Internships for Students

THE INTERNSHIP PROGRAM IN POLITICAL SCIENCE

The internship program is designed to provide opportunities for students to gain experience as well as practical knowledge about politics and public administration. On-the-job experience enables the student to discover perspectives that can seldom be effectively conveyed in academic courses.

Once a student has decided to do an internship, an appointment needs to be made with the Internship Coordinator. Intern assignments are made after consultations among the intern, the prospective employer, and the Intern Coordinator. It is primarily the job of the student to secure an internship, and the Internship Coordinator can be helpful in getting you started. Although the number and types of intern positions for a given term cannot be determined more than a brief time in advance of each term, some of the intern positions which have been available were with the following organizations:

Congressional Offices
Iowa State Patrol
Iowa General Assembly
Chambers of Commerce
County Attorney
Economic Development Agencies
Public Defender
Regional Councils of Government
City Government
United Way
Personnel Departments in the Public and Private Sector
Iowa Civil Liberties Union
Human Rights Commission
Attorney General, State of Iowa
League of Women Voters
Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation
Hospital administration
Airport Commissions
Mayor’s Office

Requirements

The internship can provide from four to eight semester hours of credit. To receive four hours of credit students must work a minimum of 160 hours; for eight hours, a minimum of 320 hours. This is an undergraduate program limited to political science, political communication, and public administration majors who must have:

1. Junior or senior standing.
2. Completed at least 15 hours of political science course work.
3. Achieved a grade-point average in political science course work of at least 2.50.
4. Secured departmental permission to participate.
5. Completed 940:010 Scope and Methods of Political Science.

Freshmen and sophomore political science majors who think they may be interested in seeking an internship will want to plan a year or more in advance so that they can be absent from campus, if necessary, for the eight to nine, or sixteen to eighteen-week period of the internship.

An application form is available by clicking here, or students may pick up application forms in the Departmental Office (CBB 5) or from the Intern Coordinator. It should be noted, the earlier the application, the more advantageous placement may be for the student. Any questions concerning these procedures may be raised with the Intern Coordinator, Christopher Larimer (CBB 5).

Interns' grades are based on evaluations made by the Intern Coordinator and the intern employer.

Internship Requirements

1. Experience Journal

The Experience Journal is designed to encourage you to reflect on the internship experience and integrate the internship with the political science classes you have had thus far in your academic experience. The journal is intended to reveal the type of things you are learning through your job experience. The entries must be faithfully maintained throughout the semester. Journal entries should be emailed or delivered to the Intern Coordinator each week.

The Experience Journal, like the other written materials submitted by you, is an instrument that will be useful in your evaluation. It will also be helpful in writing your major investigation, analysis or research project. The Experience Journal may contain such items as: brief summaries of meaningful events the intern has observed or in which you were a participant; reflections or observations about the administrative or political process: questions prompted by an experience or observation or by a comparison of your previous study with his/her field experience.

2. Major Investigation, Analysis, or Research Project

As a part of the internship, you are required to develop a research paper or research project. This project should overlap with your internship experience or develop out of the internship experience. It is normally developed through mutual discussion with your intern-employer and has value to him/her as well as educational value for you. As part of the paper or project, you should select at least two persons who are a part of the organization where you are working who will, in your judgment, provide useful information about your work setting. These interviews can be with any persons relevant to your assignment. The project must also be cleared with the Intern Coordinator EARLY in the internship. This report should be prepared in formal manuscript style with full citation to persons interviews and all other sources of information employed.

3. Oral Reports and Discussion Sessions with the Intern Coordinator

The Intern Coordinator expects to meet with you occasionally during the period of your assignment, will contact your place of employment when possible, and will have a “debriefing” meeting at the end of your internship. During these meetings, you should be prepared to respond to questions about everything you have written, as well as general questions pertaining to your assignment and what you have learned previously in political science during your earlier studies in our Department.

4. Letter from Employer

You must have your supervisor write a brief letter to the Internship Coordinator describing what you did, and how well the internship went. Since this letter will be a factor in your grade for the internship, it should be sent to the Internship Coordinator by the last day of classes.
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