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.
Where do I find an internship?
Locating an internship is the responsibility of the student. For help with this, check the website of the College of the Liberal Arts Career Enrichment Network, which offers a database of known positions, including those in government, law, and public policy.
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. Click on the links below located in the Nittany Lion Careers widget to see available internships listed through the Career Enrichment Center
Where do students complete internships?
Students do internships at a variety of places such as: local, state, and national agencies; international agencies; law firms; lobbying organizations; candidates for local, state, and national office; public policy think tanks; and local, state, and national party organizations.
Examples of Past Internships
- Republican Party of Pennsylvania
- Institute for Public Policy and Economic Development
- Federal Aviation Administration
- US Congressman Frank Fitzpatrick
- Massachusetts State Police
- Borgen Project
- Montana State House of Representatives
- Suffolk County Legislature, NY-Jason Richberg
- US Department of State
- The Secure Community
- Echoes of History/Political Awareness
- Josh Shapiro for PA
Internships are not accepted for faculty research projects. You may, however, seek independent study credit if you work on such a project.
Undergraduate and graduate students, whether University personnel or otherwise, are not permitted to receive academic credit for any work, research, or activity in violation of federal law, including work associated with marijuana.
Employment page to the House of Representatives:https://www.house.gov/employment
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.
Internship Credit Application Process
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.
Students should also make sure to consider the cost of applying for academic credit. Please note that if you are registering for internship credit during the summer, you will be required to pay per credit, like you would for any other summer course. Penn State’s tuition rates vary by campus, program, student level, and residency. Penn State’s student tuition calculator is a helpful resource to determine your tuition rate for a particular semester.
Please email your completed application to Angela Hill 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.
What does the internship course entail?
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 CANVAS 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.