider how your experiences relate to political science. All coursework will be submitted using the ANGEL platform. More information can be found by examining the current syllabus:
In some cases financial support may be available to offset the costs associated with your internship. Enrichment funds are supported by alumni contributions and may be used to support a variety of academic activities. To apply for funding, complete the application available from the Career Enrichment Network http://la.psu.edu/current-students/cen/funding
The Department also offers internship credit to students enrolled in the Business and the Liberal Arts minor. The application process, standards for enrollment, and coursework are the same as above, but enrollees in the course can count these hours toward their minor requirements. To apply for this program, please email your completed application to Angela Hill (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The objectives of this program are to help you develop an understanding of what work-life in your internship and career field is likely to entail. Second, to grow your knowledge of the business field by linking these experiences back to your coursework and critically evaluating your internship in light of the relevant literatures. Finally, to encourage you to think about life after college by networking with other professionals, understanding the qualifications necessary to be successful in the job market, and learning how to effectively market your skills. More information about specific requirements of the course can be found in the course syllabus.
Enrichment funding is also available in some cases to offset the costs associated with your internship. These funds are supported by alumni contributions and may be used to support a variety of academic activities. To apply for funding, complete the application available from the Career Enrichment Network at http://www.la.psu.edu/current-students/cen/funding