As one of several experiential education opportunities, the Department of Political Science’s Internship Program provides undergraduate and graduate students with academic credit for related work experience. An internship allows students to use the tools and concepts developed in a classroom in practical settings, reflect on the practical and academic lessons learned at their internship site, and experience the diverse careers political science majors pursue after graduation.
A few examples of where political science students have interned before include the following:
The White House
The U.S. Congress
The State Department
The U.S. Conference of Mayors
The Massachusetts State House
The City of Boston
The City of Newton
Executive Office of Health and Human Services for Commonwealth of Massachusetts
Office of Budget Management, City of Boston
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Massachusetts Bay
Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD)
International Institute for Justice and Development
Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women
Office of Budget Management, City of Boston
Students who undertake a political science internship for credit will be able to:
- Describe the culture and expectations of the workplace in which they are placed, and demonstrate their ability to meet workplace conventions.
- Apply academic coursework in political science to specific workplace tasks, describe how academic coursework can be used to better perform the tasks of their internship, and describe how day-to-day work in the field reinforces or contradicts what they have learned in the classroom.
- Develop learning goals for themselves for the semester, and relate them to both their broader educational goals and to the kinds of tasks they will be expected to perform.
Applying for an Internship
Students seeking to receive credit for an internship must secure a position related to political science, public policy, public administration or law. It is the responsibility of each student to find and arrange their own internship position, but the internship coordinator is available to help with general advice on the search and application process.
Students looking for a position may find interesting opportunities at the following sites:
In addition to this database, students can find advice on other search resources, building an effective resume and portfolio, and making the most of internship experiences here:
Internships for academic credit must meet the following criteria:
- The internship site must be related to political science, public policy, or public administration. Students must receive pre-approval of the internship position from the department’s internship program coordinator no later than one week before the beginning of the semester in which the student intends to receive credit.
- Students must be able to complete the minimum number of hours at the internship site. Undergraduate students are required to work 225 hoursduring the semester (15 hours/week over a 15-week semester). Graduate students are required to work 300 hours during the semester (20 hours/week over a 15-week semester).
Registering for the Internship & Receiving Credit
Once students have secured an internship, the process for applying for credit begins. Students seeking credit for their internship must complete the following steps:
- Students must fill out a student internship application form, which is available here. This form should be submitted to the internship program coordinator, Colin Brown, via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or in person (905 Renaissance Park). A sample syllabus from a recent semester can be found here.
- Undergraduate students will work closely with the internship program coordinator throughout the semester.
- Graduate students will work with the internship program coordinator to find a faculty advisor with whom they will work with throughout the semester. Typically, this is a full-time member of the department who has expertise related to the area of the internship activity. It is the student’s responsibility to approach this faculty member and request his/her supervision of the internship.
Over the course of the semester, students will
- Attend at least two meetings—one near the beginning and one near the end of the semester—that will be organized by the internship program coordinator. These meetings may occur in person or via conference call.
- Keep a journal according to the guidelines as given by the internship program coordinator.
- Write a political science or policy research paper (~15 pages for undergraduates, ~25 pages for graduates) on any topic of interest that is directly related to the internship position.
Near the end of the semester, the internship coordinator or faculty advisor will contact the workplace supervisor to request a written appraisal of the student’s performance. Students must receive a satisfactory evaluation to receive credit.
For more information about our internship program, please contact the department’s internship program coordinator, Prof. Colin Brown, at email@example.com or 617.373.8192.