Attention all students contemplating Political Science internships:

Internships require significant advance planning. Students should remember the following requirements:

  • you must be at least Junior status
  • you must apply no later than the third week of the semester prior to the semester of the internship
  • pre-requisite courses are required
  • credit will not be granted for work already completed
  • credit will not be granted for continuing a job position already occupied
  • internships require work content specified by the department

Internship Program

Introduction

The Department of Political Science is pleased to offer SCSU students an internship experience. The Political Science Internship Program seeks to integrate liberal arts education into vocational training and lifework planning. Department faculty members have created an internship program that translates classroom theory into real-world practice.  Students who successfully complete an internship not only will achieve these goals, but will gain practice in the job search process and lay a foundation for future job placement.

An internship is not simply a job that a faculty member finds for a college student. It is an integral part of a studen'ts course of study. All Public Administration majors are required to complete a nine-credit internship as the capstone of the major. Political Science students may take a nine-credit internship but only six hours count toward the major requirements, while three count toward general university electives. International Relations majors may also serve a nine-credit internship, but only three may count toward degree requirements, while six may count toward general university electives. The Department will not grant credit for some experience or activity already completed, nor will it grant credit for something a student has already begun. An internship should provide students with a new, challenging experience.

Purpose and General Requirements

An internship must be based on a carefully thought out plan of study. The internship is a means for students to apply traditional coursework in a work setting. Admission to the internship program is based on permission. Generally, a student should have completed most of their required coursework. Minimally, a student should have completed 60 hours of the 120 required to complete the bachelor’s degree. Depending on the internship, certain pre-requisite courses or equivalents may be required before the internship is begun.

Students may serve an internship during any semester. Most students elect to serve their internships in the summer.  Generally, a student works 112 hours for 3 credits; 224 hours for 6 credits; and 336 hours for 9 credits. The work schedule itself is arranged between the student and the site supervisor and is approved by the internship director.

In terms of what interns do at an internship site, it depends on the needs of the site and the student’s learning requirements. Interns are not expected to be “gophers” nor are they expected to independently run an organization.  Assignments should be entry-level professional positions. The specific duties of the internship will be developed between the department internship director and the site supervisor. A written learning agreement between the student, internship director, and site supervisor is required and will specify the student’s work assignments. 

An ideal internship should include an orientation to the agency, institution, or office. Interns should be assigned activities that allow them to use and develop research, analytical, writing, and public speaking skills. These assignments should be valuable to internship site and not time and resource waste. Ideally, an intern should complete a variety of assignments with different levels of difficulty, so that the intern’s skills fully develop. Finally, interns should be able to attend public and staff meetings and other relevant out-of-office activities to learn first hand how decisions are made.

Supervision

The internship site supervisor is the intern’s work supervisor who, in addition to scheduling and monitoring work performance, also acts as a mentor. If possible, the department internship director will meet with all interns and their site supervisor at the beginning and end of the internship, and maintain regular contact during the semester. Interns should not hesitate to contact the director concerning any questions during the internship. The site supervisor will supply a detailed written or oral evaluation of the intern’s work performance at the end of the internship.

Evaluation and Credit

Interns take Political Science 444 for credit. A student generally may take 3 to 9 credits. Public Administration majors must take a nine-credit internship at a public or non-profit site. Grading is on a Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory basis only. The final grade will reflect the performance evaluation given by the site supervisor and by the internship director. All interns are required to compete two written assignments: an internship paper and an evaluation. The department internship director, in consultation with the student, will determine the focus and content of the paper. See Internship Paper Requirements for details. All interns will be asked to provide a course-type evaluation of the internship experience. 

Compensation

Students often receive compensation during their internships. However, it is not expected that interns will receive compensation. Since students do not normally receive compensation for academic courses, they should not expect to be paid while serving an internship. The learning experience and credits are the compensation. At the same time, if a work site is able to provide monetary compensation, interns may accept it. Because internships can be a more expensive path to academic credit at St. Cloud State University, the Department offers limited scholarships to assist students serving an internship.

Further Information

If you are interested in further information, please see your academic advisor or the Department’s Internship Director/Coordinator. 

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