Internships allow students to integrate concepts developed in classroom experiences and readings with their practice in public and private agencies and organizations. Participation in an internship will expose students to the qualifications and requirements of various public, non-profit, and private agencies and give them experience to meet those requirements.
See this article from The Economist magazine about the importance of internships.
Internships may be completed either for academic credit or without credit.
Internships for Academic Credit
Prerequisites to complete an internship for academic credit: Political Science major, junior or senior standing; 2.5 GPA in political science; 2.0 cumulative university GPA; and departmental approval.
In order to earn course credit for your internship, you must successfully complete the academic component related to your experience. This begins with finding a faculty member in the Department of Political Science who is willing to work with you on this project. You and your mentor will agree on an academic plan that will include all assignments necessary for you to earn academic credit. This step is analogous to the development of a syllabus for a more traditional course. Academic expectations increase in proportion to the number of credits you will be pursuing through your internship. Only when all assignments have been completed to the satisfaction of your mentor will you be awarded credit. (The outline for an academic plan is included in the Internship Manual.)
The major goals of the academic internship are for students to:
- Apply the theory and methods learned in their courses to agencies in which they are placed and make contributions to that agency or organization.
- Understand the communications, decision-making and problem-solving mechanisms used by agencies in providing services for their clients.
- Observe the styles used by staff members in interacting with clients and other staff members.
- Better understand the pressures facing those who 'practice' politics or public policy.
- Develop their critical thinking as well as oral and written communication skills.
If students choose to complete an internship for academic credit, they will complete paperwork with Dr. William Hrezo, Internship Coordinator for the Department. The application form is available in the Internship Manual.
Students will be signed up for: POSC 485 - Internships in Political Science and Public Administration. Credits: (3-15). They will pay Radford University tuition for the number of hours they plan to earn with the internship. Roughly, 110 hours of on-site work along with the completion of related academic assignments will put you in a position to earn three hours of academic credit.
Internships for academic credit may be either paid or unpaid.
Internships without Academic Credit
Students may find work experiences that can serve as internships, though these will have no affiliation with Radford University. Without academic credit, the experience will also not have the academic components of the experience: the reflection, journaling, etc.
Finding an Internship
At this time, we do not have the capacity to do specific internship placements. However, opportunities are diverse and numerous. Please see this spreadsheet for information on potential internship sites.
Students are responsible for making contact with potential internship hosts. Your Political Science Department advisor and the Career Center may serve as sources of guidance.
See this sample letter as a way to make contact with a potential internship host organization.